Sleep & Wellness, Sleep & Wellness

Circadian Rhythm: What is it? And How to Reset It with Dr. Lindsay Browning

13 January 2023
Circadian Rhythm: Vispring Dr. Lindsay Browning

What is your circadian rhythm?

Circadian rhythm is the name given to your body’s 24-hour internal clock, controlling your body’s sleep-wake cycle. If you find yourself frequently pulling all-nighters, experiencing jetlag, or working long hours, your internal clock might be off. While everyone’s internal clock varies, you might be an early riser, a night owl, or somewhere in between; if you’re feeling tired and think your internal clock might be off, can you reset your circadian rhythm? This week, we hear from Sleep Expert Dr. Lindsay Browning.

It’s the start of 2023, and health and well-being have never been so important and at the forefront of many of our minds. Our health, well-being, and happiness depend on many factors; however, ensuring you focus on getting good sleep should be at the top of your priorities.


Can you Reset Your Circadian Rhythm?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to change your circadian rhythm. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to adapt to a new time zone when you travel to another country. If you have experienced jetlag for the first few days of your holiday but later found it easier to go to bed and get up at the new time, you are changing your circadian rhythm. If your circadian rhythm is not helping you feel sleepy or awake at the right times, you might want to do some things to help change it.

How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm?


When and how much light exposure you get at that time is the primary way of adjusting your circadian rhythm. In addition to light exposure, eating, exercising, and room temperature can also affect our circadian rhythm.

Generally speaking, if we get bright sunshine exposure soon after waking, this will help us to wake up more easily and fall asleep more quickly when the evening comes. Also, if you get bright light exposure later in the day, this can help delay your feeling sleepy – helping you avoid that unintentional evening cat-nap on the sofa.

If you have been staying up late and sleeping in but want to reset your circadian rhythm so that you fall asleep and wake up earlier, it is a good idea to get bright light exposure as soon as you wake up. Open your curtains as soon as you wake up and go for a morning walk before breakfast. If the sun is not yet up, you could even use a bright light box to simulate daylight as you get dressed (note that bright light boxes are not suitable for everyone, so check that it is right for you). Plus, try to reduce your light exposure in the evenings by dimming the lights and enabling night mode on your devices since bright light exposure in the evening will just keep you awake for longer. Also, if you want to move your circadian rhythm earlier, try to ensure that you eat breakfast soon after waking up and don’t eat dinner too late. Morning exercise can also help.

Don’t open your curtains too early if you have been waking up too early and falling asleep earlier than you would like. Try to delay getting bright light exposure until a little later in the day. Plus, try to have breakfast a little later and dinner later (if you have got into the habit of eating early). Try to go for a walk outside after lunch or even later in the afternoon to help your body feel more awake later in the day. Also, not exercising in the morning but instead doing some late afternoon or even early evening exercise can help you to stay awake a little longer.


Lastly, if you want to reset your circadian rhythm, it is important to have a set bedtime and waketime and to stick to it seven days a week. If you still allow yourself to sleep in at the weekend or go to bed too early, you will undo all the good work you have put in.


Being entirely comfortable in your bedroom is down to your personal choices, but the need for a comfortable bed is universal, explore our full collection of mattresses here.

Why does it matter?

Our circadian rhythm controls not only when we feel sleepy and awake but also how efficiently we digest food when we produce our immune system and several other important hormones. Trying to stay awake when our circadian rhythm thinks we should be asleep can cause practical problems – like increased risk of road accidents and health issues.


How to know when it’s time for a reset?

If you have been staying up too late and then sleeping in at the weekends, you might struggle to fall asleep early enough for your early Monday morning alarm clock. In this case, you might want to take action to reset your circadian rhythm. Another common issue is that people get into a pattern of waking up much too early, unable to fall back to sleep, but falling asleep in front of the TV at 8 or 9 pm. In this instance, you might also want to take steps to reset your circadian rhythm so that you can stay awake in the evening until later and then sleep in until your morning alarm clock instead of being awake from 4 am.


Explore Vispring’s full mattress collection to find your perfect bed and get a headstart on the best night’s sleep here.