Do you have trouble winding down at the end of the evening? Is the clock telling you it is your bedtime but you feel far from that, wide awake and ready to take on the day again instead of hitting the sack. If this is the case, you may need to reset your circadian rhythm.
Your circadian rhythm is the internal clock in your body that regulates your sleep/ wake cycle. This clock is constantly running in your body and switches between a zone of sleepiness and a zone of awakeness. When your circadian rhythm is not aligned it can cause sleeping issues, leading to you feeling wide awake at night and possibly very sleepy during the day.
Different things can affect our circadian rhythm and cause it to be misaligned. The amount of sunlight that you are exposed to during the day, the type of light we are exposed to at night, traveling to other time zones, or staying up a lot later than you’re used to are just a few examples of what can throw your internal clock off balance.
If you feel like you are struggling with your sleep cycle, here are three ways you can reset your internal clock for better sleep:
1. Avoid Screens Before Bed
Spending time scrolling through your phone or watching TV before bed can disrupt your internal clock. The blue light of just ten minutes of screen time can affect your sleep and make it harder for you to fall asleep and then get restful sleep throughout the night. The artificial light from cell phones, TVs, iPads, makes your brain think that it is still daylight and confuses it.
2. Create a Regular and Relaxing Bedtime Routine
A helpful way to reset your internal clock is to have a bedtime routine that you continue every night of the week, regardless of whether it is a weekday or weekend. Drastically switching your bedtime during the week and weekend can disrupt your internal clock and make it harder to fall asleep once you get back to your weeknight routine. It is also important to have a routine that you look forward to at night. Reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath are a few things you can add into your evening routine that will help keep you calm and look forward to a restful sleep.
3. Avoid Eating a Big Meal Too Close to Bedtime
When you eat a big meal only an hour or so before bed, it may be harder for you to fall asleep. You may feel some discomfort or heartburn in your stomach after a large meal once you lay down for bed and have trouble staying asleep even after you do fall asleep. Additionally, caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you up so be sure to avoid drinking anything with caffeine too close to your bedtime. You may want to try and eat dinner earlier and end your evening with a lighter snack before bedtime.