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Not Getting Enough Sleep? You May Be out of Sync with Your Body

Do you have a sleep-wake rhythm that doesn’t mesh with the standard 9-to-5 (or 8-to-5) work schedule? Or, does it take multiple taps on the “snooze” button on your alarm clock before you can get up and get going in the morning? If so, it could be your body clock is off-sync with — guess what! — your own biology.

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According to Business Insider, if you’re in sync with your body, you shouldn’t even need an alarm clock. The good news is that some companies are awakening to the fact that not everybody’s body clock is on the same schedule, and are offering revised work shifts to accommodate individual employees’ body chronotypes.

The importance of sleep cannot be overstated, and the fact that the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three biologists for their discovery of master genes that control your body's circadian rhythms only reinforces how important it is to work in sync with your own body’s circadian rhythms.

And, if you’re a shift worker or someone who crosses time zones regularly, you probably are already keenly aware of what happens when your body is out of sync with the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, the challenge of getting quality sleep increases each year as new technological devices are produced that keep you entertained when you'd be better off sleeping. When you are forced to go without electricity, such as when camping or if the power goes out, you sleep deeper and arise more rested.

It's important to realize that light sources at night interrupt your circadian clock and melatonin levels, both responsible for how deeply you sleep and well rested you feel the next day. Artificial lighting from electronic screens and fluorescent and LED lights in particular are especially bad for your sleep cycle.

This is why it’s important to shut off all electronics at least one hour before you go to bed, and to try to use only incandescent lights in your house. In other words, getting as much total darkness as possible during your sleep time is important to both your circadian rhythm and overall health.

However, remember it is also important to expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning and/or around solar noon to "set" your master clock, and to avoid blue light exposure after sunset for the same reason.

Additionally, you need to be mindful of avoiding light penetration while sleeping. Research reveals even dim light exposure during sleep can affect your cognition the next day, so ideally, use blackout shades or an eye mask.

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