The ideal sleep rhythm

A regular sleep rhythm promotes healthy sleep and prevents sleep disorders. Time changes, night work or long-distance travel can disrupt sleep patterns and throw your body clock out of balance. Find your ideal sleep routine now and learn which tips you can use to support a healthy sleep rhythm.

Table of contents

  1. The importance of regular sleep
  2. The perfect sleep rhythm
  3. Disturbances of the sleep rhythm
    1. Time change
    2. Long-distance travel
    3. Shift work
  4. Conclusion

    So important is regular sleep

    Restful sleep is essential for body and mind. A fixed sleep rhythm and regular sleeping times are important prerequisites for a restful night and promote our sleep quite significantly. If you go to bed and get up at similar times over a long period of time, you will find it easier to fall asleep and prevent sleep disorders. This is because regular sleeping times correspond to our natural circadian rhythm and ensure healthy functioning of the body. The famous internal clock is based on the natural daily routine and ensures, among other things, through the regulation of the hormones cortisol and melatonin, that we tire in the evening, fall asleep and wake up again in the morning.

    Schlaf-Wach-Rhythmus / Cortisol-Melatonin-Haushalt

    What time we go to bed at night and what time we get up in the morning also determines the quality of our sleep and is particularly influenced by our job, family life or our habits. For many people, this results in regular sleeping times, at least during the week. The individually perfect sleeping time and under which circumstances we really sleep well varies from person to person and basically depends on various factors - among others, which sleep and chronotype we belong to and which social or professional daily structure we follow.

    In order to promote sleep in the best possible way, it is important to establish a regular sleep rhythm and to adapt it as well as possible to personal needs.

    The perfect sleep rhythm

    How much sleep do I need and what type of sleeper am I?

    Are you more of a short or long sleeper? The recommended amount of sleep for adults is generally between seven and eight hours per night. While short sleepers can start the day refreshed after only five to seven hours of sleep, long sleepers need eight to nine hours of sleep. In order to be able to choose your sleeping times sensibly and to get enough sleep every night, it is important to know how much sleep you need. Basically, if you feel awake and rested in the morning and can concentrate on your work during the day, even if you are sitting down for long periods of time, you have had enough sleep.

    When do I sleep best or which chronotype am I?

    Our chronotype decides at what time we sleep and wake up best. Therefore, it is advisable to adjust your sleeping time to a time when our natural tiredness occurs and to set your alarm clock in the morning to a time when we wake up and become active anyway. So, if you're a lark, you should tend to go to bed earlier and take advantage of your morning performance abilities with an early start to the day, while late types (owls) should savor the energy in the evening and sleep a little longer in the morning. Because social or work obligations often force you to get up early, the Owl type is particularly likely to suffer from fatigue or insomnia, having trouble falling asleep early in the evening and missing out on important hours of sleep in the morning.

    Your ideal sleeping time

    If you know when and how much you optimally sleep, you can determine a rough sleep period and integrate it firmly into your daily structure. For example, if you are a short sleeper who needs about 7 hours of sleep, and you usually get out of bed quickly in the morning and have to get up at 6 a.m., you should regularly go to bed at 11 p.m. at the latest.

    Disturbances of the sleep rhythm

    Minor irregularities, such as a short night or sleeping in on the weekend, only affect our sleep patterns in the short term and have little to no impact on sleep quality. What is important is that we otherwise get enough sleep on a regular basis and give in to the natural pressure to sleep, because tiredness is an important endogenous signal that the body and mind need to sleep and recover.

    Schlafstörungen durch Zeitumstellung, Schichtarbeit, Jetlag

    Time changes, long-distance travel or shift work, on the other hand, can have an intensive or permanent effect on the sleep rhythm and have a negative impact on sleep, our performance and health. If the internal clock gets out of sync, we quickly suffer from difficulties falling asleep, problems sleeping through the night and states of overtiredness, which not only make us unfocused, irritable or listless, but also damage our health in the long term. The body needs some time to get used to the new circumstances and to reorient itself. So how can we react when we are forced to adjust our own sleep rhythm?

    Time change

    The time change and the switch between summer and winter time throw the internal clock out of balance. When the clock is set back or forward, the body has to slowly adjust and adapt, which is a strain for many people and can lead to tiredness, sleep disturbances, concentration problems and depressive moods, especially in the first few days after the change.

    It is currently happening again: in the night from Saturday to Sunday, the clocks are turned back from 3 to 2 o'clock, so that it gets light earlier in the morning and darker faster in the evening! And although we gain a whole hour during the night and can therefore sleep "longer" in principle, the change to winter time also has a mini-jetlag effect on our bodies.

    Tageslicht am Morgen, Zeitumstellung, früh aufwachen

    Tip 1:Adjust gradually
    When changing to winter time, we tend to wake up unusually early in the morning and at the same time get tired earlier in the evening. Therefore, try to go to bed a quarter of an hour later in the days before the change so that your body can adjust slowly and does not have to compensate for a whole hour from one day to the next.

    Tip 2:Fill up on daylight
    Daylight is the external clock for our inner clock. Therefore, try to consume extra daylight on the day of the changeover to help your body adjust. In addition, daylight also functions as a natural alarm clock, which you should use on the day of the changeover to get up with the new time - even if that means starting the day a little earlier than usual.

    Tip 3:Activity and exercise during the day
    Getting plenty of exercise in the fresh air gets your circulation going and boosts your metabolism, hormone production and other important bodily functions. In this way you can increase the natural sleep pressure in the evening and support falling asleep and a restful sleep through.

    Long-distance travel & jet lag

    The famous jet lag occurs when we travel through different time zones within a few hours and find ourselves in a completely different time of day when we arrive. Our body then initially still follows the usual sleep rhythm and needs some time to adjust. As a result of jet lag, we usually find it difficult to fall asleep in the evening or wake up particularly early in the morning and suffer from pronounced tiredness, exhaustion or mood swings during the day.

    You can also find thebest tips against jet lag in our sleep magazine.

    Shift work

    Shift workers often work at times when the organism is programmed to sleep, and in turn have to sleep when the body and mind have adjusted to being awake. This creates a constant mismatch between the internal and external clocks, the negative effects of which, however, are not primarily caused by the altered sleeping and waking times, but by the frequent changes.

    Helpful tips on how to ensure healthy sleep despite shift changes and night work can be found in this article.

    Conclusion

    • A fixed sleep rhythm and regular sleeping times are important prerequisites for a restful night and promote our sleep.
    • Time changes, long-distance travel or shift work, on the other hand, can influence the sleep rhythm intensively or permanently and have a negative effect on sleep, our performance and health.

    Best wishes and see you soon!

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