MAKE YOUR LIFE REGULAR… as “clock work”

If you suffer from OVERSTRESS, you have disrupted the function of your Body Clock.

Re-setting your Body Clock is vital if you are to feel well, sleep soundly, and awake refreshed. Give yourself a definite wake up and sleep time. This sets a frame of reference for your Body Clock. It will take two or three weeks to synchronize your Body Clock to your schedule. So, stick to your schedule!

But what if I try to go to sleep at 10 p.m. and I can’t fall asleep? Or what if I fall asleep but keep waking up during the night?

Sleep difficulty is the hallmark of OVERSTRESS. When your Body Clock stops working, you may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Or conversely, you may feel sleepy all the time. Either symptom may be produced when the Body Clock stops working. It all depends on which “position” the Clock is in when it stops: wakefulness, or sleepiness.

So, do not expect to have your sleep problems go away until your Body Clock is working again. Go ahead and set yourself a reasonable wake up time and bed time. Do the best you can to stick to these times. As you lower your stress levels, your Body Clock will begin to work. It will then match its cycle of wakefulness and sleep to the times that you have set for it. Remember that this process will take at least three weeks, so stick firmly to your time schedule.

But what if I put myself to bed at my bed time, and I just lie there without falling asleep?

If, after 45 minutes, you have not fallen asleep, get up and read a book or do something around the house. Sooner or later, you will feel sleepy and fall asleep. Keep putting yourself to bed at your bed time every night. As you reduce your stress levels, your Body Clock will begin working. Your Body Clock will gradually match your chosen sleep schedule. In the meantime, be patient and work to reduce your stress levels as much as possible.

If you are OVERSTRESSED, you should avoid “shift work”. If you MUST do “shift work”, try and work at least three weeks at each shift before rotating to a new one. And always make sure the direction of shift rotation to is morning to evening to night to morning again.

All your body rhythms: temperature, stress-fighting hormone, sleep cycles are now out of synchronization with your local time zone. Now you are trying to go to sleep when your body is still awake, and trying to work when your body expects you to be in bed. It will take two or three weeks for your Body Clock to harmonize with your new surroundings. During that time it is not unusual to be fatigued and to feel “not with it”. We call this feeling “Jet Lag”.

If you are OVERSTRESSED, you should avoid inter-time zone traveling. But if you MUST change time zones, try to wait at least three weeks between trips. And when you do take that trip, and you arrive in a new time zone, it will be easier for you to adjust if you stay up later, rather than trying to force yourself to sleep when your body wants to be awake.

If you have difficulty sleeping, you may not be getting enough exercise. Thus your body may not feel tired. You do not need a lot of time to do this, try working out two to four times a week from twenty to thirty minutes each session. Nevertheless, if you feel you do not have time for this, you do not have to do whole sessions, try modifying your daily routine by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car further when you go to work so that you can walk, playing with your children, Staying active is the main goal. Avoid doing exercise during the evening, close to your bedtime as this will keep your body awake and may cause insomnia.

Avoid caffeine between the late afternoon and the time at which you go to bed, substitute tea or coffee with herbal teas and remember that even decaffeinated coffee contains some caffeine (sometimes even such small quantities can cause insomnia).

If You Work Indoors:

Your body Clock requires exposure to daylight during the day in order to remain synchronized with your local time zone. Normal fluorescent lighting does not have the same light spectrum as daylight, hence it will NOT help your Body Clock to properly set itself. If you are a person who arises when it is dark, works indoors all day, and goes home when it is dark, your Body Clock may become out of phase with the world around you – giving you a case of permanent “Jet Lag”. Because of this problem, manufacturers of fluorescent lights have begun producing “daylight spectrum” fluorescent lights. These lights will allow your Body Clock to synchronize itself with your work schedule.

If you work indoors, try to work by a window. If you cannot, then see if you can have “daylight spectrum” fluorescent light bulbs installed. It really helps.

As an alternative for people who never see the sun, one can sit facing 600 watts of daylight spectrum fluorescent lights, three feet in front of you, for one hour. Do this at the time that you wish your Body Clock to learn to wake you up. You may eat breakfast, read a book, or watch television, but the light must be facing you. (Caution is required with light therapy in people with manic depressive disorders, skin that is sensitive to light, or medical conditions that make the eyes vulnerable to light damage – consult your physician first.)

Note that persons living in northern climates lacking in sunshine may have the same problem of permanent “Jet Lag”. It is so common it has been named “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or “SAD” for short. For these people the above suggestion will be equally helpful.