Just like everybody knows the effects of a poor night’s sleep…
- Feeling drowsy and sluggish
- Decreased productivity
- Emotional instability, such as feeling grumpy or irritable
- Added stress to your health
- Added stress in the home with relationships
They’re not pretty… but the reality of the matter is… if you don’t get sufficient sleep some or all of these symptoms could be affecting you.
If you’re already sleeping soundly throughout the night…
But for those of us who have trouble sleeping… whether it’s just once in a while or every night… those night hours can seem like an eternity.
And there are all kinds of tricks people have come up to put themselves to sleep…
- Drinking warm milk (yuck!)
- Drinking wine
- Eating a turkey sandwich
- Counting sheep
But the truth of the matter is… one of the easiest ways to get the amount of rest you need is to pay attention to your rhythm… your Circadian Rhythm.
The circadian rhythm is basically your bodies internal clock and it controls all of your biological functions.
Your circadian rhythm tells you when to wake up, when to eat, when you feel the most energy, and when it’s time for you to go to bed.
Well… it actually doesn’t really tell you when to do these things… it actually “nudges” your hormones into action.
Most people think it’s their brain that regulates their metabolic rate, alertness, body temperature, etc… but they’re only partly right… because it’s actually your hormones that do all the work.
The circadian is equivalent to your hormone glands’ alarm clock…
And everybody’s rhythm is different…
For example… morning people.
You know those people that just seem to have an over-abundance of energy and pep in the morning…
The ones that are all smiles, don’t need coffee to get going, and annoy you to no end…
Don’t blame them…it’s their circadian rhythm who’s the culprit!
On the other side of the spectrum… you have the night owls.
These people stay up till the wee hours of the morning either on the internet, watching the boob tube, reading, or whatever…
They’ll sleep a few hours… get up and go to work… come home, take a nap, and do the whole thing over again.
It all depends on your own personal rhythm… but as a rule… here are a few tips from experts Dr. Brent Agin and Sharon Perkins, RN from their book Healthy Aging for Dummies
- Infants generally require about 14 to 16 hours a day
- Teenagers need about eight to nine hours on average
- For most adults, seven to nine hours a night appears to be the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as fiver hours or as many as ten hours of sleep each day
- Women in the first three months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than usual
Of course… there are a few things that can throw off this natural rhythm … and the aging process is one of the biggest factors.
Now there’s not much you can do about that… but when you throw in things like caffeine, alcohol, or too much napping… you can really throw your circadian out of whack.
And when this happens… one thing is for sure… you feel it!
But don’t worry!
You can bring it back… and here are a few things you can do in order to put your circadian back in line…
- Routine – meaning try to go bed and wake up at the same times every day. If you wake up at 7am Monday through Friday… it’s best to do the same thing on the weekends. (though sometimes it does feel good to sleep in!)
- Avoid caffeine – no… not in general… but just “say no” to caffeine for at least 6 hours before bedtime.
- Exercise – yes, daily exercise will help keep your rhythm steady… but try to avoid vigorous training a few hours before bed. Exercise releases endorphins ( just like sex!) and can keep your body up longer than your brain.
- Use the bed as a bed only – You’re bed is not a couch…nor is it a recliner… so don’t treat your bedroom like the family den. Don’t watch TV in bed or read because getting caught up in the late night shows or a good book can cause you to delay your natural sleep time.
- Eat early – you don’t want to go to bed on an empty stomach… but you don’t want to be stuffed either. Avoid eating heavy meals at least 3 hours before bed… and of course… steer clear from those sugary nighttime snacks that call to you from the kitchen. Sleeping well will feel a lot better than eating that piece of chocolate cake will in the morning!
But the most important thing you can do to keep your rhythm (and your health) on beat… is to pay attention to it.
Try keeping a Sleep Journal and log your days for a few weeks… note the times you wake up, feel energized, feel drowsy, and when you go to bed…
This will give you a better idea of your bodies natural rhythm.
And bring you that much closer to optimum health!
Best Life Herbals