August 31, 2015
Our bodies naturally want to follow the sun and the moon to know when to sleep and wake. Our kids, especially our teens, are messing up this internal clock system. They then become less functional during the day and have increased stress levels which makes parenting harder.
What are some of the common interventions that help with keeping the circadian system in check:
1) Reduce the blue light effect in the evening. Blue light emission from electronic devices can prevent the hormone melatonin from naturally being released as the sun goes down delaying sleep onset. Blue light is what comes from morning sun. Since that wakes us up, having it at night is counter beneficial. Stop using smart phones and tablets after dinner.
2) Try getting to bed and waking at the same time every day.
3) Use light dimmers to reduce house light exposure at night to facilitate normal nightlight. This can jumpstart melatonin production and induce sleepiness.
4) Exercise daily.
5) Eat a light meal at night and try not to eat 2 hours before bed. Fasting for twelve hours a day is a good stress for your bodies cells.
Sleep is critical to happiness,
"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and, by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub."
William Shakespeare, Hamlet