Many times people plan to wake up in the morning with the alarm but could not wake up as per schedule. It can be due to their disturbed schedule of sleeping at night. To regularize their sleeping and waking up time they will have to reorganize their sleeping schedule. The information provided in this write-up will help you to know how to reset sleep schedule?
What is the importance of a sleep schedule?
Because following certain reactions and signals repeatedly humans usually behave differently and that is why they are known for their habits. In their day-to-day life they automatically follow certain patterns in routine. Similar is the condition with sleep pattern. You can easily constantly get the sleep you need by making a routine of healthy sleep. You can quickly fall asleep and continue to sleep throughout the night by improving your habits in this regard. With time you can improve your sleeping schedule by improving your sleeping habits repeatedly.
Why our sleep schedules get disturbed?
Understand the working of your sleep clock
It can be easier to solve your sleeping problem if you know about your sleep clock and its working so that you can find sensible solutions. Your sleep clock may include various biological systems that can be supported by SCN or supra-chiasmatic nuclei in your hypothalamus to control your cycle of tiredness and alertness known as the circadian rhythm. This rhythm will make you fall asleep in the evening and wake-up in the morning at the same time every day when you live an active life. Due to normal variations in the biological systems, people usually sleep and wake up at different times. Your sleeping habits can be influenced by environment and behaviors along with your genetics. Though there is no scientific evidence still the clock inside your body can be influenced by various external as well as internal signals and behaviors.
Are you using the Right Mattress as per your sleeping needs?
You may turn and toss throughout the night because of your uncomfortable bed. It can be surprising for you to find the best mattresses for you on the basis of various factors like the shape and weight of your body, as well as its position while sleeping, etc. A soft mattress can be good for people sleeping on their side as its softness can help in reducing pressure on their hips and shoulders. You can reset your sleep clock, improve your sleeping habits, and follow a constant sleeping schedule just by finding the right mattress for you.
What are the reasons behind a disturbed sleep schedule?
Your circadian rhythm and sleep routines can be disturbed due to various reasons like:
- Effect of light: Your sleep can be affected by several external elements like the light. Your sleep can be disturbed due to the exposure to light which can influence the speed of your internal clock as well as make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Your sleep and wake-up cycle can be affected due to the delay or advancement of your biological clock.
- Emotional issues and stress: Your sleeping problem can be due to various mental and emotional problems like depression, anxiety, and stress, etc. These reasons can disturb your healthy routine to sleep as they may cause sleeplessness when it is time to sleep and sleepiness when it is time to wakeup.
- Jet syndrome: This reason can disturb the internal clock of your body when you are traveling between different time zones.
- Change in work schedule: Your circadian rhythm gets disturbed if you have to change your working schedule like from night shift to day shift.
- Behavioral options: You may have to give up your sleeping routine if you have to wake up early or sleep late at night for your sports, studies, or some social activities.
- Environment to sleep in: The quantity and quality of your sleep can be influenced by the environment in your bedroom. It can be due to noise, temperature, and/or light, etc. You can easily fall asleep if you are used to such factors, otherwise, they can cause distraction or stress which can disturb your sleep cycle.
- Use of substances and medication: The quality and quantity of your sleep can also be influenced by various chemicals commonly used like alcohol, caffeine, antihistamines, and nicotine as well as certain prescribed drugs like anti-depressants and alpha or beta blockers, etc.
Way to Reset Your Sleep Schedule
You may not be able to reset your sleep schedule overnight nor will it take a long time if you follow the tips provided here under.
Adjust with the light
- In the morning use bright light: Your circadian rhythm can be improved and your internal clock can be synchronized in a better way with the exposure to natural light every day.
- In the evening you should dim the light: You may sleep late at night if the light is too much. You can easily reduce light at night by turning off bright lights overhead and keep them low by the end of the day.
- Before bed avoid using blue light: You may not be able to finish your task and fall asleep at night due to bur light. At least one hour before going to sleep you should turn off your tablet, phone, TV, and dim lights. People working at night can use glasses to block light while sleeping in the day to pretend it is the night to sleep.
- Go for camping: Camping is a good outdoor activity so that you can leave behind your mental problems and most of the distractions like laptops etc. It can allow you to reset your internal sleep clock easily. When it is dark you will feel sleepy and go to bed and wake up when you feel it is time to wake-up with the rise of the sun.
Develop healthy habits
- Relax: You can improve your sleep by relaxing. Your body produces the stress hormone, cortisol when it is anxious or stressed. You feel more awake with a higher level of cortisol. You can reduce the negative effect of stress on your sleep by creating relaxing rituals at bedtime. You can set this relaxing routine by making your mood by playing some music as well as taking a warm bath. You should ensure that the room is dark, the temperature is moderate and the bed is comfortable. You can also do some calming activities like stretching, yoga, deep breathing, meditation, drinking tea without caffeine and journaling, etc.
- Nap carefully: You can get the energy required for the rest of the day by having a nap correctly. You should have a nap for 20-30 minutes between 1 pm to 3 pm for this purpose.
- Eat your meals at the proper time: The clock in your body can be influenced by the time you take your meals. You can adjust your work schedules or time zones by changing your time to eat meals. For instance, there is a difference in time for 8 hours when you travel from Europe to the US. So during the flight, you will have to fast for 10 hours so that you can eat just after your arrival. You can easily adjust jet lag by resetting your mealtime. You should maintain your meals and exercise routine at home to maintain the pattern of your sleep cycle.
- Control your diet: Before going to bed you should avoid eating too much as it can cause heartburns and acid reflux along with keeping you awake at the mid-night. You can eat light snacks, low in sugar and high in protein like some raw nuts, etc. if you feel hungry at bedtime.
- Try fasting: your internal clock recognizes that you are awake when you eat and digest your food because of a close link between your circadian rhythm and metabolism. But when you fast, it allows your body to repair itself in a standby position. It can also help in improving your sleep. So before bedtime, you should not eat as it will help you in having a sound sleep as well as allow your body to burn more calories. Fasting at night will make you wake up early in the morning as you feel hungry. Thus you can normalize your sleeping schedule. But if you are already hungry before bedtime then instead of fasting you must eat something light to have a sound sleep.
- Avoid working on night shift: You can regulate your circadian rhythm more easily by working constantly in day shifts instead of night shifts, if possible.
Creating an environment to invite sleep
- Maintain a quiet environment: Your sleep schedule can be disturbed even if you can sleep well with little noise in the background. During your sleep time, a noisy environment can make you restless and may shift between the sleep phases or move around. The level of sleep satisfaction can be low with waking up frequently due to the impact of noise on your circadian rhythm. So you are advised to keep it quiet before you sleep at night.
- Keep the temperature of the environment low: To prepare you to sleep your body drops temperature just before bedtime. You can feel more comfortable while sleeping by keeping the temperature of your bedroom cool, somewhere between 60-67 degrees C. It will help you to sleep at night and wake up in the morning at the same time every day. You should use your bedroom only for sleeping and sex instead of watching TV, playing games, or napping.
- Remain comfortable: To have a good sleep at night a comfortable bed can provide you the best environment. It can be difficult to have quality sleep with pain-causing old pillows or mattresses. According to experts, you should replace your pillow after every 2 years and mattress after every 10 years to sleep in a comfortable environment. You can choose the firmness of pillows and mattresses as per your preferences. But you should replace them immediately if they are lumpy or saggy.
Adopt good habits at bedtime
- Limit the use of caffeine and alcohol: For a healthy sleeping routine both caffeine and alcohol are harmful. Though you can feel sleepy after drinking alcohol but the quality of sleep will be low and you may awake at midnight. Similarly, you can be frustrated while trying to sleep at night after using caffeine as it will keep you alert and awake. So to reset your sleep schedule you should avoid consuming both caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.
- Do physical activities: You can have a good sleep along with maintaining your cardio health by exercising regularly. To get these benefits you need not be an athlete as even mild activities like walking in the morning to get exposure to daylight can be advantageous for you. You should finish your intense workouts a minimum of one hour before going to sleep at night.
- Reduce your screen time in the evening: You should reduce the use of devices emitting blue light like cell phones etc. in the evening as they can stimulate your mind excessively and affect your sleep schedule negatively. So you should stop using your laptop, mobile phone, or tablet for a minimum of one hour before going to sleep.
- Avoid workout or eating too late: When your bedtime is too close, you should avoid intense workouts and eating big meals and caffeine products. Your body will wind-up later in the evening if you stop exercising and eating big meals a few hours earlier than your bedtime.
- Avoid stress: Instead of worrying about not sleeping well, you should think positive even if it is not easy. You should avoid stress before going to bed and think positively about your tomorrow’s engagements instead of problems only as you are not going to solve them in the mid-night. However, if you cannot avoid them then instead of worrying about them you should write them down or make a list of things to do the next morning. It will help in avoiding frustration caused by forgetting what to do in the morning.
- If you cannot sleep then get out of your bed: If you cannot sleep even after 20 minutes of getting into your bed then instead of looking at your ceiling you should get out of your bed to relax yourself. Your brain will keep you awake if you go on turning and tossing in your bed.
Other methods to reset your sleep schedule
- Use low-tech devices: Though hi-tech devices like headbands or wrist bands can monitor your sleep cycle and find the best time for you to wake up but to reset your sleep schedule you need not spend on expensive fancy devices. Even low-tech devices like a soft fan to reduce noise, blackout shades, unplugging your phone, earplugs and eye mask, etc. can be good options for this purpose.
- Use an all-dayer or all-nighter: You should stay out of your bed for a full day until you go to bed next time can be a good way to reverse temporary problems in your sleep clock. But you should plan this sleep therapy under the guidance of your doctor because there is no scientific evidence about the effect of this therapy on your sleep clock. However, this therapy is normally used to treat depression. For instance, if 4 am is your bedtime and at noon you wake up then to correct your sleep cycle you will have to stay away from your bed up to 10 pm on the next day. You can stay awake by doing some light activities. But, to be deprived of sleep you should avoid doing any dangerous tasks as you may feel tired unless you sleep at right time the next night.
- Try to use melatonin: You can normalize your sleep cycle by using a hormone, melatonin. This hormone is normally produced in your brain with the help of the pineal gland but to improve your sleep cycle you can use supplements containing this hormone to relax you. To use melatonin safely you should follow instructions and take it in the right doe otherwise you can experience some side effects like headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea, etc. However, before using melatonin you should consult your doctor if you already have some health issues or on some medical treatment.
- Reset your circadian rhythm by using light therapy: Exposure to bright light in the morning at a particular time can also help in resetting your sleep schedule instead of using OTC medicines. But according to experts, you should do it under the supervision of your healthcare provider. It can help in changing your circadian rhythm along with treating certain diseases in your eyes. The devices used for treating the syndrome of the SAD or seasonal affective disorder can also be used by healthy people to improve their sleep cycle. This ?bright light therapy’ can help in improving your wake-up time.
- Seek help: If you are not able to get rid of your sleeping problem even after practicing the tips discussed above then you must ask your doctor to help you. You may need the attention of your healthcare provider because your problem can complicate the situation and can cause other health problems. A medical professional can use various treatments to treat problems in your sleep cycle.
How to use a schedule for healthy sleep?
Change your schedule gradually
A sudden change in your sleeping schedule may not be accepted by your body easily. If you want to dramatically change your wake-up time or sleeping schedule then you should change it gradually instead of changing it all of a sudden. You can achieve your goal by changing the schedule by 15 minutes every day. For instance, you want to change your wake-up time from 8 am to 6:30 am then it may take seven nights to set the new sleep schedule for you. A gradual change will help your body to accept the changes in sleeping schedule easily even if you have to make a drastic change in your sleeping schedule.
Stick to your sleep schedule strictly
You should consistently stick to your sleeping and wake-up schedule once you have changed your sleeping and wake up time as per your requirements. It is important to make it certain to go to your bed and get out of it at the scheduled time every day. If you want to sleep one hour late on weekends then you can do it occasionally instead of making it a habit. You should try to follow your schedule strictly and consistently.
Set your sleep schedule with the help of an example program
You can create a better sleep schedule by following the sample provided here under. You can also use this schedule to set your sleep and wake up routine.
- During the day you can set two goals – to do exercise and get some sunshine but you should avoid working out just before your time to go to bed.
- In the afternoon you can decaffeinate as caffeine can affect the quality of your sleep even if you can tolerate it easily as it remains in your system for up to 6 hours.
- In the evening you should stop eating nearly two hours before your bedtime. If you want to have some snacks then you can try some nourishing and soothing tea instead of eating some heavy snacks.
- Up to two hours before your bedtime you must dim all the lights including the lights of your electronic devices as your body assumes it as daytime due to bright lights.
- One hour before going to bed you can do some soothing things like meditation, journaling, some gentle yoga exercises, or reading a book.
- 30 minutes before going to bed you can hop on a mat for acupressure to relax your body and take a sleep mode.
- While going to bed you should put lights off to sleep in a dark and cool room like a bear sleeping in a pothole.
The time taken to set your sleep schedule cannot be predicted as no set timeframe is available until now. It all depends upon ?how long you follow the schedule set by you’. According to experts, to set your new habits you must plan for 2 weeks which can increase up to 2 months. You can follow the tips provided in this write-up to maintain your sleep cycle once you are able to set your sleep schedule.