Netflix must be making a crap ton of money these days. Every one of us is catching up on that “one more episode” that we had left pending because of our busy schedules prior to the current circumstances. And it makes sense, you know, working during the day and catching up on the remainder of your TV shows makes for quite an occupied lifestyle in this period of a worldwide standstill.
Or so we thought.
Turns out, screwing with our sleep cycles and consequently, our body clocks are not the most prudent thing that we can do (as entertaining as it sounds). There are tons of negative impacts that a disturbed sleep cycle causes to our physical, mental as well as emotional health. Therefore, drawing attention to this crucial yet overlooked aspect during the current times, here are some detriments of having an irregular sleep cycle.
Detriments of an irregular sleep cycle
A little caution before you press the “Next Episode” button.
1. Disturbed circadian rhythm
Having an irregular sleep cycle, even in the short run, can cause permanent changes in the circadian rhythm which is essentially the response of our body to light and darkness. A disturbed circadian rhythm can easily be demonstrated using jetlag as an example. It causes the person to have disturbed sleep and wake time, even in the long run.
Do I have everybody’s attention now? Okay, let’s drive a little further.
Insomnia is a word thrown around a lot, but we rarely understand the severity of it. Insomnia is defined as waking up prematurely, without having completed restful sleep, at least three times a week, sequentially for a minimum of three months. A person suffering from insomnia displays consistent tiredness, irritability, short attention spans, and troubles remembering.
I’m sure the next episode is looking much less lucrative right now. Let me change your mind completely.
We all knew this was coming. Various studies have linked having irregular sleep cycles to increased depression levels. This is yet again another word tossed around a little too much. Depression is a continued low mood and loss of interest in activities that the person earlier took interest in. This is also linked to reduced energy levels, isolation and has more grim impacts on it.
Good job on closing the Netflix window, ladies and gentleman!
Fixing your sleep cycle
Now that we have understood the gravity of the situation, I know, there must be unrest, thinking about what could happen. Let us help you with that now, shall we?
Here are a few tips that would help you to get better sleep and improve your sleep cycle. And no, I won’t ask you to count sheep.
1. Start off small
Let’s face it, you sleeping at 4 AM cannot be suddenly changed to you sleeping at 11 PM. Start off really small, maybe by iterations of 30 minutes at a time. In effect, if you currently sleep at say 2 AM, start today by intending to sleep half an hour earlier, i.e. 1:30 AM. Continue doing so for say 3 days, let your body adapt to the change.
The goal, however, should be clear. The end goal is to sleep at a more appropriate time. Set that time for yourself and continue this iterative process until you reach that goal.
2. Make it cold
All those cozy blankets that you have, are more of a detriment to your sleep than you think unless you live in Alaska, well then get some more for yourself. Studies suggest that cooler temperatures assist your body in falling asleep and getting better sleep.
3. Lights out
No, I’m not talking about watching that horrifying movie before going to bed. Make your room as dark as it can be. If it is not feasible to turn the lights off, use an eye mask. Darkness while falling asleep causes the secretion of melatonin. Higher the melatonin secretion, the more Z’s you catch.
4. Turn that damn phone off!
I know I sound like your mother right now, but she’s not wrong, you know. The screens of our smart devices emit blue light, which has been proven to mess with our eyesight. This is also a key cause of us getting in bad sleep on a regular basis.
As a rule of thumb, one should refrain from using any screen an hour before hitting the hay. However, if that is not possible, use blue light filtering/night light features on your devices.
Imagine this, you’re watching a news debate right before you go to sleep. More often than not, you’re going to find one statement made during the debate that would hurt you so deeply that you’re going to constantly try and find a counter to it, even when you weren’t part of the debate.
The metaphor above is to symbolize that try and do something calming before turning in. Read a good book, meditate, drink some chamomile tea, or something exotic like that. Don’t read the crime statistics in the newspaper.
Getting good slumber has become more of an aspiration these days. I hope this assists some of you to fulfill this aspiration of yours!