In this period of social distancing on shuttered businesses, entrepreneurs have even more stress than usual, making for a lot of sleepless nights.
An entrepreneur can be forgiven if he or she is falling far short of their 40-wink, eight-hour-a-night sleep targets under such dire circumstances. However, shorting yourself on zzz’s can critically deprive your mind, body and creative thinking processes of the much-needed resources a good night’s sleep can provide. What can a sleep-shorted business owner do?
Fortunately, your body has a powerful tool at your disposal, one you might have already heard of: the circadian rhythms. Think of it as an internal clock and learn how to reset this clock and make it work in your favor.
For insight, the experts from VERV, a global fitness and wellness app, have provided the following helpful tips as well as a free, community service-focused Stay-At-Home Wellness Kit for the community.
What is the Circadian Rhythm?
The circadian rhythm is the natural internal system that regulates the physical, mental, and behavior changes that occur in your body within a 24-hour cycle.
It happens due to hormonal shifts, which can make us feel tired or awake. A great deal of our energy levels and mood depend on nature, with our hormonal changes closely linked to sunlight. Basically, our bodies react to light and darkness, keeping us awake in the light of day and making us sleepy at night.
In today’s world, circadian rhythms get out of sync pretty often. It usually happens because we tend to work irregular shifts, or we’re under a lot of stress, or we fail to spend enough time outdoors and end up being exposed to too much artificial light. The list goes on.
So, since the circadian clock regulates many important processes in the body, including hormone production, brain activity, and cell regeneration; managing your natural biological clock is crucial for your overall health and well-being.
Signs Your Circadian Rhythm Needs Adjusting
Your circadian rhythms might need some help if you observe the conditions noted below. We understand as an entrepreneur that odd hours and the occasional sleepless night go with the territory, but if these symptoms are becoming chronic, consider these points your circadian rhythm wake-up call:
- Feel tired during the day but full of energy when it’s dark out
- Have difficulty falling asleep at night
- Wake up in the middle of the night
- Are unable to concentrate
- Work odd hours
- Have chronic daily headaches
If any of the above symptoms describe you, you could be having some issues with your circadian rhythm. Of course, as always, check with your doctor first to rule out other health issues.
8 Steps to Get Your Circadian Rhythm In Sync
1. Rise with the sun
Sunlight works as a signal for your brain, sending an alert that it’s time to start a new day. Open your windows real wide first thing in the morning to let fresh air and natural light in. It will fill you up with energy.
Tip: Leave your curtains open at night and let morning sunlight wake you up.
2. Regulate your meals
The goal is to stick to a day-to-day eating schedule and consume your meals approximately at the same time each day. Try eating your main meals during daylight hours and avoid heavy foods for dinner and before bed.
3. Exercise daily
Your whole body, including muscles, is linked to your internal biological clock. When you work out, your body releases hormones – endorphins and dopamine – that participate in regulating your natural circadian rhythm. Exercising also promotes melatonin production, which helps you to sleep better.
Tip: Schedule your workouts at a certain time during the daylight and avoid exercising when it’s dark out.
4. Consider taking a short break at midday
Ever felt this afternoon slump? Yeah, that is also a normal part of the body’s circadian rhythms. But don’t rush to trust that signal and take a nap! Instead, consider going outside, taking a walk or doing a short stretching session and you’ll notice the increase in energy in no time.
5. Take a short walk right before sunset
Just like the sunrise helps you feel awake, the sunset gives your body a signal that it’s time to wind down and go to bed. You can either spend time on your back porch or take a stroll in the park.
Just be sure to avoid walking in crowded places – remember your safe social distancing!
6. Limit screen time after sunset
We all know that the blue light that’s emitted from phones, TVs and laptops can disrupt sleep. The screen light from your devices works similar to sunlight and sends message to your brain that you need to stay awake.
Tip: Create your own relaxing device-free routine before going to bed. Read, practice yoga, meditate, or take a warm bath.
7. Optimize your sleep environment
Let your bedroom be free of work and negativity and make it a place associated with rest and relaxation only. Create a cool and cozy environment, reduce noises, use essential oils to surround yourself with scents you like.
8. Go to bed right when you feel sleepy after sunset
Don’t wait until ‘the time is right.’ Forget about the rule of sleeping for 8 hours each night. If it’s already dark out and you feel that you’re ready to fall asleep, just go for it.
Center your attention on circadian rhythms and give yourself some time to experiment with it. Take it slow and watch how your body responds to the external environment and daylight. The process of resetting your internal biological clock is not only about fixing your sleep schedule but it’s also about improving your health, boosting mood and making you feel better.
Verv is a comprehensive personal mobile health assistant that brings together physical fitness, mindfulness, healthy eating, and good sleep to make a true and significant difference in your well-being. For more information visit Verv.com. Click here to access a free community wellness and workout program
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