There’s been a lot of research about people’s natural body clock – or circadian rhythm – coming to the fore lately. It seems that we all have an inbuilt biological schedule that means there’s a ‘right time’ for each of us to do certain things and keep healthy. This can make it tricky if your daily routine goes against your natural circadian rhythm. So, what can you do to make things a little easier?
Have a Bedtime, Even on Weekends
Most of us will have a time we try and get to sleep by during the week as part of our routine, but on the weekend we’ll often stay up later. It can be hard to get out of this habit as we all want to make the most of our free time but having a consistent bedtime every night is beneficial. For night owls it can help you feel better in the week and for early risers it will fit more naturally with your body clock.
However, you shouldn’t force yourself to get up early on the weekends as well as your body may still need to catch up on sleep. So, next time you have no major weekend plans try and get an early night but make the most of that lie-in.
To help set this bedtime make you bedroom a dedicated place of rest. Keep anything with a screen in your living room – more on why you should this in a bit – and set a comfortable temperature. It all adds up to consistent, good quality shut eye.
Get the Right Light
Light has an enormous effect on our ability to sleep well and feel rested, both the amount we get and the source of it make a difference.
When it comes to natural light, getting a good dose of morning sun will not only help you wake up but it will also help you fall asleep easier in the evening. Depending on the season you could leave your curtains open at night to wake up to the sun or open them first thing to get a quick dose. If you’re in a poorly lit residence light boxes for season affective disorder can also help – we stock several SAD lamps.
It’s also important to limit your exposure to artificial blue light produced by screens. This type of light will prevent the production of melatonin – the chemical that helps you sleep – preventing you from nodding off. Having a cut off time from technology as part of your bedtime routine can be essential to improving the quality of your sleep.
Eat Big Early and Small Late
Working with your body clock isn’t just about the sleeping habits you adopt, eating right is also a big part of keeping things working at their best. By having the right kind of meals at the right time it could help you stay at a healthier weight and regulate feelings of hunger.
Typically, most people eat a light breakfast – or skip it altogether – a moderate lunch and a big dinner. However, there is growing evidence to suggest eating more earlier in the day is better for our bodies natural metabolic clock. By having a bigger breakfast – or lunch if you’re pressed for time in the morning – it’s thought that the body will use more of the energy taken from that large meal than it would if eaten in the evening. Additionally, it could provide you with more energy later in the day during that mid-afternoon lull.
By making these adjustments as best you can to your daily routine you may just find that you feel more energised and in better health.