When and how you wake up

As soon as you wake up, go outside and get sunlight onto your eyes. (Don't stare directly into the sun.)

Your retinas get more sensitive as the day goes on, and they are less sensitive in the morning. You need to spend about 2 - 10 minutes outside, depending on how bright it is. Getting some sunlight will set your internal clock properly.

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Health

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Every cell and organ in your body has a clock. If things are working right, they are in sync with your brain. But if things aren't in sync, your hormones are out of whack, causing problems with your energy levels, hunger, stress and overall health.

The most important factor to your circadian rhythm is light. We have complete control over the amount of light we're exposed to. This essentially makes us shift workers. If we want to fix this, we have to focus on what we do at night.

We don't sleep when we should

Many people live like shift workers to some degree. The majority of people either go to bed after midnight or wake up early without getting enough sleep.

Shift work is a probable carcinogen, according to the WHO. Moreover, there is a list of health problems associated with shift work. The reason is that shift work interferes with your circadian rhythm. Humans are diurnal - we are designed to be awake in the day and asleep at night. While we can be nocturnal, we weren't built for it long term.

  • Your brain will be most alert between 10 AM and 3 PM. That is when your best work or learning is done.
  • If you still don't feel awake, you may need even more early sunlight. You need at least 1 hour of daylight exposure outside to reduce sleepiness and stay happy and productive throughout the day.
  • If you still feel tired throughout the day, 150 minutes of moderate activity a week can affect how well you sleep and how energetic you feel the next day.

Light at night means less melatonin - which means poor sleep and a foggy brain the next day. Blue light sends a powerful signal to your brain that it is daytime, but it's not the only problem. All light is a problem. After dark, all light should be reduced, with as little light as possible after 8 PM.

While we probably won't sit around during the evening in the dark, we can reduce overhead lighting and reduce the blue light on your screens.

You need around seven hours of sleep a night. Children need more, and older folks less. Sleeping much more or notably less than seven hours is associated with a shorter lifespan.

Consistency is as important. You need a regular schedule for when you wake up, when you have your first and last meal, when you dim the lights and when you go to bed. If any of these factors shift by two hours over a week, it's an issue.

Eating signals to your body it's daytime.

People who eat in an 8 - 11 hour window and stop eating 3 hours before bed are healthier and are better able to pay attention the next day.

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

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health

The Science of Sleep: A Brief Guide on How to Sleep Better Every Night

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The internal clock

All individuals possess what is called 'an internal clock', which has as main purpose to schedule sleep and wakefulness within one entire day of 24 hours.

Now comes the difference in regards to how the 'clock' works for each person: there are people who wake up earlier and go to bed earlier as well - for them the cycle is shorter and there are also people who, on the other hand wake up later and go to sleep later. It all depends, in fact, on what is known as 'zeitgebers', which translates by external signals necessary in order to synchronize the 'clock'.

Is Your Sleep Out of Whack Now That You Are in Quarantine?

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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.

How to Sleep Better

helpguide.org

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