Time Planning for Better Sleep (Part 1)

This is the first part of a two-part series on how you can use time planning and sleep to help you be the best you that you can be.

We know that optimum quality and quantity of sleep determines how productive your day is. Did you know that how you plan and execute your day, will determine how well you sleep? And the better you sleep, the more productive your day will be.

Let us just rewind a bit: It is a bold statement. But if we think about it, it makes perfect sense. During thousands of years, our bodies have evolved to follow a natural 24-hour light/dark cycle. Humans are designed to naturally fall asleep when it becomes dark and naturally wake up when the sun rises. We can see this as our natural, built-in master clock which we call our circadian rhythm. If we want to be more productive, we have to keep our circadian rhythm in mind. Our circadian rhythm is a natural process inside our bodies that regulates our sleep/wake cycle. The circadian rhythm repeats or resets roughly every 24 hours and is regulated by sunlight.

Melatonin is an important neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our sleep/wake cycle, immune system and metabolism. However, modern-day living and artificial lighting interfere with our normal circadian rhythm. It suppresses the normal and natural secretion of melatonin, causing our natural “master clock” to be confused and in turn increase the risk of developing sleep-related problems like insomnia and circadian rhythm sleep disorders. It can also increase the risk of developing metabolic disorders such as sugar problems and obesity[1].

By planning your day and by incorporating practical action steps, you can increase your drive to sleep, increase natural melatonin release and thereby increase your quality of sleep. By increasing your quality of sleep, you increase your productivity and you build a stronger immune system.

In the next article, Part 2, we will investigate ways to plan your day.

[1] Zelinski et al (March 2014). “The trouble with circadian clock dysfunction: multiple deleterious effects on the brain and body”. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 40 (40): 80–101