Are you tossing and turning most nights instead of sleeping like a baby? Today’s social environment isn’t making things any easier – with trying to adapt to today’s “new normal,” it’s no surprise that stress and anxiety from the day is preventing us from catching enough Zzz’s. If you’re yawning during the day with eyes wide open at night, your circadian rhythm could be off.
A good night’s rest is defined as 7+ hours of consecutive sleep. That means if you’re getting any less than that, you’re short-changing your body. CDC studies report that one third of adult Americans don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. (1) Aside from feeling sluggish and out of sorts, lack of sleep has real harmful effects on the body. Sleep deprivation affects your ability to focus and think clearly, while long-term sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of chronic conditions including obesity, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and mental distress.
What is a Circadian Rhythm and Why is Circadian Rhythm Important?
Ever notice how even if you don’t set an alarm clock you still wake up around the same time you would, had you set the alarm? That’s your circadian rhythm working! Circadian rhythms are internally driven cycles that rise and fall during the 24-hour day. They help you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning. They’re also cued by environmental factors including light or a regular alarm clock for instance.
When circadian rhythms are working well, you’ll find you get more restful sleep and feel more energized during wakeful times. When your circadian rhythm is thrown off, this can cause serious sleep problems and can have harmful effects on mental health, body weight, and other illnesses of the central nervous system and metabolic processes. The Sleep Foundation reports that studies show disruptions in circadian rhythm to have a potential contribution to obstructive sleep apnea. (2) How do you know if your circadian rhythm is thrown off? Mostly you’ll have insomnia or difficulty falling asleep at night, with excessive sleepiness during the day.
6 Tips to Improve Your Circadian Rhythm
Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule – Since the body functions best when consistent with routines and schedules, sleep and circadian rhythm is no exception. Aim to go to bed around the same time each night and wake up around the same time each day. This will help your body adjust and regulate your natural circadian rhythm.
Recharge in the Sun – If you’re feeling sluggish when you wake or throughout the day, seek out the sun. Exposure to natural light helps reinforce circadian cues and make you feel more wakeful.
Avoid Caffeine and Stimulants – Overconsumption of caffeine and stimulants, especially later in the day, can have an effect on wakefulness when it’s time to hit the hay. If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider limiting caffeine and other stimulants after noon.
Limit Light and Screens Before Bed – Since light cues wakefulness, dimming the lights in the evening and avoiding screens will prevent interference with your circadian rhythm.
Avoid Naps Too Late in the Day – Long and late naps are no good for getting to bed on time. If you’re going to nap, aim for 30 minutes in the early afternoon to keep your circadian rhythm on track.
Exercise Regularly – Exercise and circadian rhythm work hand-in-hand. They both have a positive effect on each other. Exercising during the day can help regulate the circadian clock keeping things running smoothly and efficiently.
Try a Natural Sleep Aid –
The most popular natural sleep aid is melatonin. Melatonin benefits include reducing the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increase the total amount of time asleep. Magnesium, L-theanine and passion flower are more natural ingredients to help with rest and relaxation. Check out PlantFusion’s Vegan Complete Sleep Support which features a blend of these ingredients to promote optimal sleep.
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Taking steps to manage your circadian rhythm is a great place to start if you’re experiencing insomnia and other sleep disturbances. A natural sleep aid that includes melatonin like PlantFusion’s Complete Sleep Support is an easy way to boost sleep health with little effort. The bottom line is high quality sleep is just as important for a healthy body as eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly. Work toward improving your sleep health and reap the benefits all around.
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1. 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep