We are all looking to live healthier, more energetic lives. One of the key ways to doing this is through being in sync with our body's circadian rhythm.
But what is a circadian rhythm?
According to the National Sleep Foundation "The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It's also known as your sleep/wake cycle" (1).
Your circadian rhythm was designed to follow the flow of sunlight, with your body having more energy throughout the day when the sun is up, and less energy at night when it starts to get dark.
Many people get knocked off of their natural circadian rhythm, this can be due to all sorts of factors such as shift-work, late nights where you can't sleep, sleeping in late, jet lag, etc...
Try these 3 tips to help get your circadian rhythm on track
1. Get Some Sunlight
When you wake up, within the first hour, get 10 minutes of sun exposure.
Doing this will help to get your body clock re-aligned with the natural environment around you.
Instead of groggily going through your morning routine, taking the time to get some sun exposure will tell your body that it is time to wake up.
Add early morning sunshine into your morning ritual by:
- taking a walk
- do stretches outside or near a window
- eating breakfast outside or near a window
- opening the sunroof of your car on the way into work
If you live in a cold climate, it can be tricky to get sunlight during the winter months. If this is the case, taking a Vitamin D supplement or a Multi-Vitamin is a good alternative option (although natural sunlight will always be superior).
Make getting some morning sunshine a priority this week. Do it and you'll watch your morning wakefulness and energy levels increase!
A melatonin supplement can also help your circadian rhythm, try Utzy's Micro Melatonin for a low dose option.
2. Reduce Blue Light Exposure
Blue light is used in phone screens, televisions, and laptops because it keeps you alert, which can interfere with your circadian rhythm if you are using these devices at night.
So lessen your exposure to these, especially after sundown. Your bedroom should ideally contain no electronics at all. You should stop all device usage at least 1 hour before your planned bedtime.
Also, if you deal with lights shining into your bedroom window, invest in blackout curtains.
A completely dark room makes for a much more restful night.
3. Take A Trip
If your circadian rhythm is seriously off, go camping.
We tend to follow the natural rise and fall of the sun while camping, and if you’ve ever been, you know that sleeping in doesn’t happen. And taking into account the long activity-filled days generally associated with camping, we usually go to sleep tired soon after sunset.
Several nights away from man-made light is like a hard reset for your circadian rhythm.
Light is the biggest factor for circadian rhythm.
Whether it’s too much light, or not enough light, it can affect your sleep/wake cycle.
Use this to your advantage and work with sun, not against it.
A balanced circadian rhythm is the key to a good night’s rest.