Image of a clock between images of day and night | Featured image for The Sleep-Wake Cycle.

Dr Jess Harvey, Osteopath at Head 2 Toe Health, understands the importance of sleep for overall health and well-being. Jess shares with us her knowledge of the and how you can improve your sleep by following some simple timing tips that will set you up for healthy sleep.

Our bodies have an intricate system of clocks that feed into our circadian rhythm and signal many of our body’s natural functions, including our sleep. When this system is disrupted, it can manifest in many different ways, including sleep disorders, mood issues, blood sugar irregularities, poor recovery from exercise, depression, anxiety and many chronic health disorders.

There are two key hormones that help regulate this sleep-wake cycle. One is Melatonin, an anti-inflammatory essential for sleep and the other is cortisol, one of our stress hormones that gets us up in the morning. Melatonin is highest in the evening and cortisol is more dominant throughout the day. By modifying our light exposure and other behavioural techniques, we can optimise these hormone levels and our circadian rhythm to improve our health issues and enhance our health. For example, exposure to blue light at night suppresses melatonin production at night which can exacerbate sleep issues, cause difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep and reduce overall sleep quality.

While we’re asleep, a whole array of internal housekeeping activities can be switched on. From 10pm-2am we can undergo significant physical healing…if we are asleep. If we are awake at this time, we’re missing out on a key healing opportunity. From 1am-5am we get more mental healing. Many of us are living, eating, sleeping and working at hours that are at odds with our biological clock, leading to disruption in this rhythm.

Five Timing Tips To Improve Your Sleep

  1. Maintain regular sleep cycles. Sleep and wake at the same time each day, even on weekends.
  2. Go to sleep as close to sunset and wake as close to sunrise as is practical.
  3. Prioritise sleep from 10pm-2am. This is when our main physical healing happens, only if we are asleep.
  4. Spend the first twenty minutes of your day outside in the sun, preferably without sunglasses. The light that enters your eyes in that time signals your brain that it’s day time.
  5. Spend 10 minutes outside just before sunset. As the blue light dwindles, the body receives a signal that it is wind down time.

Poor sleep can have such significant effect on our life. It can affect the quality of our work, reduce sport or gym performance, slow our reaction time and contribute to more accidents and falls. It can affect our interaction with others, affecting relationships and it can reduce our healing capacity, mental clarity and thinking and influence our food choices. It is crucial to establish and maintain consistent sleep routines and cycles, your health depends on it.

We’re proud to partner with Jess and her team at Head 2 Toe Health. We know how important the sleep-wake cycle is to your overall health, if you want to talk to someone about improving your sleep, get in touch with us by calling 1300 858 139 today! Or you can reach out to us online about our full range of bedding and sleep accessories

Updated: 31/07/2023

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