What is a Sleep Rhythm?
Often referred to as the “internal body clock”, our sleep rhythm influences the timing of all our bodily rhythms.
Your sleep health and overall well being is dependent on your sleep rhythm working correctly; and remaining synchronized with night and day. The most important external indicator to help keep your body synchronized with this routine is light.
Due to modern lifestyles, concern over UV rays and long winters we don’t get the natural light that our bodies need. As a result many people find it hard to sleep at the appropriate times or lack the energy they need to perform during the day. Using Re-Timer for 30 minutes is the 100% UV free way to receive light when it’s convenient for you.
Why is light important to our sleep rhythm?
When your eyes sense light, your body responds by being more awake and alert
If you do not receive light at the right times due to the winter months or lifestyle factors, this can confuse your circadian rhythm leaving you unable to sleep when you need to or contribute to a low mood experienced in winter.
What can disrupt your sleep rhythm?
Sleeping and waking difficulties can occur when there is a discrepancy between your sleep rhythm and an individuals preferred sleep period.
This can occur for a number of reasons, and can cause a mis-timed sleep rhythm.
Shift work: working different shifts requires you to adjust your sleep-wake times to accommodate your work life. Often this means having to sleep during the day which is contrary to your body’s natural rhythm, or experiencing fatigue during your shift. Read more about Shift Work here.
Travel: frequent travel may require you to cross multiple time zones. This can disrupt your existing sleep-wake rhythm and result in you feeling jet lagged and unable to sleep. Read more about Jet Lag here.
Seasonality: lack of morning light during the winter can cause you to have trouble sleeping at night and then waking in the morning. Read more about beating winter here.
A number of people may be affected by a mis-timed sleep rhythm:
- Delayed Sleep Phase: may cause you to have difficulty falling asleep at your desired bedtime. Typically, people are unable to sleep until after midnight and then find it difficult to wake up early in the morning for school or work commitments.
- Advanced Sleep Phase: may cause you to feel overwhelmingly sleepy during the early evening, essentially rendering you unable to stay awake. Your bed times may be as early as 7pm causing a wake time of around 3am, impacting your work and social life.
What does this mean?
If individuals try to sleep at a time that does not match their sleep rhythm then this can result in the following:
- Poor sleep quality
- Insufficient sleep duration
- Sleepiness and fatigue
- Impaired overall well-being in family and social life
- Decreased motor and cognitive performance