A good number of people have a difficult time having a pleasant night sleep. Several factors may play a part in this sleep deprivation including stress, long work hours, sleep disorders or some medications. For some people, they find it hard to sleep because of a disrupted natural sleep-wake cycle commonly referred to as circadian rhythm. If you can’t get enough sleep due to a disrupted sleep cycle, it is possible for you to fix the sleep schedule. Here is an exclusive look at how to fix sleep schedule.
What Is Meant by A Sleep Schedule?
If you are keen enough, you should notice that your body gets into a sleep mode at a particular time and wakes up at a certain time every morning. This internal clock is found in the hypothalamus and responds to constant external factors that inform your body that it’s time to sleep. This is what is referred to as a sleep schedule. There is an internal rhythm in your body that makes the body to feel sleepy and wake up at a specific time of the day. Going to a different time zone, taking care of the newborn, drinking coffee during late nights and working at night are some of the factors that may alter the normal, natural sleep schedule. This causes the body to make adjustments to the time that we sleep causing sleep deprivation if we go to bed at the normal sleep schedule time(source).
Fixing Your Sleep Schedule
Now that you are aware of the meaning of sleep schedule and you know how it can be altered, you need to know how to fix sleep schedule. You need to start reclaiming your sleep and adjust the body back to its natural clock. Some of the ways on how to fix sleep schedule include
Adjusting Sleep Time
Slowly adjusting your sleeping time is one way of fixing your sleep schedule. Ensure that you get into bed earlier than the time you want to change your sleeping too. For example, if you’re going to adjust sleep time from 12.00a.m to 9.00p.m, get to bed fifteen minutes before 9.00p.m. slowly, the body will ease itself to sleeping earlier.
Planning on the Lighting Exposure
Changing the amount of light exposure a few hours before you get to bed may be an appropriate remedy in fixing sleep schedule. The light-dark cycle is essential in triggering your circadian rhythm. When you are exposed to less lighting, the brain starts to produce melatonin, a sleep hormone that makes you sleepy. On bright lighting, the brain stops producing melatonin making you more alert and awake. Dimming lights or turning them off at night can help in priming yourself to sleep.
If you have a disrupted sleep schedule, you need to avoid taking naps during the day as it makes it hard to sleep at night. Having long naps may lead to grogginess which results from waking up from deep sleep. In case you take a nap, ensure that it is not for more than thirty minutes and it should be before 4 .pm to avoid disrupting your sleep schedule(source).
Keeping It Cool and Avoiding Noise
Body temperature is crucial in preparing for bedtime. Make efforts to keep your external temperature cool such as using fun or air conditioner during hot weather or a space heater during cold weather. Keeping cool makes your body comfortable and sleep off. More so, the body needs a quiet environment to fall and stay asleep easily you can put off the television, put the cell phone on silent mode, use white noise in case you live in a noisy neighborhood or use earplugs to chunk the outside sounds.
The sleeping schedule is also responsive to your eating patterns. Eating late dinners contributes to delayed sleep. Ensure you eat about three hours before going to bed which gives the body sufficient time to digest the food. This also depends on the type of meal that you consume. High fat and heavy meals take longer to digest hence might disrupt sleep. The best combination of food for good sleep include proteins, and carbs avoid drinks that have caffeine stimulant several hours before sleeping as it takes longer to wear off. More so, alcoholic beverages are not recommended as they alter the sleep schedule(source).
Regular exercises can help you fix sleep schedule. By exercising your body tissues, the muscle gives a response by adjusting back to the normal circadian rhythm. Engage in a thirty minutes aerobic workout daily to improve your sleep quality. To avoid overstimulation of the body, work out at least two hours before getting in bed.
Night shifts, jet lags, and taking care of a young one may mess with your sleep cycle in one way or another. Luckily, the above listed good sleep hygiene practices will help you fix sleep schedule. Remember to keep your bedtime and wake up time regularly for best results. If you still cannot have a good sleep, you should visit a doctor.