How To Adjust To Any Sleep Schedule?
By Jayton Miller
Daylight savings vs standard time. The cycle hits you every year, and no matter how many times you experience it, the shift always takes a toll on you. Right when your body begins to get used to your schedule and feels natural, time changes again and throws you right back out of whack. It doesn’t have to be a difficult transition though. With these key principles and supplements you can shift your circadian rhythm and within a matter of days have your body aligned to the new time frame it has been given. Let’s take a look at how its done…Contents:
- What Is The Circadian Rhythm?
- What Affects The Sleep-Wake Cycle?
- How To Easily Align Your Sleep-Wake Cycle
- Things to implement for the first 30 days
- Things To Implement The First 3-5 Days
What Is The Circadian Rhythm?:
Circadian rhythms as defined by SleepFoundation.org are “24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock, running in the background to carry out essential functions and processes. One of the most important and well-known circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle.”
For this article we are going to specifically be talking about the sleep-wake cycle so when the term circadian rhythm is used, just know that is what I am referring to.
What Affects The Sleep-Wake Cycle?:
There are many things that can affect the sleep-wake cycle of your body. From a hormonal standpoint this typically looks like higher stress hormones or “energizing” hormones and lower protective hormones or “relaxing” in the beginning of the day. As the day goes on they slowly begin to switch places with energizing hormones being low at the end of the day and relaxing hormones being higher. There are many things that can affect the hormonal part of the sleep-wake cycle as well as the natural processes that play into this daily rhythm. Some of the most notable are:
- Eating Patterns
- Daily Movement Patterns
- Light Exposure
- Caffeine Intake
- Consistent Sleep and Wake Times
Learning how to use these to your advantage to help align your sleep-wake cycle, along with strategic supplementation, can help you easily and quickly adjust to time changes.
How To Easily Align Your Sleep-Wake Cycle:
Aligning your circadian rhythm is an easy task if you know how to do it properly. All of the steps that are about to be laid out should be used in a simultaneous fashion. Implementing all of these things at once will give your system a hard reset and will allow you to adapt to a new time frame for sleeping and waking very easily.
Things to implement for the first 30 days:
Now these things are going to need to be implemented for a more sustained period of time as your body will need to learn its new schedule.
Step 1 - Go to sleep and wake up within an hour of the same time EVERY SINGLE DAY. This one gets a lot of people as it is nice to sleep in on the weekends, but your body doesn’t know the difference between a Monday morning and a Saturday morning so having a consistent bedtime and wake time is the most important and easiest step that you can take to realign your circadian rhythm.
Step 2 - Eat as soon as you can when you wake up. Eating signals to your body that you are awake and are up and at em. Eating as early as you can will also help to get your stress hormones lower as they spike in order to wake you up. This mitigates the negative effects the stress hormones can have on your body. Eating will also help you eliminate the stress response you might get from caffeine in the later steps.
Step 3 - Get sunlight exposure as soon as you can. Your body light receptors in our eyes and skin, and light exposure help to tell your body that it's day time and you should get on the move. If you work a night shift and have a backwards schedule then it is suggested that you implement some kind of artificial uv light in order to mimic this response.
Step 4 - Move your body. Getting in a morning walk, stretching, or working out can help kick your body into gear and tell it that it is time to work. Although not the most hormonally friendly, working out in the morning is beneficial from a sleep perspective as you won’t jack up the stress hormones in the later hours of the day when you should be getting into a more relaxed state.
Step 5 - Do not drink caffeine in the latter half of the day. You can have your morning cup of joe, but past noon it might not be a good idea to have anymore caffeine. Many people have a hindered ability to rid caffeine from the system, making it circulate in the body for longer and cause stimulating effects for a longer period of time. Eliminating afternoon caffeine intake will give your body extra time to rid caffeine from the system so you can be more relaxed in the evening.
Read More: 10 Natural Sleep Aids That Actually Work
Things To Implement The First 3-5 Days:
The following tips should not be implemented for a long amount of time, these tips are to jolt your system into the rhythm that you want but will have diminishing returns beyond 5 days of use. Using these tips for 3 days is ideal but you can use them for as long as 5 days if needed.
Step 1 - Supplement With 1-5 mg of melatonin and 3 grams of glycine before bed. Melatonin is not ideal as it can raise serotonin levels, and have negative impacts on health later on down the line, but using a little bit for a short time can be beneficial. This will help you teach your body what time you are wanting to initiate sleep, the glycine is fine to take for the long term but in this instance we are using it to enhance the effects of the melatonin.
Step 2 - Use resveratrol or licorice extract to boost cortisol in the morning. Resveratrol and licorice both boost cortisol levels. Many times when people have trouble waking up in the morning it is from a weak cortisol response, or a misaligned cortisol response. Supplementing with these as soon as you wake up can give you the initial spike that you need in order to align it properly with your waking period.
Overall, sleep is one of the most crucial pieces of the health puzzle, and having to align to a new sleeping pattern can be a daunting task when you don’t know how to do it. With the tips in this article you should be able to easily adapt to any sleep schedule that you need to in a matter of days. If you need a little extra help and want a supplement you can use for the long haul then make sure to check out zuSleep by UMZU. This formula is made to help with both falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead of you.