No matter what diet and exercise trends are happening in the world at a given time, one thing that is irrefutable is the importance of sleep. Our bodies depend on sleep in order to restore and recover from our busy lives. Research shows that people who establish a normal sleep routine (i.e. going to bed and waking up at the same times every day) live healthier, happier lives and drastically reduce their risk for various diseases. This is because our bodies have a natural clock called a circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are the cycles in the body that fluctuate over a 24- hour period. When there is an extended disruption between our daily routine and our circadian rhythm it can increase the risk for various diseases. By waking up and going to sleep at the same times each day we can reinforce our body’s natural rhythm leading to a better life. We can see benefits including better digestion, faster metabolism, more productivity, stronger immunity, emotional stability, and decreased risks of diabetes and heart disease. Studies have shown that people who get enough sleep and have a regular sleep schedule are more likely to be financially satisfied, happier personal lives, and better work-life balance. This is because a regular sleep schedule gives the body the opportunity it needs to recover and recharge, leaving you feeling fresh and ready to go in the morning.
To adopt this habit yourself, consider setting not just an alarm to wake up, but also an alarm to go to bed each night. Another trick that happiness guru Gretchen Rubin suggests is to get yourself ready for bed much earlier than you plan to go to bed. This way, avoiding the daunting tasks of brushing your teeth, washing your face, and putting on your pajamas when you’re tired won’t cause you to convince yourself to watch “just one more episode” instead. And remember, you’re probably not going to notice a difference in one night. Challenge yourself to adopt this habit for at least two weeks and be mindful of the changes that you see over time.