Getting a good night’s sleep is a healthy habit that will set the tone for your entire day. Here’s 10 effective tips on how to fix your sleep schedule.
Sleep is a basic human need. However, there are times in life when your sleep schedule can get disrupted and negatively affect your performance throughout the day. Often, external factors such as a big life change, job uncertainty, or issues in your personal relationships can negatively affect your sleep cycle. However, getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as eating a balanced diet or getting enough exercise, especially when you’re experiencing stress. For this reason, it is important that you do everything you can to take care of yourself and get the rest that your body needs. In this article, we’ll show you ten things that you can do to fix your sleep schedule. If you have chronic insomnia or another health concern that has been affecting your sleep patterns over a long period, we recommend you speak with a healthcare professional.
1. Eat Dinner Early
The first step to fixing your sleep schedule is creating a nighttime routine that includes healthy eating habits:
- Try to eat dinner two to three hours before you go to bed; that way you will be giving your body the time it needs to digest your last meal.
- If possible, eat dinner around the same time every day to get your body used to a routine.
- Be careful with what you eat. Meals that are very fatty or that include a lot of meat are harder to digest, and it will take longer for your body to fully digest them before you go to bed. You can try cutting out meat in the evenings, or even altogether if you are interested in going vegan.
2. Limit Caffeine and Energy Drinks
Try to avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee or certain teas, as well as energy drinks during the late afternoon and evening. Caffeine is a stimulant that will take hours to wear off, so it is better to avoid certain drinks during the second half of the day. If you are a coffee lover, you don’t have to give it up – just have your coffee in the morning or early afternoon!
3. Skip Naps
If your sleep schedule is currently messed up, avoid napping during the day. Even though an afternoon nap can be very tempting, naps can disrupt your sleep schedule and make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. If you really need to sleep in the middle of the day, aim for a power nap between 20 to 30 minutes, and force yourself not to make it longer – you will appreciate it when you are trying to fall asleep at night!
4. Avoid Any Stressful Activity Before You Go to Sleep
Plan on taking care of anything that brings you stress earlier in the day, preferably in the morning. This way, it will be less likely that your mind is all over the place when you go to bed. You can do some research on ways to cope with stress and find something that works for you. It is often helpful to write a to-do list of everything you need to get done the evening before; this will help you go to bed without worrying about all you need to do the following day.
5. Exercise Daily
Exercise is a good stress reliever, and often improves your quality of sleep. Whether it is a workout session, a jog, or a walk in nature, try to fit it in your schedule for at least 30 minutes every day. If you choose to do an intense workout and you are currently trying to fix your sleep schedule, it is best if you work out in the morning to avoid being too active when it’s closer to bedtime.
6. Keep an Eye on Your Screen Time
Cut down on screen time in the evenings, and try to avoid looking at a screen for at least an hour before you go to bed. Here is why:
- Watching TV or being on your computer or cellphone before your bedtime can overstimulate your brain for several hours.
- The blue light from screens disrupt the release of melatonin in your body, which is the hormone that puts you in a state of quiet as a response to darkness. For this reason, being in front of a screen at night can delay your sleep and overstimulate you.
By setting up your own “electronic curfew”, you will be helping your body to naturally get in the mood for sleep without being affected by other external factors.
7. Get in the Right Mood with a Bedtime Routine
A good bedtime routine can be as long or as short as you want it to be. Eating dinner early is a good first step to get your body used to working on digestion before going to bed. Once you set up a bedtime that works for you, block out the time before you go to bed and do something that helps set the mood for sleeping. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Meditate, stretch, or do breathing exercises to help you relax. There’s also some yoga poses that help you sleep that you can try.
- Light some homemade scented candles and turn off all the bright lights that you no longer need.
- Read something relaxing that doesn’t trigger you stress and that doesn’t require your brain to be very active.
- Drink some calming tea.
- Journal and be mindful: write down your highlights of the day and what you are grateful for.
8. Create a Cozy Sleep Environment
The best environment for sleep is a cool room with little to no noise. If you can keep it completely dark, it’s a plus that will help you during the process of fixing your sleep schedule. If possible, designate your sleeping space as a place only for sleep, and make it cozy to your own tastes. Here are a few tips for you to create a cozy sleeping environment:
- Include candles and plants in your bedroom.
- Declutter your room; this way it will be visually lighter, or if you are up for it, you can even try minimalism.
- Get yourself a weighted blanket; it can help ground your body during sleep, especially if you are feeling anxious.
- Use essential oils in your bedroom and during your nighttime routine.
9. Get 7-9 Hours of Sleep
Go to bed early enough so that you can get between seven and nine hours of sleep. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), and adult of 18-60 years of age should get seven or more hours of sleep every night. Even though your schedule or life circumstances may not always allow it, aim for at least seven hours of sleep. Some people need more rest than others, so try giving yourself those extra hours of sleep if you need them. Listen to your body and give it what it’s asking for!
10. Keep a Regular Schedule
Even though it will take some time to get used to a nighttime routine, once you find one that works for you, stick to it. By keeping a regular schedule, your internal clock will get used to going to sleep at the same time. If you have the same habits every day, over time you be falling asleep and waking up without difficulty. Your body will appreciate it in the long run.
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