Struggling to Sleep during the Rona? Reset Your Body's Rhythm
Updated: Dec 10, 2020
Do you feel like your body clock is out of whack since the "Rona," showed up? Resetting your circadian rhythm is super important for getting it back in line. Not familiar with your circadian rhythm? It lets your body know when it’s time to go to sleep and wake up. If your body’s circadian rhythm is out of sync because you are going to bed late and waking up late it can have a knock on effect on lots of aspects of your health and well being. Get your internal clock working better for you with these tips. What is your circadian rhythm?
Your circadian rhythm is a series of biological processes that affect sleep. According to research, there are particular proteins that are more abundant at night and decrease during the day. This is linked to the production of hormones such as melatonin (which help you to sleep) and cortisol (which are present in higher numbers when you first wake up). When your body clock is in sync, you’ll naturally go to sleep around the same time each night and wake up at a similar time every morning. If this isn’t happening for you now, it’s a sign that your circadian rhythm is out of whack and needs a helping hand to get back on track. Normally, our bodies are designed to go to sleep when it gets dark and wake up when it goes light.
Our biggest disruptor now is the "Rona." If you constantly getting news updates during the day with the endless CNN loop on your TV you are disrupting your circadian rhythm. You are pushing your body into the fight or flight mode unknowingly. When your body is in fight or flight mode your immunity gets lower and you body has to use all of it’s energy to decide what bills are going to get paid, how much toilet paper do you need, and what home school lesson are you going to do tomorrow. If you have been living in a state of fear for the past three weeks then you have to find a way to minimize your exposure to stress.
In order to lower your risk of getting the “Rona,” you have to work hard to reduce your fight or flight instinct. That may mean choosing to listen to the news updates once a day particularly in the morning when your cortisol is the highest so your body can process all of the information it is absorbing. It is also good to choose a credible source of news like the CDC website and your local government website for important updates. Try to limit social media exposure to twice a day and make sure you are diligently trying to infuse positive images and thoughts into your media experience.
It is best to stay away from these activities at night when you want to lower cortisol to prepare your body for sleep. Being exposed to blue light from phones, laptops, tablets, televisions and other devices confuses your body and fools it into thinking that it’s still daytime. More specifically, it affects production of melatonin, which is crucial for good sleep. The end result? Your body doesn’t go through the same motions of winding down and preparing for sleep. It also upsets the natural rhythms relating to sleep, appetite and temperature. This is one reason why sleep experts advise you to switch off electronics before bed. Turn off your phone at least an hour before bedtime, and don’t be tempted to use your tablet or watch television instead.
3 ways you can reset your Body
1. Prepare your body for bed A warm bath can help your body to prepare for bed. The rise and fall in your body temperature gets your body ready for sleep. As your temperature goes down after a bath, it lets your body clock know that it’s time to wind down for bed. 2. Use lighting to your advantage Expose yourself to as much natural light as you can during the day, especially in the mornings. According to a study published in the Photochemistry and Photobiology journal, exposing yourself to non-natural light in the evenings affects your ability to go to sleep. Dimming your lighting in the evenings helps your body to recognize that sleep should be on the horizon soon. When you go to bed, try to get your room as dark as possible. Blackout blinds can be super helpful if outdoor lighting shines into your room. And don’t forget that blue light from your devices also counts as non-natural light! Some people find that light therapy helps to reset their circadian rhythm. This involves exposing yourself to bright light first thing in the morning to get your body used to the idea of waking up naturally.
3. Choose a Bedtime If your bedtime is all over the place, you’ll definitely want to get into a regular routine. For many people, disrupted sleep cycle is down to either advanced sleep phase disorder or delayed sleep phase disorder. The former occurs when you go to bed fairly early but find yourself waking up in the early hours of the morning. With the latter, you’re more likely to go to bed later and wake up later too. Chances are, your nighttime routine is out of whack compared to your body’s natural body clock. This affects your sleep quality and over time, it can be really detrimental for your health and well being. Going to bed at the same time and waking up at a set time in the morning is super important for resetting your body’s circadian rhythm. Your body will gradually get into the habit of sleeping in line with this. Just don’t be tempted to switch up your routine on weekends. You might think that straying away from your normal routine won’t do much harm for a few days but that can be all it takes to undo your hard work.
We can all make the necessary changes to keep our sleep on track during this stressful time. The “Rona,” is here but it’s not going to be here forever. Save Yourself, Self Care is Everything!
Be well and fabulous,
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