Rhythm of Rest
Humans, much like the rest of the universe, operate from a collection of rhythms established with nature. Our bodies sync with our environment each quarter (with the seasons), each month (with the moon), each week and each day (rotation around the sun).
The body keeps its daily (circadian) rhythm by detecting the light/dark cycle. About two hours prior to sleep, melatonin is released to help us fall asleep. Environmental cues (like the blue light from screens) and mental cues (such as unprocessed stress) disrupt the release of melatonin and we have difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.
To reset your cycle:
- Avoid blue light from television, ipads and phone prior to bed. Read a book or have a conversation to help process the day instead.
- Use the morning sun to wake.
- Avoid eating late: It tells the body to gear up for activity.
- Thermoregulation: cool temperatures tell the skin to sleep. Sleep in the nude!
Many people find success with supplemental melatonin (for help falling asleep) and/or extended release melatonin (to stay asleep). Start with small does and increase until you see benefit.
Along with these environmental changes, address ongoing stress. Release it from the body with an early or mid-day workout, and from the mind with regular meditation.