Beauty sleep isn’t a myth. You really do need to get plenty of sleep to look your best. In fact, good quality sleep every day of the week is vital for your overall health, as well as helping your skin to glow and those dark circles to disappear.
Here, we explore what you can do to get more sleep. Your internal body clock, known as circadian rhythm, is central to your ability to sleep well.
We’ll go through what your body clock does when it works well, as well as what happens when it goes wrong. Then, we’ll point out some simple things you can do to reset your circadian rhythm and sleep more soundly every night.
Why do You Need Around Eight Hours of Sleep
Our bodies are doing so many important jobs while we sleep and each is crucial for our health. In fact, sleep is a biological necessity that affects every aspect of our being. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re likely to find that how you feel will deteriorate. Aside from being tired and lethargic, you’ll find your skin is duller and more prone to breakouts, and your eyes, less bright and more puffy.
If sleep deprivation gets worse, it’ll affect your mental and physical health in more serious ways. For instance, your immune system may function more poorly, meaning you’ll be unwell more often. You may struggle to concentrate and you may be prone to depression.
The Importance of Your Body Clock
The circadian rhythm is your internal body clock. It runs on a 24-hour cycle. In simple terms, it’s a master clock in your brain that regulates the production of hormones. Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers, responsible for telling all your body parts what to do and when.
One function of a circadian rhythm is the sleep-wake cycle. It’s your body clock sending out hormones that tell you when to sleep and when to wake. Hormones control many other things, too, including your metabolism and appetite, growth and development, your stress response and more.
Sleep is an important time for the production of hormones. You may have noticed that after a very bad night’s sleep, you may feel hungrier, more anxious, and not yourself. Just a small disturbance to your circadian rhythm can cause hormone imbalances. This, in turn, can have quite a big effect on how you feel physically and mentally.
Have you noticed the catch-22 here? You need to nurture your body clock to sleep well, but you need to sleep well to nurture your body clock. This is why, sometimes, your sleep patterns might get messy. If this happens to you, you need to focus on resetting your body clock.
5 Tips to Reset Your Body Clock and Get Better Sleep
It’s not usually difficult to improve your sleep, although it may take a little time. Here’s what to do.
1. Create a routine
Build a checklist of wind-down activities that begin around an hour before you intend to sleep. Work through each every night. Some suggestions include:
- Drinking a warm, decaffeinated drink
- Listening to soothing music
- Taking a warm bath or shower
- Doing your skincare routine
- Writing in your journal
These relaxing and nurturing tasks will help your body prepare for sleep, helping you to unwind and forget any stresses you may have. After a few nights of this routine, you may notice it helps you fall asleep more quickly.
2. Stick to the same bedtime
Your circadian rhythm thrives on consistency. If you allow yourself to fall asleep at the same time every day, you will sleep more soundly in general. Pick a bedtime and stick to it, even on the weekends. One late night can throw you out for several days.
3. Avoid screens around bedtime
The blue light emitted from televisions, tablets, phones and gaming devices is known to affect your circadian rhythm.
After using one of these devices, which can trick your body into thinking it should be wide awake, it takes some time to be ready for sleep. Therefore, avoid using them for at least an hour before bedtime.
4. Develop healthy daytime habits
Try to keep active in the daytime. Try to exercise regularly and get outside each day during daylight hours. This will help keep your circadian rhythm in time.
Don’t do strenuous exercise too close to bedtime, however, even if it’s light outside. This will likely keep you awake past bedtime. A gentle yoga or pilates class is an enjoyable evening activity, but try to avoid anything more active than this.
Try to eat well and avoid consuming too much caffeine or alcohol. Both these substances affect your quality and depth of sleep.
This may come as a surprise since a glass of wine can make you feel sleepy. Try not to eat a large meal too close to bedtime either as your digestive system will still be working hard, inhibiting your sleep. Most experts suggest not eating less than three hours before bed.
5. Improve your sleep environment
Make sure your bed is as comfortable as possible. Update your mattress and pillows if you need to. Ensure bed linens and quilts are warm enough, but not too hot.
How about your bedroom? Is it calming and pleasant? Remove any clutter that might have built up. Earplugs and an eye mask may make a big difference to sleep if you live in a noisy area or if early morning light disturbs your sleep.
What to do next?
Follow the tips above for a few weeks and see if your sleep quality improves. If there is too little or no improvement in your sleep after that, there are more options to try. One is neurofeedback therapy in Dubai. This is a scientifically proven, non-invasive brain training therapy. It helps the brain self-regulate.
Neurofeedback therapy can treat a range of conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, memory issues and more. For sleep problems, it is an alternative to over-the-counter sleep medications. However, if your sleep problems are severe (i.e., sleep apnea or acute insomnia), it is important you see your family doctor or a sleep specialist for specific support.
Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, an award-winning neurofeedback-centered institute that focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain’s true potential.
Earning a doctorate in Neuroscience from the revered Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Gala has spent over a decade trying to unravel the way neurochemical and neurophysiological changes in the brain affect the way we interact with the world.
Her goal is to share her knowledge, encourage others to tap into and expand their brain’s capabilities, and dispel any myths surrounding our most complex organ.