Our bodies are designed to get somewhere around eight hours of sleep a night. Many function better with other amounts, like seven hours, but sleep itself is a daily necessity for living a healthy life. We have a body clock based on our circadian rhythms that regulate this process. Light, meal times, activity levels, and temperature all contribute to setting this body clock at a proper and regular schedule, so the body knows when to shut off.

Modern life presents all kinds of challenges to this, especially in a busy area of Cary and the greater Triangle. Electric lights can be on all day. Stimulating entertainment like Netflix and social media beckon 24/7. Our lifestyles can be chaos on the circadian rhythms and their ability to regulate sleep. The most important thing our clocks need is a schedule, though.

If you know how to get this schedule set, your sleep will improve markedly. Being well-rested in a world of sleepwalkers will give you a noticeable edge, as well as improve your mood, energy, and overall health. With that in mind, how do we get this done today?

  1. Pick times to go to bed and wake up
    This is the first and most important step. If you are going to bed and waking up at different times each day, your body clock is in permanent chaos and there is no chance you’ll get on a schedule. Pick times that you know you can make work and slowly adjust to them by 15 min increments over time. If you’re too ambitious or try to adjust too suddenly, you will likely exhaust yourself and give up.
  2. Pick times to eat and exercise
    The body clock is not just affected by when you sleep, but hormones and patterns are set in motion from both food and exercise, as well. Eating breakfast each morning, then going for a jog is an example of a routine that would help set your body into a predictable rhythm.
  3. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, especially at night
    Both alcohol and caffeine can disrupt sleep schedules, but for different reasons. One is a stimulant, meaning it increases heart rate, the other is a depressant, meaning it lowers heart rate. Regardless, they artificially adjust energy levels in ways that can throw off the body clock.
  4. Avoid screens at night
    Screens, like television, computers, and cell phones, are very stimulating to the mind. Screen time is alright during the day when having an active and alert brain helps you. Later at night, though, the lights and action will give all the wrong signals to the mind and body, causing it to prepare for intense activity when it should be winding down.
  5. Don’t ‘sleep in.
    When you’re tired, sleeping in can seem like the right answer. In the present moment, it can be. But, you are just getting a little bit of immediate relief while exacerbating a long-term problem. Long naps, sleeping in, and other deviations from your typical sleep schedule, do more harm than good. Try to push through until the next night and go to bed a little earlier instead if you need to ‘catch up.

West Cary Wellness can help

If you are sleep deprived and at the end of your rope, West Cary Wellness is happy to assist. We can come up with a sleep plan that will significantly improve your quality of life. Those in Cary, Morrisville, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham, Apex, and the surrounding areas are encouraged to contact us today.

Contact Us

(919) 925-3553

West Cary Wellness

351 Wellesley Trade Lane #101
Cary, NC 27519

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