If you’re feeling a bit sluggish since the recent switch from Daylight Savings Time back to Eastern Standard Time, you might want to take a closer look at your sleep/wake cycle.
As explained by health experts at the Villas (Manalapan, N.J.), luxury senior apartment community, a short distance from Staten Island, N.Y., your natural internal clock, your sleep/wake cycle, is your “circadian rhythm.” This rhythm is both endogenous (internal) – and entrained, affected by environmental guides.
Such guides include core body temperature, melatonin secretion, cortisol levels, and oxidative reactions within the body; but the most influential guide is the sun: The sunrise, sunset, amount of light and amount of dark we feel. Humans, animals, plants, and even bacteria have these circadian rhythms.
Rhythmicity is important to us for both regulatinginternal metabolic processes and coordinating with our external environment. Hormone production, brain wave activity, cell regeneration, oxidative stress, heart rate, immune and inflammatory responses, autophagy, and core body temperature are all regulated by circadian rhythm.
CYCLES OF NATURE
To begin living with the cycles of nature and the rise and set of the sun, begin with your morning routine. Try to rise with the sun, or close to it. Go outside in the morning. Morning sun exposure (ideally without sunglasses) actually has the greatest influence on your circadian rhythm synchronization. Exercise daily, preferably in the morning sunlight, and outside in the fresh air. The blue light in the sunshine signals to the brain and body that it is morning, and to stop secreting our sleep hormone- melatonin. This timing helps synchronize when the body will then start secreting melatonin in the evening.
MORE TIPS TO SYNCHRONIZE YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM:
Caffeine and exercise increase alertness and wakefulness.
Let your digestion wind down so your body can focus on repairing while you sleep. Digestion actually raises your body temperature which affects your internal clock and impacts your ability to fall asleep.
Alcohol suppresses REM sleep, and induces a sedation, which is not the same as restorative sleep. It also elevates your heart rate which impacts your ability to enter deep sleep.
Artificial lights have blue light, which signal cessation of melatonin secretion at a time when you want it flowing. Perhaps make the switch to candlelight, less lights, or even low-blue light bulbs, blue light blocking glasses, and “night shift” mode on your electronics.
Keep your room as dark as possible and slightly cool. Take a warm bath or shower right before bed; wind down by reading, writing, or meditating (instead of screens/TV). Also, use essential oils: Specifically, Lavender is relaxing and sleep promoting.
About the Villas
The Villas is an upscale, world class resort-inspired apartment community offering a range of amenities and services sensitive to the lifestyle, health and daily needs of seniors. Orchestrated by Hackensack Meridian Health, the complex is uniquely focused on wellness and prevention – and ideal for singles and couples alike. The luxurious 100,000-square-foot community offers a unique arrangement of supervision and increased healthcare with onsite physician services. Embracing independent-living, assisted-living, skilled-nursing and memory-care needs on specialized floors, the Villas eliminates the need to relocate elsewhere due to health issues, allowing couples to remain together in a comforting, well-managed, posh environment. The Villas is located at 289 Gordons Corner Road, Manalapan, NJ 07726. For information, or to schedule a tour, the Villas may be reached at 732-847-3920, contacted via www.villashmh.com/contact, and visited online at www.villashmh.com.
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Media Contact: Barton Horowitz