Natural Circadian Rhythms and Rest

Many have a hard time going to sleep at night after spending very much time on a computer or in front of TV or computer screen. The light resets our circadian rhythm which is basically a twenty-four-hour cycle affecting sleep, body temperature, alertness and neurotransmitter levels.

Our brains control and help maintain the internal clock of these rhythms. Reducing screen time is important for nighttime routines to facilitate restful sleep and getting to sleep. Consider creating a night time ritual to prepare for bedtime. Try to have windows open when possible. If not possible, play soft nature sounds with a fountain of water running to sooth you into slumber.

If you have raised kids, you will recognize the importance of routine for going to bed and getting up in the morning. Teachers know that student alertness and academic performance is greatly affected by sleep amounts. If you have ever done shift work, you have probably experienced that it messed with your sense of wellness. If you have ever traveled across the continent or internationally, you may have noticed it messed with your sleep routine as well!

Mandy, my dog, gets upset with me when I will not go to bed at our normal time. She paces, whines, begs, until I go into the bedroom. My cat insists on getting me up at daylight each morning! He sits by my shoulder and lightly touches my nose with his paw until I get up! Mandy just sits ¬†on the bed at my hips and stares at me–which wakes me up! My animals have better sense than I do when it comes maintaining a sleep routine.

So, how should one properly wind-down at night? First, turn off electronic devices, which stimulate you to be awake. Then, find a calming activity to relax your mind and body. I, generally, sit in the dark in my living room with a single candle and play my flute to slow down my breath and get into a relaxed frame of mind, then I write in my gratitude journal.

It is so important for our bodies to get proper rest. Yet, the world we live in lends itself to around-the-clock productivity, which interferes with our personal wellness and rest. Challenge yourself to spend a week making time to wind down before going to bed, and see what it does to your sense of well being!