Modern times have ushered forth some new and very exciting prizes. Camera’s, iPhones, digital music, online payment, TV’s, microwaves, etc. But one thing modern times has not unlocked is the cure to insomnia. Yes, there are chemical supplements available to knock you out whenever you wish, but these aren’t always very reliable.
Let’s take melatonin for example. I’ll take melatonin before bed every night for a month. The first night I fall right asleep and stay asleep all night. But by day 30, my body has become accustomed to the drug and it no longer has the same effectiveness.
Then I try a new drug, and then another one, and another one. Not only is this ineffective but it’s also incredibly frustrating. If only I could gaze into the sky and find an arrant solution to my problem.
For all who have come here searching for the end to your sleep problems, I will tell you that your answer could indeed be in the stars. It seems absurd that the cure for your nighttime sleeping problems is only available during the day, but hear me out.
Also called the circadian clock, this bodily instrument tells your body when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to sleep. Exposure to sunlight early in the morning (between 6:30 and 8:30 am) will work to reset your clock so you wake up and go to sleep at strict intervals. By lying in bed restless every night, you are losing a lot of sleep you might not be able to get back. Most people have to get up for jobs in the morning which help set their circadian clock. It’s not that easy though. Many behaviors contribute to how our clock is functioning. For example, how late do you stay up on the weekends?
If the answer is 2 or 3 am, you could be messing up your body clock for during the week.
By going to sleep late every night — or getting up late, you cause your body to undergo what is called “drift”. To counter this drift, you need to expose yourself to as much natural sunlight as possible in the morning. Artificial lights(any light that is not the sun) will not have the same effect.
Let me give you an example from my own experience.
For two years I worked in an office with no windows — aka no natural sunlight. Many nights I would stay up late — mostly doing homework — but my body clock would not reset when I awoke in the morning. Over that time, I began to experience restlessness whilst trying to sleep which eventually progressed into habitual sleeplessness (aka insomnia). One summer, I took a trip to a country where I was outside in the sun all the time. For two weeks, I spent very little time indoors and absorbed more vitamin D than I did in months back home. I slept very well those two weeks, and I attributed that to the weariness I experienced from being in the sun all day. However, when I got back I noticed how much quicker and easier I would fall asleep.
Now fast forward to now — I still fall asleep quite easily. But why is that? Certainly two weeks in another country didn’t magically cure me.
Upon returning, I naturally began settling back into my old routine. And over those next few weeks, I noticed that same restlessness starting to creep back in before I went to sleep. With an idea of what might be causing it, I decided to do a little experiment.
Every day upon waking up I would go outside and sit in the sun. This happened before anything else in my entire day — even before I ate breakfast. I had to work it into my schedule to wake up a bit earlier for this, but the results made it worthwhile. I’d relax outside for 15-30 minutes each time and then go about my day like normal. If it was a cloudy day, I would take a short walk for the same amount of time. The objective was to get as much direct sunlight as possible in the morning, resetting my circadian clock to compensate for my late bedtime. After a week of this experiment, there were obvious improvements in my dozing off-speed as well as my quality of sleep through the night. And the best thing was — I stopped waking up absolutely exhausted. It was an awesome feeling.
My conclusion is we are meant to get up with the sun and go back to sleep when the sun disappears. This experiment is clear biological evidence of that.
If you’re hassled by sleeplessness, think in terms of how your circadian clock is working. Determine how much you are sleeping, how well, and when. Then try this experiment for yourself and watch your clock correct itself using the most natural approach to insomnia there is.
Feel free to attempt this experiment yourself and comment your results!
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