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Reset Your Body and Get the Quality Sleep You Need

Whether your mattress is old and lumpy, you work in bed, drive a freight trailer 16 hours a day, or have insomnia, sometimes even the best custom-made mattress doesn’t fix your sleep. And sleep is integral to everything – not just your mood and tiredness, but your body’s systems, your metabolism, your cognitive abilities, etc.

Deep sleep is the real thing we need to be worried about; not getting enough deep-stage sleep in your nightly cycle can have catastrophic (and permanent) effects on your quality of life. Things like blue light, a lack of melatonin, pain syndromes, and caffeine too late in the day all mess with our circadian rhythm. And the way our culture works on monophasic sleep is also an issue; historically, people slept in 2 4-ish hour chunks.

Then there’s Daylight Savings, which will hopefully be a thing of the past pretty soon. A 60-minute change in your daily sleep-wake cycle might not seem like a lot, but it can trigger depression and insomnia. As well, hospitals routinely see more heart attacks, more mood disorders, more car accidents, and more strokes when we’re on Daylight Savings Time. Humans were never meant for this kind of life, but here we are.

As a custom mattress-maker, sleep is our business. And just as much as we offer bespoke mattresses tailored to any sleep space and any person, we want our customers to be able to optimize their Custom Mattress Factory experience. What good is a custom bed if you can’t sleep? To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the most effective ways to reset your body’s clock to get the sleep you need on the handmade mattress you deserve:

10 Ways to Hack Your Body’s Sleep-Wake Cycle

1. Check for circadian rhythm disorders.

Circadian rhythm [sleep] disorders are a subset of sleep disorders that describe people whose bodies aren’t able to sync up to the day/night cycle. These aren’t like jet lag; they’re chronic and have real effects on your health. Many of these are caused by lifestyle and societal expectations, but circadian rhythm disorders can also be caused by illness and neurological damage.

  • Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome: falling asleep 2-3hrs earlier than expected and waking up 2-3hrs before expected (ex. sleeping at 6pm and waking at 3am)

  • Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome: falling asleep 2-3hrs later than expected and having serious trouble waking up in the early morning (ex. falling asleep at 1am and waking at 12pm)

  • Shift Work Sleep Disorder: sleep disruptions resulting from night shift, rotating or changing shift schedules, where your sleep-wake cycle is in opposition to your work-home schedule

  • Irregular Sleep-Wake Rhythm Disorder: cycling through sleep at inappropriate times of the day and night (ex. sleeping in a series of naps over a 24hr period)

  • Non-24-Hour-Sleep-Wake Disorder: the body’s clock isn’t on a 24hr cycle, so your day-night schedule repeatedly disturbs your sleep-wake cycle.

2. Up your melatonin and calcium intake.

Your body already makes melatonin – it’s the hormone that tells your body it’s time to sleep, increasing sharply when it gets dark. A melatonin supplement can help encourage your body to fall asleep when you need it to.

Calcium is directly involved in our body’s sleeping processes; medical researchers have observed increases in blood calcium levels during deep sleep and REM. Calcium deficiencies can cause symptoms of insomnia or a circadian rhythm disorder.

3. Keep a consistent schedule.

The more you can physically go to bed at night and get out of bed in the morning at the same times each day, the easier it is to change your sleep schedule to get better sleep.

4. Take advantage of the morning light.

Vitamin D doesn’t just help with your mood; it gives you energy. Sunlight tells your body it’s time to be awake. If you’re having trouble waking up early and feeling sluggish, go outside. Fresh air and sunlight will speed the transition from asleep to awake and help your body correct its wake up time.

5. Limit screen time before bed.

Studies show that blue light can disrupt your body’s melatonin production. Plus, screens are stimulating. Don’t be on your phone, play video games or watch TV late at night; it tells your body you’re supposed to be awake.

6. Chill out on late-night eating.

Try to stop eating about 3 hours before bedtime. Late night binges are directly linked to sleep-wake disorders, and are also risk factors for heart disease and obesity.

7. Consider alternate alarms.

Maybe you’re too used to ignoring your alarm clock or turning your phone over to stop your alarm. Try alternative alarms. Light alarms repeatedly expose you to periods of light in the morning to ease your body into waking.

If you have a smart watch or fitness watch, try a vibration alarm; it’s gentle, silent, but wakes you up pretty quickly. It’s a great alternative alarm for couples who work on different shifts and go to bed and get up at different times. Because it’s not light or noise, you don’t disrupt your partner’s circadian rhythm when you get up way earlier than them.

8. Eat well and exercise at the right times.

A healthy diet is the key to pretty much everything when we’re talking about our health, and sleep is no different. Nutrient-dense foods are the fuel that help your bodily systems perform properly and in-tandem. They’re how we get the nutrients we need for balanced sleep, like potassium, vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium.

Similarly, exercise, too, has a direct effect on sleep. Most people agree the best time to exercise is in the late afternoon; it releases endorphins and dopamine and gets rid of energy, making you less stressed but more tired when you lay down for bed at night.

9. Save most of your supplements for the morning.

Except for the ones that are to help you sleep, of course. If you take your vitamins and supplements when you go to bed, active-leaning ones can disrupt rest-leaning ones. You also gave your body something to process and then laid down for bed, disrupting its sleep-wake cycle. It’s best to save most of your supplements for mornings instead.

10. Keep any daily caffeine consumption to pre-3pm.

Believe it or not, caffeine affects your body for 4-5 hours after you intake it, even if you feel it’s worn off before that long. If you’re giving your body a wake-up drug at 5 or 6pm, you’re asking for a rough time falling asleep and staying asleep. We get the 2pm slump on a work day – get that coffee, just don’t wait 2 hours to drink it.

Sleep health is important! A custom made mattress is nothing if you’re tossing and turning at night (not because of the mattress, obviously). For more articles on sleep health and strange mattresses, check out Custom Mattress Factory’s blog.


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