Trying to perfect your sleep cycle? You’ll need to get your circadian rhythm on side first.
The circadian rhythm? Yeah. It’s this 24-hour internal clock that runs in the background of your brain to control your points of sleepiness and awareness throughout the day. Feel sleepy after lunch? This isn’t because you’ve scoffed your Pret sarnie too fast. It’s actually your circadian rhythm at work.
Not everyone’s circadian rhythm is the same. It can change over time depending on a variety of factors, including the quality of your sleep. So, if you haven’t been sleeping well, you’ll feel the lunchtime slump more than usual. And if you stay up later than usual, and therefore get less sleep, you might end up changing your circadian rhythm. Think of it as jet lag without the holiday. Then think about how horrible that concept is.
There are certain things, other than an altered sleep pattern, that can throw your circadian rhythm out of whack. Read on to find out how to combat a few of these in order to help you perfect your sleep cycle.
The amount of light you are exposed to, especially at night, can affect your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. By making sure you block out light at night with blackout curtains or a sleep mask, (particularly in summer), your internal body clock will know when it is time to wind down and make you sleepy, making nodding off easier.
It may feel impossible but try to turn off all electronics 30 minutes before bed, and also leave them outside the bedroom. This will reduce your exposure to blue light and allow the body to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin, that will help you drift off to sleep much more easily. If you absolutely can’t put your phone down, you can find apps or settings on some phones that reduce the blue light and make your phone have a red hue. This will allow for normal melatonin production, triggering that drowsy feeling you get before you drift off to sleep.
Drinks & other substances
There aren’t many of us who’d say no to unwinding with a beverage after a long day in the office. It might seem like a great idea at the time, but as your body starts to process alcohol later on it disturbs your sleep, and can even cause you to wake up during the night.
It’s not just evening drinking that can be a problem either. Your caffeine consumption during the day gives you that pre-meeting boost you need, but can also make falling asleep a nightmare
Cutting down on your intake will improve your quality of sleep, eventually meaning you won’t need to drink as much coffee to stay awake. Win-win.
Oh, and that pre-bed ciggie? Whilst it might calm your nerves, it isn’t good news for your sleep quality. Nicotine is a stimulant, which increases your heart rate and work against the melatonin being released at night. This results in a disturbed start to your sleep cycle, and it may continue to disrupt how it functions through the night.
Your circadian rhythm is most disrupted when your pattern of sleep changes. So, sticking to a set bedtime is super important. Just as you set an alarm to get up in the morning, try setting an alarm 45 to an hour minutes before bed to help you get into a good routine.
It also really helps to rise at around the same time each day. Avoiding the snooze button is a good move too, as falling into a deep sleep and then waking up again confuses the body and brain, making you feel more tired than usual throughout the day.
Discomfort and disrupted sleep
Where you lay your head contributes hugely to how well you sleep. If you find you struggle with disrupted shut-eye, it might be time to invest in a new mattress.
This month we’ve partnered with Simba – a sleep company with a difference. They engineer mattresses with comfort and sleep quality in mind. And it’s not just your sleep quality that gets looked after, their technology supports individual sleeping patterns, meaning if you share with someone you can both sleep peacefully side by side, without disturbing each other.
For a detailed analysis of your sleep pattern visit https://simbasleep.com/blogs/night-life/the-sleep-quiz to take Simba’s sleep quiz.
To help you perfect your sleep cycle we’re giving you the opportunity to win your very own Simba Hybrid(R) Mattress and two customisable Simba Hybrid(R) Pillows for a perfect night’s sleep! Upon entering you’ll also be in the running to win monthly massages for a year. Enter here.
Who are we? We’re Urban Massage – on a mission to make wellness rituals convenient and accessible without compromising on quality. So, from just £49 an hour, you can enjoy a range of massages from an expert therapist at a time to suit you. Download the app or go to urbanmassage.com to book 60 minutes of restorative me time.