It’s your internal body-clock that helps regulate your alert and your sleep times, as well as many bodily functions. Most living organisms have a circadian rhythms, its designed to tell your body when to do things such as release hormones, regulate your body temperature, and digest your food. And much of the good work is done while you’re sleeping!
The circadian rhythms comes from an area of your brain called the Hypothalamus, which sits near the pituitary gland. If you want to imagine the location; it would be about the height of your ear-top and a few inches just above, and behind your eyes.
This Sleep Foundation article explains where the term circadian comes from, it’s a Latin phrase meaning ‘around a day’ as the rhythm is based on a 24-hour cycle.
Your hypothalamus does an amazing amount of work for you throughout the day, yet many people have never heard of this hard-working gland! Things such as your metabolism, attitude, blood sugar levels, sleep-health, and weight are all greatly affected by whether your rhythm is balanced, or not.
The hypothalamus is very influenced by light, which tells your brain that its daytime and time to be alert and active. If you’re in a situation in which you need your brain to rest; you can coax your brain into thinking its night by putting on a sleep mask.
How to Get More Sleep and better Circadian Rhythms with a Sleep Mask:
You may have situations in which you need to force your body to sleep, until your natural body-clock catches up to you:
If you’ve had to travel thru multiple time zones, or taking a red-eye flight, and need to sleep.
You may have had a change in your work schedule and are now working a night shift. You’re expected to remain alert during the night, but sleep during the day.
New mom’s and caregivers often only get to sleep when their baby or patient is sleeping.
What Other Times May I Need a Sleep Mask?
Simply when you want to give your eyes a break. Or you only have time to rest for 15-20 minutes, and want to fall asleep quickly.
When listening to a podcast or video in bed without looking at the device. Blue screens make your brain think its daylight. A sleep mask allows you to listen, yet drift off to sleep when ready.
When flying and you want to sleep rather than listen to all the noises on the plane. A set of earplugs and you are all set; quiet and dark!
Summertime, when the sun has not set, but you need to sleep. A sleep mask will help you fall asleep even if the room is still bright.
You’re staying in a hotel or VRBO that does not have black-out shades, but it’s too bright to sleep.
Napping. That glorious feeling of allowing yourself to fall asleep during the day. Or, less fun, when you are sick and simply need your rest. Check out this article on the Stages of Sleep.
Other Tips for Getting Your Circadian Rhythm Working Better:
There are things you can do to help yourself relax and keep a good circadian routine. Struggling to fall asleep, then stressing that you won’t get enough sleep is frustrating. Let’s discuss some tips for getting back into a good rhythm!
Try to go to bed at roughly the same time each night. Keeping to somewhat of a schedule helps your body learn to relax at the time you’re preparing to go to bed. This will help you fall asleep faster. Doing the same with your wakeup routine will continue to keep your body and rhythms in sync.
Try not to nap during the day for more than 30 minutes, as it can cause you to feel too-well rested, and not allow you to fall asleep easily that night.
Don’t exercise close to bedtime, it gets your heart rate up and adrenaline flowing. This is not conducive to winding down and becoming sleepy. Keep your bedroom cool, quiet and dark for ultimate calm while sleeping.
Power off those electronics with blue light screens: tv, laptops, tablets and cell phones at least 30 minutes before you try to fall asleep. The wavelength the screens emit can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythms. Reading a book or magazine before nodding off will be more beneficial to your sleep.
For more tips on getting better sleep, please visit this blog in which our BedVoyage CEO participated with sleep experts to offer many options for improving sleep.
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