How To Reset Your Circadian Rhythm When You Have Irregular Sleep Schedule

Alternative Medicine

Have you been sleeping poorly? There’s a good chance you have been if you’re reading this article. The good news is there is something you can do about it.

It all comes down to learning how to reset your circadian rhythm. This is your biological clock that controls the cycle of your day, including how much – or how little – sleep you get each night. If you’ve experienced a lot of restless nights, and there isn’t enough coffee in the world to wake you up each day, you might need a circadian rhythm reset.

This article will look at why your circadian rhythm is so important and how to reset it if you find yourself experiencing an irregular sleep schedule.

Why Is Sleep So Important?

This is the first factor to look at when learning how to reset your circadian rhythm. Simply put, if you are not getting adequate sleep, every factor of your life and health will suffer from it. Sleep is called “the force multiplier” meaning that any positive or negative function in the body is multiplied because of sleep.

If you’re feeling run down, stressed, and getting sick, these effects will be multiplied by a lack of sleep. On the other hand, if you are exercising, eating well, and managing your stress, you will be better rewarded by those things when your sleeping schedule is solid.

When you don’t sleep, your body assumes some external trauma may be happening or else, why wouldn’t you be sleeping? Staying up too late, too much caffeine or alcohol later in the day, and burning the candle at both ends will all prevent you from sleeping. To your body, it doesn’t know if you’re facing trauma, famine, environmental disaster, or some sort of physical attack. All it knows is that you’re constantly awake, and this increases the stress hormones in your body.

Not dealing with stress hormones can lead to a lot of chronic conditions and diseases.

How Does Your Circadian Rhythm Work When It Comes To Sleep?

As mentioned before, your circadian rhythm is your biological clock. It works in roughly a 24-hour cycle, and it is crucial in determining the eating and sleeping patterns in you. Different brain patterns, hormones, and many biological activities are linked to this daily cycle.

These cycles can also be engaged by sunlight, time of the year, and the temperature. It’s why people who work night shifts can suffer from such severe sleep issues. Their biological clock is thrown out of whack and the body can’t keep up with it.

This rhythm is very powerful, and when sleep is not adequate, it will affect your mood, mental alertness, hunger, heart function, and immunity each day. You can see why irregular sleep severely damages it, so if you’re looking to reset your circadian rhythm here are the two most important things to look at.

1. Enhancing Your Natural Melatonin Production

This will be the most important step when learning how to reset your circadian rhythm. Melatonin is crucial to your circadian rhythm and is responsible for letting you fall asleep and stay asleep. Many know it as a supplement but it’s a hormone released by the pineal gland in the brain. And for most people, it’s being blocked.

Melatonin needs darkness to be secreted and light prevents its release. In a natural state, humans would not be exposed to bright lights, TVs, phones, tablets, and computers – especially at night. All of this artificial “blue light” goes into the eyes and prevents melatonin from being released. This makes sleep very irregular, and deep sleep is disrupted.

You will want to keep things as dark as possible at night to get proper melatonin production and reset your circadian rhythm. This means keeping your room as dark as possible and avoiding that artificial blue light at least an hour or two before you sleep.

Other Ways To Increase Melatonin Production
  • Buy blackout curtains for your room. You can get these on Amazon or at Walmart and they help eliminate all outside light to keep your room as dark as possible. These are what hotels use and you probably notice how pitch black a hotel room gets.
  • Avoid any screens later into the night. If you have to be working on a laptop, use a program like f.lux. This takes out the blue light of your screen and gives it a more natural reddish glow. This is the type of light that is more natural and would come from the firelight, candles, or glowing embers.
  • Switch your phone to “dark mode” and use the night shift feature if you have an iPhone. This again takes away a lot of that blue light and turns it more orange/red to make it easier on your eyes.
  • Turn your TV picture setting to “movie mode”. This doesn’t eliminate all blue light but makes the picture brightness warmer and less intense.

As important as darkness is at night, try to get exposed to natural light first thing when you wake up. This is when we need melatonin suppressed so the body can be alert and not groggy. Exposing yourself to daylight as soon as you can in the morning will be another way to reset your circadian rhythm.

2. Have More Consistency In Your Sleep Patterns

Along with the various ways to enhance melatonin production, this is the other key factor in how to reset your circadian rhythm. Sleep experts say that the most important thing to keep your biological clock stable is to create a regular sleep pattern.

Your body craves consistency and regularity and it all relates to your biological clock. Going to bed at the same time each night helps establish that pattern that allows your circadian rhythm to know there is consistency. This consistency is what helps to reset it.

If you have irregular sleep, you need to create a specific wind-down routine. This should occur at the same time each night. The routine could involve taking a shower, some light stretching, reading, and then going to bed. The specifics of the routine are not the important thing. What is important is doing the same thing, at the same time, each night.

Allowing your body to have a consistent sleep pattern is crucial. This will do wonders in getting your sleep back on track and resetting your circadian rhythm.

Final Thoughts

Having irregular sleep patterns is no fun. It will have a negative impact on all areas of your life and health. You can probably see now that the cause is because of your biological clock being impaired, but it can be fixed. If you’ve been wondering how to reset your biological clock, there are two critical things to do. Take control of your melatonin production and create some consistency in your nightly bedtime routine.

References:

  1. https://www.nigms.nih.gov/
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/

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