To Sleep Well, Follow Your Biological Clock!
Contrary to what we often imagine, a good night's sleep is prepared throughout the day and not only in the evening. The quality of your sleep depends largely on your internal clock, which influences your body temperature and the secretion of certain hormones such as melatonin. To sleep well you must therefore follow your biological clock and we will explain how to do so.
An alarm clock at a fixed time
The first rule of following your body clock is to wake up at the same time every day.
According to our internal clock, it is from 7:00 am onwards that the blood pressure starts to rise. The level of cortisol which is the hormone associated with waking up climbs while the level of melatonin plummets.
The ideal time to get up is between 6am and 8am depending on whether you are an early riser or a late riser.
A morning start-up
Between 8:30am and 11am, your body temperature continues to rise, which helps your body wake up and get going. If you don't feel wide awake, you can foster the waking process by taking a hot shower.
Also, to get the day off to a good start, it's a good idea to expose yourself to light, whether it's natural sunlight, a dawn simulator or an electric light source.
By passing through the retina, light resynchronizes our biological clock every day: it blocks the secretion of melatonin and activates the secretion of cortisol that allows us to get moving.
Meals at fixed times
If you want to keep up with your biological clock to sleep better, you should also take your meals at fixed times. In fact, meals are the second way to synchronize your internal clock after exposure to light.
Ideally, we recommend eating a protein breakfast between 7am and 9am and then a balanced lunch between 11am and 1pm. Around 11am, your body temperature drops back down, which can result in a drop in energy. Your body is telling you that it's time to recharge.
Note that what you eat and when you eat your meals has a direct impact on the quality of your sleep.
This is why it is also advised to have a snack between 4 and 5 pm in order to eat more lightly in the evening, between 7 and 9 pm. The last meal of the day should be finished at least 2 hours before going to bed.
Schedule your last meal of the day or your last snack around 8pm so that your digestive system can rest.
Activities adapted to each moment of the day
After lunch, it's normal to feel a digestion-related slump. If you have a job to do or a big file to finish, wait until 3pm instead! This time of day corresponds to a peak of vigilance.
To sleep well the next night, you need to move during the day. But be careful that sports do not disturb your biological clock! If you are planning a rather invigorating physical activity such as running or a tennis match, make sure that your sports session ends 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
A period of calm and relaxation is essential to give your body temperature time to cool down. That's why it's recommended that you only do gentle activities like yoga or qi gong after 6pm.
A bedtime ritual
To keep up with your body clock and prepare for a good night's restful sleep, dedicate your evening to quiet activities.
Starting at 9pm, melatonin which is the sleep hormone begins to be produced by the pineal gland. Melatonin levels peak between 2am and 4am.
In order not to interfere with this natural process, you should avoid exposure to blue light from screens on smartphones and touch tablets in the evening. On the other hand, it is possible to watch TV or use a reading device because these two media do not emit blue light.
From 10:30 pm, the intestines go to rest. The liver and kidneys begin their work of detoxification of the body.
Bedtime approaches and, about 30 minutes before going to bed, it's time to set up some rituals that will help you find sleep, such as:
- airing out your room before bed to renew the air and refresh it (the ideal temperature is between 16 and 19°C)
- wash your body in the evening
- turning down the lights
- read or listen to music 10 minutes before switching off...
It is up to each person to find their own bedtime ritual. But in any case, it is good to chain the same gestures every night to get your body ready to fall asleep.