Two Ways to Optimize Your Sleep Cycle

By Dr. Mary Clifton

One of the fastest ways to restore health almost immediately is to get more, better quality sleep.

Sleep is one of the simplest ways to increase energy and brain power. It’s also known to help stabilize moods, hormones and even help with weight loss. The positive effects of GOOD sleep are practically endless.

Read on for two tips to optimize your sleep cycle.

Tip Number 1: Darkness is your friend

Tear yourself away from electronics before bed. We need to quiet our mind in the evening, so it can do its job and let us float off into a peaceful and restorative sleep.

Our brains have evolved to produce the sleep hormone melatonin in response to darkness, allowing us to naturally feel sleepy after dark and wake around sunrise. The blue light in our electronic screens greatly disrupts that, and tells our pineal gland it’s morning.

It is not commonly known, but disrupting melatonin may affect how genes influence your overall health and add to decreased memory, lower cognitive function, mood swings and an overall lack of energy.

Avoiding all electronic screens and bright lights before bedtime is one of the simplest sleep tips I can give you. And if you cannot skip those electronics completely, consider using “Blue Blocker” glasses.

Tip Number 2: Wake up and Get Outside.

Interestingly enough, both dark and light are key to healthier sleep. Get some daylight as soon as possible after you wake up each morning. The morning sun can reset your circadian rhythm.

Morning sunlight has a bigger effect on sleep than almost any other variable. If we get bright light exposure early, our brain turns on a timer, part of our circadian rhythm, that can reliably tell you when you're ready to start a good deep refreshing sleep cycle at night.

The magic formula seems to be about a half an hour of sunlight exposure within an hour of waking up.