Falling back and keeping a sleep scheduleOctober, 2020
Daylight Savings Time in the fall is exciting for the provinces who follow it. More sleep? Yes please! However, changing our clocks and getting less light in the morning doesn’t always agree with our circadian rhythm, our body’s internal clock. When our circadian rhythm is off, our body’s systems can’t work optimally and can cause sleeping problems. Here are some tips to get your rhythm on track whether you’re setting your clock back or just need a new routine.
As adults it can be hard to set a bedtime, but if you want quality sleep, a consistent sleep schedule will stabilize your circadian rhythm. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (yes, on weekends too) will help you feel more alert during the day, as long as you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep. Yes, that means on weekends too. If you’re changing your sleep schedule, try to do it incrementally by shifting your bedtime or wake-up time by 15 minutes, then increase the time every few days.
Timing your light
Light can have a big impact on sleep quality. Exposing yourself to light in the morning lets your body know that it’s time to wake up and gets your energy and appetite going. Taking a morning walk, eating by a bright window or opening your blinds can help you feel more alert throughout your day. In the evening, you’ll want to dim any light to prepare your body for a good night’s sleep. Your screens emit light that disturbs your body’s natural clock, making it harder to fall asleep and feel rested. Put away your phone, laptop and tablet an hour before bed and try a relaxing activity instead.
Regular exercise can improve your sleep quality – and when you’re trying to get your circadian rhythm on track, the time that you work out matters. According to this study, exercising at 7am or between 1pm and 4pm is best for optimizing your body’s clock. Working out after 7pm can have you feeling restless – so try to use that “extra hour” to try a morning workout routine!
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