We all have a scheduler hard-wired into us. Our body impulsively and instinctually responds to things in a timely manner in the course of the day because we craft a chain of operation for our lived experiences.
The circadian clock, as it is widely known, is what is responsible for setting our physical body and our mental states into a cyclic rhythm, day in and day out. We turn ourselves to the beat of the day, depending on the level of activity we face during the parts of the week. A healthy amount of sleep is said to be 7-8hours.
When we manage to get some shut-eye for this long, we are more likely to wake up rejuvenated rather than unwilling to start a new day. Even the time at which we sleep is imperative. Keeping it at a constant not only helps us stick to a routine; but also helps our bodies prime themselves to the things we are exposed to during the daily grind.
As we’ve discussed before, triggers and stressors that lead to anxiety and stress can often disrupt sleep cycles. When we’re stressed, we often try to combat it by taking a detour into the dream world. Sometimes it keeps us awake in the middle of the night. But, how to make sure that we don’t disturb our body clock? Here’s a few simple tips:
Make Your Mornings Bright
When you go to sleep, make sure you keep your blinds open at night. This way, when the morning light arrives, it filters in, alerting you to summon yourself out of the realm of dreams. We know that being exposed to light the first thing in the morning seems pretty annoying, but with time, it does induce a feeling of rejuvenation upon waking up, once you get used to it! At night, make sure all the lights are dimmed out. You’ll drift right into the sleep state. But when the morning comes, make sure the rays of sunlight hit your face and prize your eyes open.
Keep Your Naps Brief
We all tend to want a little snooze in the middle of the day, especially if we have split hours at work. A snooze may seem like the best idea, but one needs to carefully weigh the amount of time they fall asleep for in the middle of the day. An extensive, 4 hour nap is really tempting, but does it leave us fresh? Sleeping a long time in the afternoon cuts out the momentum that you’ve already managed to achieve through the day. Experts like Heidi Connolly claim that a 20 minute nap is the most ideal. It gives us just the amount of shut eye we need to get up and resume what we’re doing.
Limit Caffeine; And Sleeping Pills
The right aid to stay awake; or even to go to sleep are extremely important to keep healthy. We often crave for a caffeine kick at work. It’s but obvious; sometimes it’s pretty hard to stay awake through the drudgery of the day. Caffeine has the desired effect in the morning, but when we decide to chug down that iced-coffee towards the end of our day for a last burst of energy, it often affects our descent into sleep at night.
Oversleeping, as well as a consumption of caffeine at all the wrong times are things other than stress that lead to us staying up and being insomniacs. Taking a sleeping pill is something we often feel like doing in these situations where we’re just staring at the ceiling or desperately counting sheep, but this too affects the duration and regularity of our sleep cycle. Keeping it stable; and not simply falling asleep is the main end to achieve.
Use Your Bed to Sleep and Sleep Only
We often plop ourselves on our bed to work, draw, read, and pretty much do anything else in a sedentary position. This may be comfy, but it confuses our brains. In the classical sense, our brain wires itself to associate the bed-space with sleep. However, when we sit down and try to write a research paper on our sleeping space, our brain will confuse these two triggers. We often find ourselves dozing off while working. The likelihood is higher if we work on our bed. We must make sure that we use our bed to sleep, and sleep only.
The key to a stable sleep cycle often lies in the way we craft and curate what we do on a daily basis. Sleeping regularly, eating healthy, and also understanding the spatial parameters that govern sleep is extremely important in order to know how to maintain it at a stable level. The importance of the stability of the circadian clock is indisputable. Our inner scheduler needs to be wired and ready to maintain regularity within us. Disturbing him by being lazy, or wanting that extra cup of coffee is simply not the answer.
An undergraduate in Psychology, Shantanu is an aspiring Educational Psychologist who will be pursuing his Master’s in 2018 at the Ohio State University. He is adept with psychometric and statistical research, and has honed his grasp over psychology through a 4 year undergraduate course in Liberal Education at FLAME University, Pune.