What Is Sleep Syncing and Is It Good for Me?
By Donna Stark
If you’re a Shakespeare fan you’ve seen sleep compared to a bath after a hard day’s work and a source of “what dreams may come.” There are times, however, when insomnia and other complications make sleeping more of a nightmare than a dreamstate.
When coupled with the powerful force of time, you can design a better quality of rest through the practice of sleep syncing. By synchronizing your sleep schedule to match your body’s internal clock you can turn a struggle for a consistent night’s rest into a routine of deep, rejuvenating slumber.
What is Sleep Syncing?
You sleep and wake on a cycle that’s affected by many factors, including the seasons, access to light, and your body chemistry, according to an article in Stylist magazine. Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle is as important to your health as hydration, exercise, and nutrition. You can match that cycle with your natural circadian clock, a function affecting the release of hormones such as melatonin in a process known as sleep syncing. By creating a consistent sleep schedule, you align your internal clock with your circadian rhythm and you can adjust it to match someone else’s as well, according to an article in Stylist magazine.
When you have trouble sleeping and it starts to affect your ability to work or carry on with other activities, you may have a circadian rhythm disorder, according to a report by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on the National Institutes of Health website. Your circadian rhythm functions in cycles that typically last about 24 hours, and when it’s out of sync with your environment, you need to address the causes.
Your sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, can be disrupted by:
- Light and dark
- Timing of your meals
- Physical activity
- Jet lag
- Your job
- Sleep habits
Whether you’re crossing time zones on a regular basis or have a busy family with a crazy schedule, when circadian disorders are left untreated they can leave you feeling extremely fatigued and affect your memory. Your lack of alertness may also lead to accidental injuries or health problems.
According to an article by the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of circadian rhythm sleep disorders include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Poor relationships
- Poor performance at school/work
Benefits of Sleep Syncing
When you improve your sleep, you’re more comfortable at night and function better during the day. Sleep syncing can give you those benefits and more, says an article in VeryWellMind. It helps you fall asleep faster, with fewer disruptions and a lower chance of developing chronic insomnia.
Syncing your sleeping patterns with your natural rhythm contributes to:
- Alertness while awake
- Better mood
- More focus
- Greater productivity
In addition to personal health benefits of sleep syncing, there are times in life when synchronizing your sleep with someone else can be beneficial to your relationships.
Parents who bring home a newborn infant experience the hard work of meeting round-the-clock needs of their child while fending off health issues. Nursing mothers, in particular, have an easier time getting the rest they need if they synchronize their sleep schedules with the baby.
Couples can benefit from sleep syncing also, says an article on the website for LabMe Analytics. Research shows that partners who share the same sleeping habits report higher levels of satisfaction. They tend to communicate better and get involved in more shared activities, which adds opportunities to bond. It’s due, in part, to scheduling and partly because it promotes sleep that’s deeper and more rejuvenating. Syncing sleep schedules requires a commitment to making compromises and adjustments to successfully dovetail your routines.
How Can I Sleep Sync?
An article in Luxurious Magazine offers suggestions to establish sleep syncing so you can benefit from it.
Put yourself on a schedule - If you’re consistent about when you go to sleep and what time you wake, it regulates your body so your internal clock works naturally. Sleeping and waking are both improved with intentional regulation.
Establish a routine - Our nighttime habits close to bedtime can either disrupt sleep patterns or promote a deeper level of restful sleep. Tune in to your body’s needs and begin your winding down ritual earlier if you’re feeling sluggish.
Invite sunlight into the room - When you wake up to natural light, your circadian rhythm is notified, which makes it easier to get up. Biological clocks are affected by the presence of light and darkness.
Turn off screens an hour before bedtime - How you prepare for bed is part of healthy sleep hygiene. When you’re exposed to bright lights before your head hits the pillow, you may have trouble sleeping, and the blue light emitted by electronic screens can suppress your ability to fall asleep.
Create a comfortable sleep space - Though your bedroom decor can’t solve your problems with insomnia, it may contribute to your ability to experience the proper amount of Rapid Eye Movement, or REM, sleep you’re getting. Strategies to maximize the level of sleep you get in your bedroom include:
- Keeping the temperature low
- Diffusing or turning off all light sources
- Making sure bedding is comfortable
- Incorporating relaxation tools such as incense
- Reducing clutter
Don’t nap during the day - You may feel revived when you catch 30 minutes of shut-eye in the afternoon, but you can alter your circadian rhythm and increase the chance you get poor quality rest at night, also known as “junk sleep.”
Health Practices to Bolster Sleep Syncing
General lifestyle practices, as well as what we do in the hours before bedtime, can help or hurt our quality of rest. Your overall health plays a part in your ability to incorporate sleep syncing into your schedule.
Eating and drinking - If you’re battling insomnia or other sleep problems, limit or avoid alcohol and sugary drinks at night.
Exercise - Not only does physical activity release endorphins to promote a better mood and help you maintain a healthy weight, it can regulate your circadian rhythm to provide more restorative sleep.
Chiropractic care - A healthy spine contributes to overall wellness, an important factor when attempting to improve your sleep patterns.
Relaxation techniques - Meditation, deep breathing, and practices such as yoga are designed to promote calm, which makes falling asleep easier.
Though we all have different circadian rhythms, finding the ideal internal clock can improve sleep quality and overall well-being. You can take a hint from Macbeth, who said, “Let every man be master of his time,” and let sleep syncing lead you into a more rejuvenating experience. A good night’s sleep is “nature’s soft nurse,” but restlessness can be murder.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of chiropractic care, exercise and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.