Since our circadian rhythm used to be linked to the rising and setting of the sun (which was the only light source our ancestors encountered), we’ve evolved many adaptations that are in sync with this natural cycle.
When you honor these natural sleep and wake times, you take full advantage of your biological adaptations to help you fall asleep at night and stay awake during the day.
You can get amplified benefits of your sleep and your wakeful hours by sleeping at the right hours.
One among the many rules of quality sleep is to honor your natural circadian rhythm. You’ll sleep better, be more energized during the day, and reap extra restorative health and performance benefits during your sleep.
Tip #1: GO TO BED A FEW HOURS BEFORE DARK
When it becomes dark out, you should sleep soon.
Research has shown that humans get the most beneficial hormone secretions roughly during 10pm and 2am, depending on your time zone, location and season.
Melatonin, human growth hormone (HGH) and more are secreted in the strongest doses during these prime-time hours.
These hormones give you the most rejuvenating, regenerative effects that boost both your health and your performance.
They recharge you, keep you young, healthy and fit. Miss out on these hormonal secretions by sleeping later, and you just won’t get the same quality of sleep as during this magic time.
If you’re getting a solid 8 hours of sleep per night, but NOT during these prime-time hours, you might STILL feel fatigued when you wake up in the morning. When the lights go out outside, so should yours.
TO SLEEP BETTER:
1. Go to bed within a few hours of it getting dark outside. For most people, this is somewhere between 9pm and 11pm.
2. Make your bedtime consistent. Your internal clock works best on a consistent schedule. Irregular sleeping hours prevent your brain from settling into a pattern, putting you in a constant state of jet lag. Try and go to bed within 30 minutes of the same time, every night of the week (even on weekends).
3. Don’t work the night shift. Consistently disrupting your body’s natural clock can lead to big health problems. So bad, that the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified overnight shift work as a Group 2A carcinogen - making it just as cancer-causing as UVA radiation or lead exposure.
4. Don’t work late at night. Much of what you do late at night really can wait until the next morning.
Tip #2: WAKE UP EARLY
Whether you like it or not, humans are DESIGNED to be up during the day and asleep at night.
Our vision is so great to allow us to see vivid colors during the day.
Our sense of hearing and smell is poor, making us vulnerable and useless at night.
Honor your natural strengths, and wake up early. Waking up early exposes you to sunlight early in the day, which syncs your circadian rhythm and helps you fall asleep better at night.
Plus, early risers seem to be rewarded for their sleeping schedule. Research indicates that early risers earn higher grades, are more proactive, anticipate problems and minimize them better.
They’re more optimistic, conscientious and satisfied. Being a night owl is a new idea that has only been around in recent history.
It might not be a biological trait, but a trained behavior due to an overexposure to light and stimuli late at night.
Whether you like it or not, society is SET UP for early risers to succeed.
Night owls are out of sync with the typical world’s schedule, and miss out on critical opportunities because their timing is off - and they’re always running behind.
TO SLEEP BETTER:
1. Wake up early. The closer to when the sun rises, the better.
2. Wake up at the same time each day.
3. Put your alarm clock across the room. Force yourself to get out of bed to turn it off, and make it hard to hit the snooze button.