The 3-Step Guide to Resetting Your Sleep Cycle

When your circadian rhythms get out of whack, chaos reigns o’er your evenings. You might have trouble falling asleep—no matter what time you try to go to bed. You might toss and turn all night. You might wake up feeling groggy and underslept, even if you clocked in a solid eight. There’s no winning.

The balance of your body’s internal clock is so crucial to your health and ability to rest. When you’re in balance, your body instinctively understands when it is time to go to sleep and when it is time to wake up.

Extensive traveling (jet lag) and bad habits (watching TV before bed) can steadily throw your clock out of whack. Before you know it, you’re not falling asleep until 2am, tossing, turning and wishing you could stay in bed until noon. What should you do? For starters, try these three steps to reset your clock naturally.

Cherry juice with ice cubes, mint leaves and ripe sweet cherry

1. Eat sleep inducing foods.

Melatonin is a hormone in our bodies that gets produced at night to help us fall asleep and sleep soundly. But if your circadian rhythms are off (particularly if you look at glowing blue screens at night) your body may not be producing melatonin when it needs to.

That’s where certain foods can help. Many people experience success with drinking tart cherry juice before bed. Tart cherry juice contains tryptophan (that sleepytime amino acid famously in turkey) and is also one of the only natural food sources of melatonin.

You could also add a little honey to really reap the benefits. Honey actually supports the body’s natural production of melatonin by gently increasing glycogen levels which helps more tryptophan flood into the brain. There, tryptophan is used to create melatonin at night (or soothing serotonin during the day). Rather than supplementing with melatonin, honey offers natural production support. After all, let thy food be thy medicine.

Do not disturb

2. Take gentle evening walks.

Walking isn’t just good for post-dinner digestion. Getting outside and exposing your body to natural light is a powerful way to help reset your internal rhythms. In fact, letting natural light into your bedroom in the morning can help rebalance your sleep wake cycle.

Walking outside is also a powerful stress reducer. Stress affects your sleep in a major way. The higher your cortisol levels, the lower your melatonin levels tend to be. Just try to avoid intense exercise in the evening if possible—exercise is a mild form of stress and can elevate cortisol levels before bedtime.

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3. No more tech.

You’ve heard this before, and a lot of us choose to ignore this recommendation—because, you know, Netflix. But you will reap major benefits if you can stop looking at screens for an hour or three before bedtime.

Blue light stifles melatonin production and triggers our bodies to think it is daytime. Even if you don’t have active sleep issues, watching videos or looking at a screen before bed has been scientifically shown to worsen sleep quality (yes, even yours). Give yourself the deep sleep you deserve by cutting artificial blue light from your evening routine.

Resetting your body clock can take some time, so be patient. Of course, if you want to really rush into things, you could go camping for a week. Seriously. Nothing resets your body to the rhythms of the planet better than sleeping under the stars!

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57 comments

Kathy K
Kathy K11 hours ago

Thanks.

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Peter B
Peter B2 days ago

Thanks.

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Amparo Fabiana Chepote

I have to drop the tech at night. Tomorrow I will start my evening walks. Thank you. Camping sounds good.

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Pearl W
Pearl W4 days ago

An open letter to the Care2 Editors - Re: Green Stars & You Snooze, We Loose -
I am still receiving only a few Green Stars that all come from Past Member - Please prominently inform us all when the problem is solved - Actually an up date with your progress for a solution would be helpful for many Members - I have tried informing you via Site Feedback, however have no reply - In fact every time I've used Site Feedback, I have never received a reply from C2? I wonder how I check what email address you have filed for me? - smiles, Pearl W.

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Pearl W
Pearl W4 days ago

Hi All - Tee hee - Aint nothing like taking a tart to bed even if they turn out to be a turkey or a honey - Just my sense of humour twisting the words - smiles
Thanks Jordyn sound advice with good links - It used to be common practice for folk take their constitutional walk after dinner - Sometimes they'd fore go the walk to sing around the piano, dance or play parlour games (like charades) - All good exercise for your core muscles and internally exercise your tummy - More smiles

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Gerri Desjardin
Gerri Desjardin4 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Tabot T
Tabot T5 days ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn5 days ago

Many thanks to you !

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Danuta W
Danuta W5 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Carole R
Carole R5 days ago

Good ideas.

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