Everyone has their own circadian rhythm, which is the body’s natural clock. This internal clock is your sleep and wake cycle, and it is a natural system that works by regulating your feelings of wakefulness and sleepiness over 24 hours. Your circadian rhythm is controlled by a part of your brain that responds to light. This is why people are more alert when the sun is out and feel sleepier when it becomes dark outside.
How your circadian rhythm works
Your body’s circadian rhythm cases your feeling of wakefulness to fall and rise throughout the day. Many people feel sleepy between 1 pm and 3 pm after they have eaten lunch. They will then feel the sleepiest between 2 am and 4 am. However, this varies from person to person. Some people tend to awaken early and feel alert while others feel more alert later in the evening. Your body’s internal clock can also change as you grow older. For example, teenagers tend to sleep for a longer number of hours because of their growth and hormone levels. They also tend to go to sleep and awaken later than older adults.
By following your body’s cues about when it is time to sleep and when to awaken, your circadian rhythm should remain balanced. However, if your schedule changes, it can be disrupted. For example, if you have to work late one day or decide to sleep in on a weekend morning, it can disrupt your internal clock. Here are three ways that you can keep your circadian rhythm functioning properly.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule
Going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning will help you to keep your internal clock functioning correctly. While you might be tempted to sleep in on weekends, it can throw your circadian rhythm off during your workweek. If you tend to lose track of time and stay up late sometimes, setting an alarm in the evening to alert you that it is time to get ready for bed can also help.
Take a morning walk
Going for a morning walk each morning can give you exposure to sunlight. This can give you a boost of energy and help you to start your day feeling alert. It can also help to boost your circadian rhythm. When you take a walk, your brain will be signaled by the sunlight that it is time to begin your day. If you do not have time to take a walk, turn on bright lights in your home or open your blinds.
Turn off the screens during the evening
The screens of televisions, tablets, cell phones, and laptops emit blue light. This light has been shown to interrupt your body’s ability to produce melatonin, which signals your body to begin preparing for sleep. If you watch television or use your electronic devices during the evening, it can interfere with your circadian rhythm. Your brain will interpret the bright light as if it is daylight. Try turning off your electronic devices and your television from two to three hours before you go to bed.
Get help from Accent Sleep Solutions
If you have chronic sleep problems such as having trouble falling or staying asleep, there might be an underlying condition causing your issues. Getting good sleep is vital for your health and wellbeing, and it is important to get help for sleep problems. Dr. Jeffrey M. Phillips with Accent Sleep Solutions in Gainesville, Florida can help to identify what is causing your sleep problems and treat the underlying condition. Contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling 352-271-5375.