By Danielle Sainty
The circadian rhythm is our natural body clock. It tells our body when to sleep, wake up, rest, and it activates all the hormones and bodily functions that help make it all happen smoothly.
The modern lifestyle doesn’t always support optimum and natural sleep. We often override our body’s signals and cues with artificial light and unnatural environments, following our wristwatch rather than our stomachs, and waking with an alarm not with the sun.
This way of living has only been around for a very small part of our human history.
Here are some ways you can attune into your natural human rhythms for a better functioning body clock and a better night’s sleep.
Sunshine in the morning
Exposing yourself to bright lights in the morning helps you wake up and will aid in the production of sleep hormones at night.
Try sleeping with your blinds open so the rising sun will wake you up in the morning. Go outside and stretch lightly, have your morning meal outside in the sun. If this is not a possibility, turn on a bright daytime lamp when you wake up and prepare your day.
Dark lighting at night
Melatonin – the hormone necessary for sleep – starts being released around 9pm. If you are exposed to bright lights, your body won’t understand it is time for bed and hold off on the melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep and decrease the quality of sleep.
Try using orange glow nighttime lamps after dark or candles. It will help you relax and unwind more, aid melatonin production and be less stimulating.