Every list of tips and every piece of advice Mick found on sleeping better mentioned something about having good sleep hygiene: having a regular bedtime and getting up at the same time every morning. Supposedly, the tips argued, this keeps your body in its natural sleep cycle which based on circadian rhythms.
Mick, an accountant, didn’t believe it for a second. He was a busy man, often crunching numbers late into the night. Exhausted after a hectic week, he often sleeps all weekend. Sure, nights when he didn’t have to work late Mick could sleep until 3 or 4, and he rarely wanted to get out of bed in the mornings. But Mick wasn’t concerned. It was his system, and he liked it.
Bridget, Mick’s wife, was of a different mind on the subject. Bridget often argued with her husband about his bizarre sleeping patterns. It eventually got so bad that Bridget threatened to leave Mick. In a last ditch effort to save his marriage, Mick agreed to start sleeping on a normal schedule.
The couple had a tough time at first. Mick tossed and turned all night which kept Bridget awake. As an elementary school teacher, she had to get up extra early. They were deeply in love and committed to making the marriage work out, so they were willing to wait things out.
Eventually, things got easier. Mick actually began falling asleep at 11 pm, and rising easily with his wife the following morning at 7:30 am. Mick was a changed man, full of vigor. He crunched numbers like no one else, creating budgets unlike anyone had ever seen, and tax returns that were works of art.
Mick was at last listening to his body. Instead of chugging down pots of coffee to stay awake all night, he was going to bed when he felt tired. Circadian rhythms, the very thing Mick so quickly dismissed as quackery, keep his body regulated and in harmony with environmental changes like light and dark. Mick now had a regular sleep schedule, now had good sleep hygiene. And his circadian rhythm, his body’s internal clock, was able to stay in time.
Things are going pretty good for Mick and Bridget, and it’s all thanks to our body’s natural circadian rhythms.