9 Simple Tips For Restoring Your Healthy Sleep Cycle
There’s more to healthy sleep than logging seven to eight hours of shut-eye every night. In fact, there are quite a few things you can to do help keep your circadian rhythm, the component of your body that’s responsible for balanced sleep and wake cycles, in sync. We spoke with Jennifer Cooper, the chief scientific officer for RestoreZ, a new natural sleep aid on the market, for the best advice on achieving a healthy circadian rhythm. Here are her nine simple tips on what to do, plus one major thing to avoid.
1. Allow for some wind-down time before bed.
Your body needs to prepare to rest approximately 60 minutes before sleep, so allow your mind and body the time to wind down at the end of the day. Don’t try to go full speed all day and then expect to find restorative sleep the moment your head hits the pillow.
2. Standardize your wake and sleep times.
The goal is to go to bed and wake up within an hour of the same time each day. A lack of consistency surprises your circadian rhythm and forces your body to skip important preparatory phases for waking and sleeping, resulting in insomnia at night and sleep hangovers in the morning. “Social jet lag,” which is experienced when you alter your schedule each weekend to stay up or sleep in later, is a major circadian rhythm disruptor as well.
3. Remember: Bedtime and screen time don’t mix.
The glow of the blue light from your digital devices is not a good bedmate. These light signals are wreaking havoc on your circadian rhythm and may create “technology jet lag.” Eliminate the use of electronic devices 60 minutes before bedtime and you’re bound to notice a significant difference in how you feel.
4. Control your caffeine intake.
The timing here is different for each person because it’s dependent on how your body specifically metabolizes caffeine. But, in general, it’s wise to cut off caffeine consumption in the late afternoon or, at the latest, by dinnertime.
5. Limit the times during which you eat and drink.
Right behind light stimulation, eating is the second biggest cue for your body to reset its circadian clock. Avoid eating with three to four hours of bedtime. And beyond this window, it’s ideal to limit both eating and drinking (with the exception of water) to 12 hours or less per day. This intermittent fasting setup allows your body to turn off its digestive machinery and cycle through the same rhythm of activity and rest that the remainder of your body needs.
6. Hydrate throughout the day.
Drink water steadily throughout the day and make hydration a priority. Making up for a lack of hydration throughout the day by drinking a lot of water right before bed can have you waking up to run to the bathroom multiple times throughout the night.
7. Try to get one to two hours of sunlight exposure every day.
We know this one can be tough when your work hours are demanding or it’s the season when daylight is cut short, but make it a priority. Indoor lighting is interpreted by your body differently than sunlight, which has a profound and stabilizing effect on your circadian rhythm.
8. Protect your healthy sleep environment.
Eliminate circadian-disrupting distractions in the bedroom. If you can’t keep it free of light, then wear a loose-fitting sleep mask when it comes time to snooze. If you can’t keep it quiet, then try background white noise or earplugs. Even flipping on the light if you get up to go to the bathroom will mess up your circadian timing, so consider investing in a dim nightlight.
9. Support your circadian rhythm with balanced nutrition.
The circadian rhythm is greatly affected by nutrition… or a lack thereof. Taking a multivitamin at dinner and utilizing nutritional supplements that feed your circadian rhythm what it needs can be highly effective in promoting better sleep.
And here’s one thing not to do: Rely on sleep aids.
Eight hours of unconsciousness is not the same thing as eight hours of quality sleep. Don’t rely on sleep aids that simply knock you out. Getting your circadian rhythm on track really is the only way to offer your body the truly restorative, REM-rich sleep that your body needs.
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