Sleep is integral to keeping us healthy. Sacrificing sleep for work or pleasure over an extended period can alter our body’s natural rhythm.
We have a built in body clock known as our Circadian rhythm. It follows the light/darkness in our environment and controls almost every biological system in our body from our sleep-wake cycles, mood and performance patterns to our metabolic, immune and reproductive systems.
The basis of circadian science is that exposure to regular light-dark cycles provides the daily “time cues” our body needs to reset our circadian clock. This happens every single day and determines how well we sleep and the state of our cellular health.
Sleep issues have become a real concern. One in three of us experiences trouble sleeping and one in ten suffer from insomnia.
So why has getting a good night’s sleep become so challenging? The reason is that our tech-focused lives defy the basic essentials of circadian biology. There is a “disconnect” between natural solar time and our social/work activities, exposing us to false cues. In urban settings, light pollution fills our skies at night; and during the day many of us are trapped inside and deprived of natural sunlight.
Light is only one of several disruptors to a good night’s sleep. Learning how to shift our focus from stressful thoughts and emotions helps to relax our body and mind, allowing us to drift into a deep sleep.
Something on the way ~ Circadian lighting
This is a new concept that is being explored and will help to minimize the effect of electric light on our circadian rhythm. Expect to replace your light bulbs in the near future.
Quit your screens two hours before heading to bed. Try not to end your day with the news.
Scientists have already discovered that long-term exposure to certain wavelengths of blue light (computers, televisions) can have a negative impact on melatonin production.
Smart Phones keep us awake with their light, transmissions and pinging. Put your phone on airplane mode and only use your alarm function when sleeping. Remember to leave your phone charging in another room.
Fitness is another way to improve sleep quality and duration. It reduces stress and raises our body temperature. Later in the day when our internal thermostat drops to normal, it triggers feelings of drowsiness. Exercise is especially helpful when done outdoors and our body absorbs natural rays during daytime hours. Sneak out for a walk or run in the morning or at lunch.
Beauty Sleep is not a myth. Sleep affects the moisture levels in our skin and keeps us looking youthful with a natural glow.
Soothing music, deep breathing, massage and relaxation exercises are all beneficial for a good night’s sleep. They calm our nervous system and our mind.