Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle

Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle

  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;
  • Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you get sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating.
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Health

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Is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. 

Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. 

However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm

Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.
Be smart about what you eat and drink
  • Limit caffeine and nicotine.
  • Avoid big meals at night (within 2 hours of bed).
  • Avoid alcohol before bed.
  • Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening.
  • Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs.
Nighttime snacks help you sleep

If you need a bedtime snack, try:

  • Half of a turkey sandwich
  • A small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal
  • Milk or yogurt
  • A banana
Effects of exercising on sleep
  • People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. 
  • The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise improves sleep quality.
  • It can take several months of regular activity before you experience the full sleep-promoting effects. 
  • Try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before bedtime.
 Improve your sleep environment
  • Keep noise down. Earplugs may help.
  • Keep your room cool (around 65° F /18° C).
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable
  • Reserve your bed for sleeping and sex. No TV or working in bed - it will be easier to wind down when the brain associates the bedrom with just that. 
Relaxation techniques for better sleep
  • Deep breathing. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation. Starting with your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up to the top of your head.
  • Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Close your eyes and imagine a place that’s calming and peaceful. Concentrate on how relaxed this place makes you feel.
Ways to get back to sleep
  • Try not to stress over your inability to fall asleep again.
  • Make relaxation your goal, not sleep.
  • If you’ve been awake for more than 15 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet, non-stimulating activity.
  • Postpone worrying and brainstorming.

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A Restful Environment

Your bedroom should feel like a sleep oasis — stress and distraction-free.

  1. The ideal room is cool and dark. Between 60 and 67 degrees, and the darker the better.
  2. Peace and quiet make for bedroom bliss. 74% of Americans think that quiet is crucial for getting good sleep.
  3. Choose the bedding (and sleep position) that’s best for you. A comfortable mattress is essential for good sleep.
  4. Declutter your bedroom. A messy room could cause sleep disorders.
  5. Pick the perfect pillow. Look for ones that are hypoallergenic.

The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health

To really find out what your individual sleep needs are, do the following experiment for at least two weeks:

  • Pick the same bedtime every night.
  • Turn off your alarm.
  • Record the time you wake up.

You may sleep longer during the first few days, but over the course of a few weeks, a pattern will emerge of how much sleep your body needs each night.

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