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How to Reset Your Internal Sleep Clock

Young man peacefully sleeping

kali9/iStock

In this Article:

  • Disrupted sleep can mess with your physical and mental well-being.
  • Optimizing your sleep space and making your bedroom tech-free can help you sleep better.
  • Your daily fitness and eating routines impacts your sleep patterns.

Your body runs on a daily, internal clock called the circadian clock. This clock controls your body’s sleep cycles.

Sometimes your internal clock can get thrown off because of shift work, jet lag, or even springing forward for daylight savings time. This can mess with your sleep patterns, leaving you feeling off balance and tired.

To reset your internal clock and catch more sleep, here are a few tips to try:

  • Optimize your sleep space. You can do this by making the room dark, keeping your bedroom cool, and choosing comfortable bedding and sleepwear.
  • Block out noise. Either wear earplugs or listen to white noise. White noise can be a fan or soothing sounds like the rain or an ocean.
  • Watch what you eat and when. Your internal clock also controls your metabolism, so it’s important to eat meals at consistent times throughout the day. You should avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine or consuming sugar at least four hours before bedtime.
  • Ban electronics in the bedroom. Make your bedroom a technology-free zone—no tablets, laptops, video games, or TV. If you use your smartphone as your alarm clock, set it to ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode before you climb into bed and lay it facedown.
  • Play hard, sleep hard. Exercising for 10-15 minutes before work in the morning can make a difference in your sleep pattern later. No time for the gym? No problem! Guard Your Health has you covered with workout routines that can be done anytime, anywhere such as our Drill Deck or #WarriorReady Workout videos.
  • Get plenty of sunshine. Being outside or at least opening the shades during the day not only boosts your mood but helps your internal clock stay on track.
  • Don’t sleep with your pets. Animals have their own sleep-wake cycle. Consider putting your pet in another room before you go to bed. You could crate your dog or encourage the cat to sleep in another room in the house.

If you’re still not getting the proper amount of sleep (seven to eight hours in a 24-hour period), we encourage you to talk to your Medical Readiness NCO or medical health professional for advice on how to reset your internal clock.

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