According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults don’t get the sleep they need. There are countless reasons why sleep is interrupted, from genetics and stress to environmental factors. Though people might try everything from medication to meditation to try to get enough sleep, going back to nature can make a big difference. There’s an overlap between biomimicry and sleep that not everyone realizes until they take a step back and think about how nature and the body go hand-in-hand. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, applying the principles of biomimicry can help by structuring your sleep patterns around natural processes. You can fall asleep easier and experience nights of deeper sleep.
Circadian rhythms use your body’s internal clock to carry out different necessary functions throughout the day – including sleeping. The sleep-wake cycle is a crucial part of your circadian rhythms. Unfortunately, so many things can throw off that cycle, including:
Your circadian rhythms can change slightly as you age. If you ever feel tired in the middle of the day, that’s normal for adults. But, if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, you should consider changing certain habits.
Studies have shown that light and sunsets can impact your circadian rhythms. When seasons change, you may need to adjust your routine to keep your rhythms stable.
Expose yourself to light as much as possible in the morning. In the evening, avoid too much screen time. Most electronic devices emit something called blue light, which can stimulate your brain and make it difficult to fall asleep. On the other hand, some studies have shown that red light can increase the natural production of melatonin in the body, making it easier to sleep. Choosing the “right light” can make a big difference, especially if you aren’t able to get a lot of natural light exposure during the day.
Having a regular sleep/wake schedule can benefit your circadian rhythms and make it easier to fall asleep when you want. Improving your sleep hygiene has a lot to do with light and color, but it also includes creating a routine that works for you. Your sleep routine should include things like:
Opening up your curtains when you first wake up can also be a part of your sleep routine. It will allow as much natural light as possible to come in, telling your body it’s time to wake and start the day. If you can enjoy your first cup of coffee on the porch or sitting outside, you’ll become even more alert and start your day with the stress-reducing benefits of being in nature.
The benefits of a sleep schedule go far beyond just getting enough rest. You can improve your focus, reduce negative mental health symptoms, and even help to regulate your hormones naturally. That can lead to a boost in energy during the day. You’ll be less likely to rest or take a nap, so you can keep your circadian rhythms where they need to be for a healthy sleep-wake pattern.
Creating an ideal environment for sleeping is another way to utilize the principles of biomimicry. Temperature, sights, sounds, and smells can all impact the way you sleep. The more you can implement calming, natural solutions, the better.
For example, cooler air can help you sleep better. If you live in a cooler climate or it just happens to be a brisk night, crack open the window and allow your core temperature to drop faster, making you feel drowsy and ready for bed. Hot, humid air often makes it difficult to sleep. Even if you have to utilize the help of a fan or air conditioning, it’s better than tossing and turning in a stuffy room.
Certain essential oils can also help you get a better night’s sleep. Lavender, for example, calms the nervous system and makes it easier to fall asleep quickly.
By implementing natural elements into your sleep habits, you can “recalibrate” your circadian rhythms into a healthy state, fixing the cycle that helps you sleep at night and feel more alert during the day.
If you regularly have trouble sleeping, turn to nature and what your mind and body are meant to do. Sometimes, it just takes a few adjustments to get back there. Once you do, however, you’ll quickly see that the principles of biomimicry can be just as effective as any sleeping pill – with no negative side effects to worry about.
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