Morning light has in fact been proven to have an affect on your sleep clock. But first thing is first – what is asleep clock? Your sleep clock links to your body’s internal biological clock. This is what helps us recognise when it is time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake. This clock is incredibly important, and understanding how it works could help you improve your sleep. There are also lots of things that can influence this sleep clock, and knowing what these are could help you recognise and improve your sleep. Throughout this article, we’ll talk you through your biological sleep clock, and help you understand what factors may influence this.
Your sleep clock is also called your circadian rhythm. This internal rhythm resets roughly every 24 hours. As mentioned above, this clock helps your body keep track of when it is time for sleep or wakefulness. Interestingly, most living things on the planet have this sleep clock. At certain times throughout the day, your body will begin to release certain hormones to send signals to your brain. These hormones are released when your body receives certain signals from your environment. One of the best signals for this is sunlight.
Because we are not nocturnal, when our body gets the signal that it’s morning from sunlight, it tells the brain it is time to wake up. Your eyes in particular recognise the light changes in your environment. Your body will then begin to release the hormone ‘cortisol’, the hormone that helps our body and brain wake. In the evening – when it begins to get dark – your eyes will recognise this, and will release the hormone melatonin, which will signal to your brain it’s time to go to sleep. Ever wonder why you sometimes wake at the same time of day without your alarm? This is why- sunlight has a lot to answer for! Your body works hard to recognise when it is time to wake or go to sleep and it will ensure your brain is aware when it is morning and time to wake or evening and time to sleep.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to follow your circadian rhythm. Ideally, we would all go to sleep at the same time each night when dark and wake up naturally from the sunlight each morning. A lot of external factors and lifestyle choices can influence or mess up our sleep clock. Factors such as shift work can confuse our bodies, forcing our bodies to wake when it feels like we should be asleep, and vice versa. Those who travel a lot can also struggle, as the different time zones can cause our body to be confused.
Other lifestyle factors, such as parenthood, can obviously wake us at times our body may not choose to. With our eyes having such an important role in the circadian rhythm process, physical conditions such as blindness can also interfere with our sleep clock. Mental health struggles, such as stress, can impact on our cortisol levels, the hormone that wakes us. If we struggle with stress a lot this may therefore cause us to wake earlier than anticipated. Using technology on an evening is problematic, as most products emit blue light, and this causes a similar response within our bodies that natural light does.
There are certain things we can do to help support our circadian rhythm when impacted by these external factors. Your sleep clock likes routine, so sticking roughly to the same sleep and waking times each day, regardless of weekends, will be really helpful. We know this is not always possible if you work shifts or travel a lot, so there are several other tips to bear in mind below.
Thankfully, there are also certain aids you can buy to support your body with its sleep clock. For instance, there are now sunrise clocks available that use the power of light to help wake you when needed. These clocks will release light at a gradual pace at whatever time you would like to wake. This will help your body to recognise it is time to wake.
Working on good sleep hygiene can also support your sleep clock. For instance, try to avoid too much blue light screen time before bed so that your body and brain can recognise it is time to go to sleep. Darkness throughout your evening will help support your body’s natural sleep clock. Incorporating relaxation into your routine could also support your hormone levels. For instance, regular engagement of breath-work and meditation has been linked to reduced cortisol levels (the hormone that keeps us awake).
We hope you have found this article useful. We really do care about the wellbeing of our customers and want to support you to have the best night of sleep possible.
That’s why we’ve created a mattress made from natural materials, for optimum comfort and health.