How to Reset Your Body Clock
You’ve had a long day, and you fall asleep at 11 pm like you usually do. However, when your alarm goes off for work/school, you feel groggy the following day, as if it’s 4 am instead of 7 am. This feeling is just one example of most people’s internal body clock.
This article will give tips on how to reset your body clock so that you can run on a more regular schedule again.
What Is a Body Clock?
The body clock regulates all aspects of our lives. It tells us when to sleep, how much time we have to do mundane tasks before bedtime, and when to wake up. It’s common to be out of sync with the body clock, especially if your sleeping schedule changes often.
These rhythms dictate the amount of melatonin our bodies produce, how much cortisol we feel in the morning and at night, and how alert we are throughout the day.
If you are not getting enough quality sleep each night, your body clock can become misaligned with the 24-hour day/night cycle. This misalignment will make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night and stay asleep throughout the entire night.
You’ll also be more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety if your circadian rhythms get out of sync with the time of day.
What Is Circadian Rhythm?
Circadian rhythm is the natural, internal body clock that regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Also known as the body clock, it is the master of all biological processes, including:
- Hormone secretion
- Body temperature regulation
Circadian rhythm is regulated by the hypothalamus, called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN. These cells are sensitive to light, and they use the information they receive from light exposure to tell the rest of the body when it’s time to be awake or asleep.
We want to sleep at the same time every night because that’s when our body is ready to rest. So when our circadian rhythm is disrupted by day job or lifestyle habits, both quantity and quality of sleep are reduced.
How to Reset Your Body Clock
We all lead busy lives, which is why more of us are finding ourselves constantly tired and feeling exhausted. Our body clocks can often play a big part in this and contribute to the lack of sleep we may regularly experience, taking a toll on our health.
It is estimated that one in three people suffer from some form of sleep deficit, which can cause health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes and put a strain on our immune system.
Here are some helpful tips for resetting your body clock and getting a good night’s sleep:
Avoid Digital Screens at Night
It’s important to avoid digital screens at night, such as TVs, computers, and phones, because they mess with your body’s natural circadian rhythm.
Blue light, in particular, disrupts the production of melatonin, so it’s best to shut off all your screens before you go to bed.
Lower the Temperature in Your Room to 65 Degrees Fahrenheit
It can be challenging for our bodies to cool down during sleep, and staying too warm makes it challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Sleeping with a window open or using a fan will help ensure that your bedroom stays cool.
Try to Go to Bed and Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day, Even on Weekends
Having a consistent sleep schedule is essential because it helps your body fall asleep and wake up every day. This schedule helps regulate your body clock and makes it easier to get a good night’s sleep. Sleeping on a regular schedule can also help to improve your mood and energy levels during the day.
Dim or Turn Off Lights an Hour or So Before Going to Bed
Overhead lights, lamps, and even outdoor light pollution from streetlights can make it harder to fall asleep.
Blackout curtains, dimming, or turning off all lights an hour before going to bed will help your body prepare for sleep, making it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
Avoid Caffeine Six Hours Before You Plan to Sleep
Caffeine affects your body clock by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain, making us feel sleepy. Caffeine also affects melatonin production by reducing its release from the pineal gland.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our circadian rhythms, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night if we have consumed caffeine before bedtime.
Try To Get Bright Light in the Morning
The best way to regulate your body clock is by getting bright light in the morning. Open the curtains as soon as you wake up or take a morning run to let natural light stimulate your retina and awaken your brain.
Natural light will help produce more serotonin and cortisol, improving mood and energy levels. The more energy you have during the day, the better chances that you’ll be able to fall asleep when you get home at night.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol Before Bed
It is essential to avoid drinking alcohol before bed because it can disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle.
Alcohol may make you feel drowsy at first, but it interferes with the quality of your sleep and can keep you from getting deep, restful sleep. It can make you feel tired and groggy the next day and impact your productivity.
Nap for 30 Minutes or Less
If you feel tired during the day, it’s a good idea to take a quick nap for 30 minutes or less. A power nap will help refresh your mind and body and make you feel more alert. Unfortunately, napping for too long can make you feel groggy and interfere with your nighttime sleep schedule.
Use a Sleep Aid
If you find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night, you might use a sleep aid. Sleep aids can help relax your mind and body and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
There are many types of sleep aids available, so it’s crucial to find one that works best for you. Popular sleep aids include melatonin supplements, herbal teas, and white noise machines.
Make Changes to Your Diet
It is vital to have a balanced diet to have good energy levels and regulate your body clock. Eating foods that are high in sugar and caffeine can disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle, so try to avoid eating these types of foods before bedtime. Instead, eat foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates, which will help keep you feeling energized throughout the day.
How to Make Changes Gradually
Changing your sleep routine can be difficult, so it’s essential to make these changes gradually. Doing so will help your body adjust to the new routine and make it easier for you to stick with these changes over the long term.
Here are a few tips for gradually implementing changes to your sleep routine.
Make Minor Changes
Start by making minor changes to your bedtime habits instead of making multiple adjustments at once. For example, try going to bed a few minutes earlier each night or shutting off all your screens an hour before bedtime. Then, wait a week to see if these changes are helpful.
Take it Slow and Be Consistent
If you feel like your new bedtime routine has helped improve your sleep quality, keep going with these new habits for at least two weeks before making any additional changes.
Adjust Your Wake-Up Time
After four weeks, start thinking about changing your wake-up time. Adjust your wake-up time by 15 minutes every few days, depending on how you’re feeling. If you feel tired, don’t wake up so early. But if you’re having trouble staying asleep, set your alarm for an earlier time.
Change Your Habits
After six weeks of adjusting your sleep schedule, start thinking about changing your napping habits. Gradually reduce the time you nap each day until you no longer take a nap before bedtime.
You may find that you need to make some additional changes over several months, such as cutting back on caffeine and staying hydrated throughout the day.
However, just starting with slight changes and making these adjustments slowly, your body will gradually adjust to fully incorporating all these habits into your daily routine.
Common Mistakes When Trying to Reset Your Body Clock
There are a few common mistakes people make when trying to reset their body clock. Here are a few.
Too Much Too Soon
The first mistake people make when resetting their body clock is that they try to do too much too soon.
It’s essential to take things slowly and gradually reset your body clock by shifting a little each day. It’s far less stressful on the body to do it this way instead of making many changes to your schedule all at once.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
The second mistake is not getting enough sleep. It’s essential to make sure you’re getting enough sleep so your body has time to rest and recover while you’re resetting your body clock.
Setting Unrealistic Goals
The third mistake people make is setting unrealistic goals for themselves. It’s crucial that you set realistic goals and not lose sight of those as you’re trying to reset your body clock or you will become discouraged when you don’t achieve them.
With these things in mind, you can reset your body clock and gradually make changes that will help you get on a better sleep schedule. It takes patience, and it may not happen overnight, but you can feel better in the long run by following these tips.
The Bottom Line
It’s easy to reset your body clock if you make small changes to your daily routine and avoid certain activities before bed.
By avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and screens before bed, you can help your body relax and get the sleep it needs. Avoiding these things will help you feel energized during the day and get the most out of your days.
Following a regular sleep schedule and getting bright light each morning can also improve your mood and energy levels, causing you to feel happier throughout the week.
There are a few common pitfalls to avoid when resetting your body clock. Don’t make too many changes at once. Make minor changes and see how they work for you. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and screens before bed.
Finally, give yourself time to adjust. You may need a few weeks for your body clock to reset. With these things in mind, you can begin the process of resetting your own personal circadian rhythm for better health and well-being.