Are you struggling with your sleeping pattern? Want to know how to fix your sleep schedule? Then this article is for you.
There is a reason we feel sleepy around the same time every night, and we usually wake up at the same time every morning.
Our bodies follow a consistent sleep pattern as long as we are not pulling all-nighters or changing time zones.
Every persona follows a different sleeping pattern, and it depends on the signals we send to our bodies.
Our internal clock rotates between wakefulness and sleeps the whole day. This 24-hour cycle is known as the circadian rhythm.
This internal clock is located in the Hypothalamus, which is a part of the brain. Sometimes this circadian rhythm gets thrown off due to various reasons like:
- shift work
- jet lag
- traveling across time zones
Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to fix your sleep schedule and reset the internal sleep clock.
Tip on how to fix your sleep schedule:
Follow these tips to get your good night’s sleep back.
Set the right lighting
One great way to fix your sleep schedule is planning exposure to light. When your body is exposed to light, the brain stops the production of melatonin, which is a sleep hormone. This keeps your body alert and awake.
Darkness signals the brain to produce more melatonin and feel drowsy. When you wake up in the morning, expose yourself to light, open curtains, relax on the porch, and take a walk.
Get ready yourself for sleep at night by dining the lights. Avoid blue lights that come from the computer screen, mobile phones, etc. These devices can stimulate the brain. (Source 1)
Take out some time for relaxation to help you sleep better. When you are anxious or stressed, the body starts producing more cortisol, which is a stress hormone. The higher the cortisol level, the more awake your body feels.
Creating a relaxing bedtime ritual reduces negative effects and stress on sleep. You can try the following calming activities like:
- deep breathing
- drinking caffeine-free tea
If your sleep schedule is getting out of control, avoid naps during the day time. Taking naps can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Long naps during daytime can cause grogginess, which happens when you wake up from deep sleep.
If you plan on taking naps, it should be less than 30 minutes. Plan to take naps before 3 p.m, so you don’t disturb your nighttime sleep routine.
Exercise is a great way to fix your sleep schedule and reset the circadian rhythm. Most tissues in the body, including skeletal muscles, are linked to the internal clock. So when we exercise, the muscle responds by aligning the circadian rhythm of the body.
Exercise also helps in the production of melatonin which helps you sleep better. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise may improve the sleep quality the same night.
To get better results, be consistent with a workout. Try 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week.
Note- doing exercise in the evening tends to overstimulate the body. If you plan on doing a workout in the evening or night, two do it at least 2 hours before your sleep time. (2)
A quiet environment is important for a peaceful sleep. The brain continues to process external sounds even when you are asleep.
Keep the television out of the bedroom and turn it off at least an hour before bedtime. Put your phone on “silent” mode.
You can use white noise to mask the sound of a noisy neighborhood. You can use the following to create white noise :
- air conditioner
- air purifier
- white noise machine
You can try wearing earplugs to block the outside sounds.(3)
Set the right temperature
The body temperature of the body starts to drop just before you sleep. Cool room temperature will help you sleep comfortably and doze off.
You can use an air conditioner and fan during hot weather or a space heater during winters. This will also provide an additional benefit of white noise.
A comfortable bed is very important for a good sleeping environment. Old pillows and mattresses can cause pains, and aches which make it difficult to get good sleep.
Experts suggest replacing the pillow every 2 years and mattress every ten years. Invest in a good mattress and pillow for comfortable sleep.
When your pillow starts getting lumpy and the mattress becomes saggy, it’s time to replace them.
Eat Early Dinner
The circadian rhythm of your body also gets affected by eating habits.
Late dinner tends to delay sleep time; hence you should eat your last meal of the day two-three hours before bed. This gives your body enough time to digest the meal.
Eating dinner at the same time every day will get your body used to a routine.
What you eat also affects your sleep patterns. High -fat-heavy meals can disrupt sleep because they take time to digest.
Eat light snacks when you are hungry. Protein and carbs make the best combination for sleep foods, like almond butter and wheat toast.
Avoid caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee at night. Caffeine takes many hours to leave its traces, so have your last cup of coffee before evening.
Also, skip alcohol before sleep time. Alcohol will make you feel drowsy but can disrupt the circadian rhythm, which makes it difficult to sleep peacefully.
If you want to learn how to fix your sleep schedule, first make one.
Choose a time to sleep and wake up every day. Stick to the timeline, even on the weekends. Do not stay up or sleep in for longer periods.
When you follow a regular schedule, the internal clock tends to develop a routine. With time you will be able to fall asleep on time and wake up with ease. (4)
When your body is digesting food, the internal clocks get a signal that you are awake. This happens because the circadian rhythm and metabolism are closely linked.
On the other side, fasting puts the body on a standby mode to repair itself. Fasting is a normal part of sleep.
Try skipping meals before bedtime. Since fasting is a part of the sleep schedule, it may help you in falling asleep. The body continues to burn calories while you are sleeping.
Warning- going to bed empty stomach can wake you up in the middle of the night. Avoid fasting when you are already very hungry.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep cycle. Itis made of pineal gland in the brain, but you can also find it in supplement form.
Melatonin helps in promoting relaxation. When people face jet lag or insomnia, melatonin can work as a sleep aid.
The proper dosage of melatonin is considered safe. Always follow the instructions mentioned.
It can have some possible side effects, which include:
Note- Check with your doctor before the consumption of any supplement.
Having sleeping problems now and then is normal. Changing lifestyle habits and sleeping behaviors can restore your sleep schedule.
If the sleep problem persists, then you should visit your doctor. You may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. You can consult a sleep specialist to get treatment.
Pulling all-nighters, jet lag, and shift work can mess with your sleeping routine. Luckily by practicing good bedtime habits, you can get right back on the track.
If you are having trouble sleeping at night, then this article on how to fix your sleep schedule will be of great help to you.
This article includes some easy tips to fix the sleep schedule without any requirement of medicine.
Avoiding harsh lights during bedtime, eating light meals, keeping the room temperature and mattress comfortable, and skipping coffee, tea, and alcohol at night are tips that can help fix the sleep cycle.
If you still face problems in falling asleep, then it’s best to visit a doctor.