Having trouble getting really high quality sleep? If you’re a mom, sometime the kids dictate the amount of sleep you get, however, the sleep you get during the short periods of time, can be better.
Let’s check out circadian rhythm and what it actually does to the quality of sleep.
What Is Circadian Rhythm?..
Circadian rhythm is the natural internal 24-hour cycle of physical, mental, and behavior changes that the body goes through. The biggest factor that controls circadian rhythms is the lightness and darkness levels within your life.
The light and dark give signals to the body as to when it is day or night, awake-time or sleep-time. Without the proper light or dark signaling from the body’s internal clock, it can be difficult to fall asleep. Many gals wake up during the night, or are unable to sleep as long as they want into the morning.
The Scientific Stuff
The study of the circadian rhythm of organisms is called chronobiology. Science has discovered that humans aren’t the only living things to have a circadian rhythm, and that even other animals, plants, fungi and bacteria can also have circadian rhythm.
Generally, most living things have a cycle that takes place within a 24 hour period. This is because multiple factors like daylight and temperature have a big hand in the order of these rhythms, and can directly influence a number of physiological functions of the body such as the sleep-wake cycle, the body-temperature cycle, and the cycles in which a number of hormones are secreted.
Circadian rhythms can influence your health, due to the large impact it has on your sleep quality.
Functions of the human body like hormone release times, eating times, temperature, and digestion are majorly important processes, so disruptions of the circadian rhythm can throw your body out-of-sync.
Some common circadian rhythm disorders are:
🌙 Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both.
🌙 Sleepiness during the daytime.
🌙 Fatigue and exhaustion.
🌙 Decreased alertness and difficulty concentrating.
🌙 Impaired judgment and trouble controlling mood and emotions.
What to do Next
If you have been struggling with your sleep, have insomnia, or are just looking for a way to have a healthier sleep routine, start to examine your daily patterns.
Experts recommend to wake up every day at the same time and try to go to bed around the same time every night. Keeping a regular sleep schedule will help reset your circadian rhythm. By going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, your body will learn to adjust to the new rhythm and will know when it is time to sleep, allowing you to get better sleep, even if it is interrupted by outside factors (kids).
Avoid having a large meal within 2 hours of bedtime. Your body needs time to metabolize your meal, and if you go to bed close to the time you’ve eaten, the body is still busy digesting your food, which can effect your sleep quality
Try keeping your lighting in sync with your circadian rhythm. Dimming the lights and limiting “screen-time” 30 minutes before you’re ready to go to sleep, can help to prep your mind and body for sleep.
Baby-Time At Night
If you’re a new mom, then you are most likely getting up during the night. To help you keep some sort of circadian rhythm, try to keep the lights low, sounds soft, and voices calm (even if baby is not on board with having a calm voice…).
If you’re up feeding your baby, try a simple practice of noticing your muscle tension. It is easy to tense up when you have a crying baby, as it is a natural body reaction. Being aware of your muscle tightness and allowing your face, upper body and torso to stay relaxed, can help keep your body and mind in a peaceful-mode, so when baby is back to sleep, your body knows it has permission to transition easily back to sleep.
2nd and 3rd Shift Work Hours
If you have an odd work schedule, notice the lighting preceding your “day” and “night”, depending on your work hours. If you have to sleep during light hours, get a blackout curtain to make your room as dark as night. If your “work day” is during evening hours, brighten your lights to tell your body that its time to be awake. Try an keep your eating schedule consistent so your circadian rhythm knows exactly what it should be doing.
The better sleep routine you have and the more consistent you are with it, the easier it is going to be to have a solid circadian rhythm and for you to get quality sleep each night.