How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm and Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Having trouble falling asleep? Or what about feeling tired when you wake up even if you went to sleep at a good hour? By resetting your circadian rhythm so your sleep schedule aligns with your internal body clock will be the best thing you can do to feel rejuvenated when you wake up and make the most of your time asleep.
What’s a circadian rhythm?
Your circadian rhythm is your body’s 24 hour internal clock which regulates the stages your body goes through such as when you fall asleep and wake up. It is controlled by a part of your brain called the hypothalamus – this responds to the light in the morning and informs your body to wake up. It does the same at night when it responds to the dark and tells your body to begin producing melatonin (the sleep chemical). This rhythm varies for each person and changes depending on age.
Circadian sleep disorder
According to the National Institute of Health, “circadian rhythm disorders are problems that occur when your sleep-wake cycle is not properly aligned with your environment and interferes with your daily activities.” There are numerous contributors to this disorder including; jet lag after travel, sleeping in or going out late, specific medications and even daylight saving time.
Can I reset my circadian rhythm?
There’s a very easy fix to resetting your circadian rhythm, or more accurately, discovering what your natural circadian rhythm actually is. The hard part is finding the time to do it:
- Start by getting up in the morning at a time that seems normal for you.
- Go to bed that night when you begin to feel tired.
- The next day, do not use an alarm, just sleep until you wake up naturally.
Repeat this process for several days, and soon enough you’ll develop a consistent sleep pattern and discover exactly when your body wants to be sleeping. At this point, your sleep schedule will now fall in line with your circadian rhythm.
Extra tips to fix your sleep schedule
- Go outside and get some sunlight in the morning as soon as you can after waking up
- Get regular or daily exercise
- Plan consistent times for your meals each day, a scheduled eating pattern reinforces your circadian rhythm
- Keep cool whilst sleeping – A cool bedroom temperature is between 60 and 67°F (15 to 19°C)
- Don’t eat close to bedtime (within a few hours), your body won’t sleep as well if it’s busy digesting food
- Stick to a regular pre-bed routine that lets your body know it’s time for sleep