Either way, it’s all about your circadian rhythm. Seven, eight, ten? When it comes to how many hours sleep each of us needs to feel rested, we’re all different. But did you know that it is as important to have a regular sleep routine as it is to get the hours at rest? This is due to your circadian rhythm.
What is circadian rhythm?
Your circadian rhythm is basically your 24-hour internal clock. It’s always running in the background of your brain, and cycles between periods of sleepiness and alertness. It’s also known as your sleep-wake cycle.
Circadian rhythm changes as we get older, which is why teenagers like to stay up late and an older person may do better with an earlier bedtime.
How circadian rhythm affects sleep
You may notice that you feel tired around the same time every day and are maybe full of beans at other times. This is due in part because your body clock takes its cues from light exposure.
During the day, light exposure causes the master clock to send signals that generate alertness and help keep us awake and active. As night falls, the master clock initiates the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, and continues to transmit signals through the night to help us stay asleep.
Working with circadian rhythm to improve sleep quality
Spending time outside in the bright light during the morning hours and then dimming lights in the hour or so before bed are good measures to take. This rhythm and routine are essential to respect if you want to function as well as you can.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will help you establish a sleep routine and make the hours that you do sleep more productive.
Keeping all electronic devices, including mobile phones, out of your bedroom is good sleep hygiene. The blue light that phones and tablets emit inhibit the sleep hormone melatonin, and this can cause insomnia.
Watch your caffeine intake. Stimulants like caffeine can keep you awake and throw off the natural balance between sleep and wakefulness. If you’re having trouble sleeping, avoid caffeine after noon.
Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium. This mighty mineral is important for heaps of reasons, including tiredness and fatigue, muscle cramps and sleep. Natural food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, spices, nuts, almonds especially, cereals, avocado, oily fish, dark chocolate and quinoa. A magnesium supplement can also help. One of our favourites is BetterYou Magnesium Oil Spray. You spray it directly onto the skin where it absorbs quickly and efficiently – you can literally feel it working. The slight tingle is from the high-speed absorption, which you notice more if you are magnesium deficient.
A natural sleep remedy can also help. A.Vogel Dormeasan® Sleep with fresh Valerian and Hops can help you get to sleep and also stay in the deeper stages of sleep for longer. Take 30 drops in a little water half an hour before bedtime.
For more information on products that help you sleep, click here.