Tired but Can't Sleep? Your Circadian Rhythm May Be to Blame

Jun 17, 2024 • Luna Blanket

We've all been there: exhausted, eyes heavy with fatigue, but unable to drift off into sleep. It's a frustrating situation, but the answer may lie within your body's internal clock — the circadian rhythm. Let's delve into the world of circadian rhythms and their impact on your sleep. 

What's the Circadian Rhythm, Anyway?

Your circadian rhythm is like a finely tuned orchestra, orchestrating a symphony of biological processes within your body. It's a 24-hour internal clock that regulates various physiological and behavioral functions, including sleep-wake cycles, body temperature, hormone production, and even digestion. Think of it as your body's built-in GPS, guiding you through the day and night.

The Sleep-Wake Cycle Dance

One of the most crucial roles of your circadian rhythm is to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. This cycle governs when you feel alert and energetic (during the day) and when you start to feel drowsy and ready for sleep (at night).

It's influenced by external factors, primarily light and darkness. When you wake up in the morning and expose yourself to natural light, your brain receives a signal that it's time to be alert and awake. As the day progresses, your body temperature rises, and your energy levels peak.

As evening approaches and darkness sets in, your body begins producing melatonin, the "sleep hormone," which helps signal to your brain that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Melatonin levels remain elevated throughout the night, promoting restful sleep.

Disrupted Dance Steps: Circadian Rhythm Misalignment

Sometimes, our lifestyles can disrupt the harmonious dance of the circadian rhythm. Factors like irregular sleep schedules, exposure to artificial light (especially blue light from screens), night shift work, and frequent travel across time zones can throw your internal clock out of sync.

The result? You may find yourself experiencing difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling rested upon waking. This misalignment between your circadian rhythm and your sleep-wake cycle can lead to what's commonly known as "circadian rhythm sleep disorders."

Tips to Tune Your Circadian Rhythm

If you're struggling to get the sleep you need, here are some tips to help you tune your circadian rhythm and improve your sleep:

  1. Embrace Natural Light: Start your day with exposure to natural sunlight. Step outside for a morning walk, have breakfast by a sunny window, or take your work outside whenever possible. This natural light exposure can help regulate your circadian rhythm and improve your alertness during the day.

  2. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Establish a calming bedtime routine to signal to your body that it's time to wind down. Consider activities like reading a book, practicing gentle stretches, or enjoying a warm bath with Epsom salts.

  3. Limit Screen Time Before Bed: Reduce your exposure to screens (phones, tablets, computers, and TVs) at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by these devices can interfere with melatonin production and disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.

  4. Stick to a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Consistency helps synchronize your circadian rhythm and promotes more restful sleep.

  5. Sleep in Comfort: Create a cozy and comfortable sleep environment with a supportive mattress, soft bedding, and a Luna weighted blanket. The gentle pressure from the blanket can promote relaxation and enhance your sleep quality.

Remember, it's all about finding a balance between your internal clock and the external demands of modern life. With these tips (and your weighted blanket for added comfort!) you'll be well on your way to a great night's sleep.