You're always tired because you created jet lag

Marc Lou
Marc Lou June 29th, 2022 2 min
A tired guy holding his face to stay awake

You don’t need to cross timezones to experience the jet lag disorder, an irregular sleep schedule will do just fine.

Difficulty concentrating and not falling asleep at night indicate your body's internal clock is out of sync with your environment.

Luckily, this sleeping disorder is temporary and can be fixed in a few days.

  1. 1. Don’t fool your sleeping program
  2. 2. 4 tips to sleep better

Don’t fool your sleeping program

The sleep-wake cycle of many living organisms (including us, humans) is regulated by a natural, internal process called the circadian rhythm.

Circadian Rythm demo

Simply put, there is a program inside of us that executes rules based on the time of the day.

morningwake up human
afternoonincrease human blood pressure
nightmake human sleep

The inner program repeats every 24 hours. So why do we adjust to the local time when traveling?

External cues can train and reset the cycle. They are called  zeitgebers—German for 'time givers'.
For instance, seeing a bright light sends a message “yo, it’s daytime, run [wake up human]”.

It’s easy to fool your inner program with technology (artificial light, smartphones, heaters, AC).
You can easily recreate daytime conditions at 2 AM—warm temperature and bright light.

Hong Kong by night with lots of bright light

Repeated deceived events will adjust your inner program to the wrong local environment—the one you created artificially.
Without a proper sleep schedule, you might fall asleep during the daytime, and find it hard to doze off at night.

4 tips to sleep better

🕯 Dim lights before bed

Light is one of the strongest stimuli that adjusts your sleeping program. Being in a bright environment tells your inner clock it’s daytime—precluding the secretion of melatonin (the hormone that helps to fall asleep)

Dim lights and avoid screen time about 1 hour before bedtime to start falling asleep.

🐔 Go to bed and wake up at the same time

Your inner program repeats every 24 hours. When your sleeping schedule is scattered, the program is disrupted. You have difficulty falling asleep and feel sleepy during the daytime.

Develop a consistent bedtime routine to fall asleep easily and wake up energized.

🙈 Sleep in a dark room

Exposure to light during nighttime mess up the naturally programmed increase of melatonin levels which slows down the body's natural progression to sleep.

Use black-out curtains or a blindfold to maximize your sleep recovery.

🌅 Get natural sunlight when you wake up

Your inner program is also really active during the daytime: increases alertness, rises blood pressure, produces hormones, etc...

Without getting natural sunlight in the morning, you might feel tired and sleepy when you make up.

Open the curtains and go get some light! It will do just as fine as a coffee ☕️

Final thoughts

Respecting your natural inner clock is the key to being energized during the day and feeling sleepy in your bed.

Fixing your sleeping schedule can be done in a few days if you are consistent.

If you’re planning to improve your sleep but you’re not sure you can stick to it, try Habits Garden for free—a gamified habit tracker to help you achieve your goals.

Until next time, ping me on Twitter.

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"The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep."