So, you've decided to focus on your sleep. You eat dinner, get your pj's on, skip the extra tv episode and head to bed nice and early. And...there you are. Lying in bed. Not sleepy. Frustrated that you're trying to get more sleep, but you CAN'T. Ugh.
Our circadian rhythm is an internal clock that mirrors the 24-hour day & cycles between sleepiness/alertness. Depending on our lifestyles, we're either working WITH our circadian rhythm or against it. And when we work against it, we run WAY higher risks of…
- Metabolic syndrome
- Mood swings
- Decreased productivity (no duh)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Intestinal dysbiosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Neurodegenerative disease
- Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) = when normal, should see a 50% rise in cortisol up to 30 minutes after waking then drop.
- Dips in energy middle of the night and early afternoon.
- Darkness sends a signal to our hypothalamus that it's time to feel tired. Our brain then sends a signal to release melatonin.
- Our master clock (SCN) and peripheral clocks create our circadian rhythm and affect sleep/wake cycle, metabolism, and hormones.
- The only time your body actually repairs neurons & nerve cells is when sleeping especially during deep sleep.
You don't roll into the gym & start throwing heavy weight around. Similarly, it doesn't makes sense to expect to fall asleep the second you climb into bed with no prep.
FIX YO RHYTHM
- Create a relaxing, enjoyable 45-60min bedtime routine (check past blog post).
- Go to sleep and wake up at the SAME TIME every day - I know this can be tough but you gotta do it if your sleep sucks.
- NO SNOOZING - move right away & expose yourself to full spectrum light for extra help.
- Caffeine’s gotta go - transition to none after 12pm then only upon waking, then replace entirely.
- Schedule breathwork/meditation every day like it's a non-negotiable meeting.
These tactics will not fix your sleep overnight. You will need a few days to re-train your circadian rhythm, and it may not be fun. You might be tired. But dude you're already tired. These strategies WILL change that, so stay the course. You'll be glad you did.