insomnia & circadian rhythms

Insomnia is a Circadian Rhythm Disorder!

Believe it or not, the trend in sleep disorders medicine increasingly is to view insomnia—historically one of the most vexing of all sleep (or lack thereof) complaints—as a circadian rhythm disorder.

What’s the cure?

1.) Same wake-up time every day of the week. “Sleeping in” to make up for lost sleep is strictly forbidden—as is sleeping in on weekends. Why? Because it resets your circadian rhythm for a later fall-asleep time. Getting up every day of the week at the exact same time is the #1 most important cure for persistant insomnia—even if you are dead tired when the alarm clock sounds. Get up and tough out the day—and the next night you will be tired enough to fall asleep at your desired bedtime.

2.) Same bed-time every day of the week. A little bit harder to keep—but if you have persistent insomnia—you’re willing to try anything. What’s the rationale? The body likes consistency. If you are already prone to sleep disruptions such as insomina—don’t even begin to fool with the bed-time and wake-up times. Going to bed early? Trying to make up for lost sleep last night? Don’t do it. You’re just going to be awake at 3 a.m. again.

3.) Your target fall asleep and wake-up times should be based upon the minimum amount of sleep that you assess you need to get through your day functionally. The goal is to try to confine sleep to a tight, regular window—so that when you do sleep—it is efficient. If you limit sleep to these boundries (adhere to them diligently for three weeks—and keep a sleep diary of your nightly fall asleep, time awake, and time out of bed parameters), chances are you’ll notice significant, life-changing improvement in just a short period of time.

For more information about insomnia, check out what the National Sleep Foundation has to say about it by clicking here.

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