Our body is like a machine – it needs stability, continuity, and routine in order to work properly. The sleep schedule is one of those crucial things that can make your life easier, or quite the contrary – the hell. If you can’t manage to get up without tapping the snooze button a couple of times, or all those tricks like leaving the phone away from the bed, so you have to get out of it to stop the alarm from buzzing, you are in problem, and you need to fix your sleeping schedule.
The truth is, we cannot blame anyone else but ourselves for a problem like this. Most of us are not ready to call off the day in a moment when we should when our body sends us the clear signal that it was enough. We don’t want to miss one more episode of our favorite TV show, or anything that happened that day on our social networks. Because of that, we cannot fall asleep before two or three am, and then we are certainly not able to get up early in the morning for work.
If you recognize yourself among these words, know that it’s time to ask yourself this – how to fix my sleep schedule.
Keep reading to know more.
The Importance of a Stable Sleep Schedule
Our body clock has a huge impact on our life. According to the National Institutes of Health, it regulates our behavioral and mental changes as well as physical ones and impacts our body temperature, sleep patterns, our hormones, etc.
- If you wake up every day around the same time, and go to bed in the evening, again, at the same time, your circadian rhythm – the cycle of wakefulness and tiredness is functioning well. But if not, you need to do something about it. The well-balanced organism will make you wake up and fall asleep easily. It will help you to feel more awake and present during the day, naturally, and more tired during the night, which will lead to good rest.
But have in mind that people are different, and not everybody’s body clock is the same. So you need to listen to your own impulses and work with them. It’s proven that genetics influences sleep habits, but our body clock is mostly set up by a combination of internal causes like hormones and neurotransmitters, external ones, like a sunrise, sunset and temperature, and our behavior, like activity level and sleep delaying.
Why Our Sleep Schedules Get Off Track
Most of our biological functions are determined and controlled by our very own internal body clock. We are talking about the 24-hours period that repeats and alarms us when it’s time for sleep, eat, digest the food, etc. It’s important to know that there are two things that influence this “mechanism“:
- our internal memory that’s genetically programmed
- light and darkness set by our environment
There is a reason we should listen to our body, and obey its rules because if we overstep the initial clues, we will disrupt the work of the entire organism. The binge-watching TV shows or not going to bed at an appropriate time will confuse our body clock and derange our sleeping schedule completely.
This will lead to not being able to function well during the day, so it’s crucial to reset the internal clock with a few tips we are offering below.
10 Tips to Reset Your Sleep Schedule
Stick to the routine
You need to establish the exact time you will go to bed each night, and the precise time you will wake up in the morning. This one is probably the hardest thing you will have to implement in order to make your sleep cycle normal again. It would be good to have some kind of routine before bed, like washing your face, putting on your pajamas, or brushing your teeth. It will signal the brain that you are ready to go to the realm of dreams. So, that’s the first answer to the question – how to fix your sleep schedule.
Say no to Screen Time
Modern-day life includes a lot of screens. We have a habit of getting cozy on our sofa in the evenings and browse through emails, watch TV, or scroll our Instagram feed for hours, believing that’s a relaxing thing that will ease us into sleep. But the blue light emitted from the screens will reduce the secretion of melatonin, and prevent you from having a good night’s rest. So, experts are suggesting eliminating these kinds of lights a couple of hours before bed, and even better, to keep them away from your bedroom.
Make Mornings Bright
Besides having a quality mattress that will provide you with an excellent surface to rest on during the night, it would be great to create good surroundings for the start of the day. That means a bright room that will help your brain detects it is time to wake up. If you cannot do it properly, because of the position of your house, for example, or the fact you have a small bedroom window, make sure to go to the source of the light right after you get out of the bed.
Correct your Diet
It’s super important to go to bed without heavy feeling in your belly, in order to prevent waking up during the night or sleeping restlessly. So, avoid having large meals right before bedtime because of acid reflux and heartburn, which will make you regret having it. But on the other hand, it’s not a great solution to go to sleep with an empty stomach too. If you have to, if your belly screams for food, take some light snack that’s low on sugar and high in protein – it will make you feel good and full, but without that bad sensation that comes afterward.
If you’re having a hard time getting to sleep, it’s probably because of the fact you messed up your sleeping schedule, but also, it might be that you are just not tired enough. So it would be excellent to include some exercise program in your daily routine to make your body exhausted. But, avoid doing the workouts late in the evening, because the adrenalin it could provoke will make you extra alert. You can practice yoga, or some stretching session right before bed if you feel you have to do something, that it will make you calm and peaceful.
Most people practice having a cup of coffee right after they get up, and that’s okay – the caffeine that it contains will cause you to be wide awake. You can drink the beverages based on it during the day too, but if you have trouble getting to sleep, you need to avoid those six hours before you’re planning to go to bed. That includes alcohol and soda drinks.
The truth is that not everybody reacts the same, so this is just a suggestion. If you believe consuming those kinds of liquids will not cause you to have a restless night, go on and enjoy them.
Establish Short Naps
Many experts are saying the naps are a trap that will lead to a sleep disorder, and that we should avoid them entirely. But others believe the short naps, those that last 20 to 30 minutes, can bring us nothing than benefits. If we lay down in the afternoon and sleep for that period of time, we will be refreshed, but our body won’t become confused about when is the right time for bed later that day. Those long naps are problematic because they give the brain a signal that the sleeping period is over, which will lead to troubles in the night.
Right Sleep Aid
If you are going through some kind of a stressful situation, it’s quite okay you are using prescription sleeping pills to manage to fall asleep. But be careful, don’t let that become one of your habits. When you are trying to reset your internal clock, those kinds of medications can be very harmful and addictive. Instead of using them, try some natural options, like melatonin – it will help you get the much-needed rest, and it’s a natural supplement that can not cause any damage, unlike pharmaceuticals created out from foreign chemicals. Also, some types of mattresses are created to be very soothing and cozy, so if you, in general, have a problem with falling asleep, purchasing one of those might be helpful too.
Adjust to New Time Zone
If you ever wonder why do we yawn in the middle of the day when we travel somewhere, the answer is a different time zone. When you plan to go to the same far destination, it would be great to prepare yourself for a different time schedule, including the sleep period. That way, you won’t need the extra time to adapt.
If you are going to a place that is four hours ahead of yours, all you have to do is to start the new routine four days before the trip. Go each night one hour earlier in bed than usual. When the time for the journey comes, you will be ready.
It’s great if you don’t have to work different shifts so you can establish a consistent schedule regarding all important things like the time you wake up, eat, and go to bed. In that case, make sure to stick to your patterns. But if you are obligated to go to your job one day in the morning and other in the afternoon, or to take a graveyard shift, try walking home afterward with sunglasses on. That will help your eyes get used to the darker environment and make your transition to the bedroom more natural.
If you can, take a few days off, find someplace nice and go camping. You will feel great when you leave your everyday life filled with work, constant calls, stress, screens, and go spend some time in nature. The new dynamic that includes waking up with the sun and the birds and going to sleep with the first dark will reset your biological clock and make it easier to establish new healthy routines when you get back home.
Practice Healthy Sleep
In order to succeed in making changes in your sleep schedule, and overall restarting your body clock, you need to take baby steps, create new routines, and stay on the path without any exception.
Create the Best Sleep Schedule for Yourself
It’s essential to make this your priority for some time. Go to bed each night at the same time. There cannot be a late night with friends, in front of a TV, or your computer. Remember, why are you doing this! Also, set the alarm to wake you up always at the same hour.
There cannot be compromises, no staying up longer during weekends, and staying some extra time in bed because it’s Sunday.
Create a Nighttime Routine
It will be super hard just to stop doing whatever you were doing, go to bed, and instantly fall asleep. You need some time that will lead to bed rest properly. So go take a long shower, do all your beauty rituals, practice yoga, or lay down and read a book. That should help.
Create an Ideal Sleeping Environment
First of all, you need to avoid using electronics, at least one hour before going to bed. But besides that, you should make your room a pleasant space for relaxation. Set the temperature between 60 and 68 degrees, make sure the air is fresh, and there are no light distractions.
We cannot guarantee these things will help you reestablish your sleeping routine, but each thing we suggested is based on experience from people with the same problem. You need to relax, try not stressing about the lack of sleep you are having, and stay persistent. It may need some time, after all. Each organism is different, there are no strict rules here. Most experts predict it will need at least two weeks, and maybe even two months for your body to reprogram itself, it’s not a simple procedure. But when you come to that point, and you create your new healthy routine, make sure to stick to it like your life depends on it. Follow out suggestions on how to fix a sleep schedule, and you will be just fine.