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How To Change Your Circadian Rhythm

Reflecting the sun’s natural motion in a 24-hour orbit round the earth, your body’s circadian rhythm has a 24-hour cycle. Over the course of those hours, your energy levels drop and grow many times, which makes you feel sleepy in the others and wired at particular points. But your circadian rhythm doesn’t operate in a vacuum–variables including exposure and your mealtime schedule guide it. Since these are factors you may change gaining some control over your 21, and that’s good news.

The Time Zone Effect

Without even trying, your circadian rhythm already altered before. Think about the last time you traveled to another time zone. Within a week or so, your circadian rhythm is in sync with the new time–you know this because you’re falling asleep in an hour when you used to wake up. (Of course, you have probably also experienced the fallout from an internal clock that’s not capable of adjusting fast enough to extreme time shifts, resulting in insomnia, crankiness, and confusion for your first few days abroad.)

Making the Switch

Travel isn’t the only reason you may want to modify your circadian rhythm. Perhaps you’ve got a new job with different work hoursor signed up for a pre-work gym class. To adjust your sleep hours, the biggest tool available is light (or lack thereof). When it is dark outside, your brain signals to your body to release melatonin. When it is light outside, your brain sends a signal to cut off the melatonin supply, making you feel more alert. To shift your circadian rhythm earlier, dim the lights in your house an hour before bedtime to prepare yourself. Turn on as many lights as possible to simulate The moment the alarm goes off.

Other Strategies

Other facets of your life can influence it as well, although your circadian rhythm responds well to light cues. The time can speed up or delay your clock. Your body clock may also move back, making a later bedtime feel natural, if you alter your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to later in the day. Another factor: Your workout routine. Hitting at the gym may shift your circadian rhythm .

Whatever strategy you follow, it is best to make the adjustments. Move your plans later or 15 minutes earlier every day until your find a rhythm that works for you.

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