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Sleep is a crucial part of life and plays a large role in our overall well-being - we know we don't need to lecture you on this. Regularly getting a proper night's sleep aids in mental clarity, boosts your immune system, helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduces stress, improves your mood, lowers health risks, the list goes on, and on, and on. But, we know that sometimes we stay up too late or get into bad habits that negatively affect our sleeping patterns.
There are thousands of articles out there telling you what NOT to do in order to improve your sleep - don't worry, we won't be adding to the noise. Instead, we want to offer you a more holistic approach to sleeping by suggesting all the things you CAN do. Before we list these items, let's first talk about circadian rhythm and why it's important for our bodies.
Your body naturally has its own rhythms of mental and physical activity - these are called your circadian rhythms. Everyone is wired differently to their own internal clock, regulating when you should feel awake, sleepy, mentally clear, and so on. Along with cognitive functions, your body actually changes temperature and certain hormones are released all throughout a 24-hour period aligning with your own circadian rhythm. Pretty cool, hey?
Our bodies are naturally wired to follow the sun's cycle, so rising with the sun and getting increasingly tired as darkness falls. Therefore, as the sun starts to set, our bodies naturally start to feel fatigue with the release of particular hormones while we generally feel more energized in the mornings when light starts to fill our house.
So with this said, here are three ways that you can use your circadian rhythm to ensure a good night's sleep:
You've probably noticed that you feel less rested when you have less sleep - this fact is common sense. However, you may have also noticed that you feel less rested even if you get your eight hours of sleep, but at a different time interval than you normally would. For example, you will likely feel more rested sleeping from 10pm-6am than 1am-9am. This is because we feel most invigorated by following nature's rhythms of sunlight during the day and darkness at night.
So, listen to your body and see what your optimal wake up and bedtimes are. For most people, it's rising with the sun and going to sleep with the stars, so a 9-11pm bedtime and a 5-7am wake up time are most common. Choose a time that works for you and your schedule, and stick with it every day. If you're currently staying up too late, it will take some time to adjust. Slowly change your sleep schedule using 15-minute increments until you are at your desired time; your body will soon adjust and feel more rested than ever.
Now that you know what an important role light plays in our circadian rhythm, let's talk about using it to your advantage. Our bodies are sensitive to sunlight, or blue light, as it regulates our internal clock, telling our bodies when to sleep and when to wake up. If your circadian rhythm is off because you stayed up too late, your environment has changed or you have created some poor sleeping habits, you will find yourself lacking energy, feeling sleepy and potentially gaining weight.
To rebalance your circadian rhythm, we recommend that you work on your light exposure. It has been recommended that you expose yourself to blue light for 5-10 minutes in the mornings to wake up your brain cells. If this isn't possible, there are artificial ways to creating blue light so that you can be exposed to proper light in the mornings.
And finally, our favourite tip, is to drink our Sleep Well blend before bed. A major component of this blend is valerian, a root ingredient that reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, as well as can improve the quality of sleep you receive when you do finally slip away. Many studies have shown that people see improvements in their sleeping behaviours when they start taking this natural ingredient.
So, check out our Sleep Well blend, the perfect combination of chamomile and valerian to help you slip off into dreamland before you know it. It tastes great and can be an excellent addition to your nightly routine.
Sweet dreams xx
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