Think of the circadian rhythm as your body’s internal clock. Light and darkness are the main factors that influence this clock, and it has a big impact on your health.
If your circadian rhythm is off kilter, your sleep will suffer. You may also struggle with low energy levels, stress and even weight gain. Even worse, research shows that many variations in your circadian rhythm can increase your risk of diabetes.
Today more than ever, people have messed up circadian rhythms due to modern lighting, electronic screens, airline travel, jet lag and other factors that influence natural daily sunlight and natural evening darkness.
The good news is you can use the tips below to improve your circadian rhythm and optimize your health.
1. Step outside in the morning.
Spending your entire morning indoors can mess up your circadian rhythm. It’s important to expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. It allows light to enter your eyes, which signals your brain to reset your circadian rhythm and stay alert.
Exposure to sunlight actually makes us feel good since it boosts serotonin levels. If bad weather is stopping you from going outside, use a high-quality therapy light box while having your breakfast.
2. Reduce exposure to light at night.
Exposure to light at night is a huge problem for many of us. According to Harvard Health, the blue light that electronic devices emit interferes with your circadian rhythm by blocking the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Here are some of the thing you can do to reduce exposure to blue light at night:
Don’t look at bright screens two to three hours before sleeping.
Invest in blue light-blocking glasses.
Use dim red lights at night.
3. Maintain a regular waking and sleeping schedule.
Going to bed and waking up at specific times every day will reset your circadian rhythm. This article explains that in a normally timed sleeping cycle, you’re supposed to sleep between 10pm and 11pm and wake up between 6am and 7am.
If you work night shifts or you can’t follow the recommended sleeping cycle for whatever reason, make sure the schedule you follow is consistent.