Help Adjust Your Circadian Clock with These Habits

Whether you're still struggling from the time change or you need some help adjusting your bed time and wake time, you may benefit from some advice concerning your circadian clock.

Daylight savings messes up sleep schedules. If you have kids, you know firsthand how a simple time change can wreak havoc on the entire family's schedule. Kids have a hard time adjusting because their bodies are following their circadian clocks. Young kids don't have a grasp on time of day, so when we arbitrarily change the time in one day, chaos can ensue. It takes some time and effort to adjust the circadian clock, but the good news is, it's possible. And just like kids, even adults need help with this.

Or maybe you've realized that you've gotten lazy about your sleep schedule and you need to do a better job at getting to bed earlier, so you can wake up earlier. Night owls know what we're talking about and, unfortunately, it's just not possible to stay up late and get the right amount of sleep if you have to wake up early. (Who misses those teenage years of sleeping in)?

A good rule of thumb when trying to reset your sleep and wake times is to work on a 15-minute increment. Need to wake up an hour earlier? Then you should go to bed an hour earlier. Sounds simple, but your body probably won't deal too well with such a dramatic change right away. Experts recommend moving your bedtime up 15 minutes first, then gradually keep moving it up as your body adjusts. If you have children, you may have tried this method on them during time changes. And since your circadian clock is largely set by exposure to light, body temperature, exercise, and food, the following tips from a Refinery29 article will help you while adjusting to those 15-minute-increment shifts.

  • Turn off your gadgets at least two hours before bed.
  • Cut out blue light.
  • Keep your curtains closed at night.
  • Soak up light in the a.m.
  • Take a bath before bed.
  • Keep your bed cold.
  • Wear socks to bed.
  • Warm up at wake-up time.
  • Exercise at the same time every day.
  • And, do it at least a few hours before bed.
  • Crank up the intensity (of exercise).
  • Chow down as soon as you wake up.
  • Eat at the same time every day.
  • Boycott big meals before bed.
  • Talk to your doc about melatonin.
  • Make your late-night snack carb-rich.

Practice these habits daily to keep your body in rhythm. For more details about each tip, read the full article.

Remember, getting a good, consistent night's sleep is so important - be sure to read this article we wrote about it a while back.

Happy snoozing!


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