How to Reset Your Sleep Schedule And Get Some Well-Deserved Rest
When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, it’s very important you have healthy sleep habits. But sometimes it’s very hard if not impossible to have them. You get caught up in life, work, and countless responsibilities you simply don’t have time for. Unless you cut sleep, that is. So you get used to pushing yourself to the brink. And when the rough spot in your life is finally over, you finally have time to sleep. but you still can’t. At this stage, you have a sleeping disorder. And the only way out is to reset your sleep schedule.
But to reset your sleep schedule effectively and naturally, we first have to understand why some of us have erratic sleep schedules. And most sleep problems and disorders have an easily found cause behind them.
What causes sleep problems?
There are many reasons why people have trouble sleeping, but it’s usually one of the following:
#1 Physical pain
This is any and all physical pain. Headaches, toothaches, heartburn, sore muscles, and so on.
#2 Illnesses and health disorders
For example, things like asthma and obstructive sleep apnea cause breathing problems (usually snoring) that forcefully wake you up from sleep. Or the circadian rhythm disorder, which is your biological clock being permanently broken. So you always feel tired no matter how much sleep you get. Or even insomnia, a sleeping disorder when you can’t fall asleep.
#3 Negative emotions
Any negative emotion can worsen your ability to sleep due to increased brain activity. Worry, fear, jealousy, anxiety, and many others. In cases of intense anxiety or depression, sleep becomes nearly impossible. And the only way to counteract this is by finding some positivity in your life.
#4 Alcohol and medication
Ingesting alcohol will cause temporary sleepiness, but the sleep itself will be lighter than normal. So when it wears off, you’re more likely to wake up early and tired. At the same time, both prescription medicine and over-the-counter medicine will make it harder to fall asleep. Things like Beta blockers for blood pressure. Or medicine for ADHD.
Any noise will wake you up if you’re not used to it. Whether it’s quiet or loud, one-time or continuous. It’s simply an instinctive thing. Or rather, it’s your mind’s safety measure. But you can get gradually used to things like the dog barking or clock ticking, to the point it helps you sleep instead.
#6 Room temperature
Whenever we fall asleep, our bodies cool down. But when the room is too hot, it will prevent your body from cooling down, so you won’t be able to fall asleep properly. At the same time, a cool room will allow you to sleep better.
#7 Stress and tension
When you’re agitated or in a state of tension, it becomes very hard to relax, making it impossible to fall asleep.
Whether you work graveyard shifts or just prefer working at night, you’re forcing yourself into a sleeping disorder. Mostly because you overpower your sleepiness, going against your biological clock.
#9 Caffeine and sugar
When you ingest caffeine, sugar, or both too close to your bedtime, it will kick your body and blood flow into high gear, making it very difficult to fall asleep.
When is the best time to sleep?
After pinpointing your sleep problems, next comes answering the age-old question. When is the best time to sleep? The answer is – whatever works for you. At the end of the day, it’s about you feeling good and rested when you wake up, rather than focusing on specific sleep patterns. But if you’re still unsure when to go to sleep or wake up, here are some scientific facts that should help you out.
The best time to sleep, in most parts of the world is from 11 PM to 7 AM. In this time window, your body gets the deepest and most refreshing sleep. Here are some additional explanations for the scientific terms.
Cortisol is a hormone released by your body when you experience stress. Without it, the hardships in life would be impossible to endure. That being said, when you experience too much stress, it will spike well into the night, making you lose sleep. That’s why it’s important to unwind after a stressful day.
Melatonin is a hormone released in your brain to let your body know it’s time to sleep, causing sleepiness. This happens whenever the sun starts setting and there’s no blue light coming from the sun. But if you expose yourself to sources of light late at night, it will reduce the effectiveness of melatonin and wash away your sleepiness.
Circadian Rhythm is your internal clock, controlling your waking and sleeping hours. This is affected by sunrise, sunset, and your life habits. Usually, your body starts cooling down when the sun sets and it’s time to sleep due to the circadian rhythm.
Deep sleep is the strongest period of your sleep where the brain sorts out the accumulated information the day before. This usually happens when your body’s temperature is at its lowest, in the window from 12 AM to 4 AM. When you don’t get to sleep during that period of time, you might experience sleepiness during the afternoon, from 1 PM to 4 PM.
Sleeping habits around the world
How much you sleep, when you do it, and whether you take naps or not also depends on your location in the world, surprisingly enough. This is mostly because of the varying amounts of daylight you get at different latitudes.
The amount of sunlight you get during the day drastically affects your internal sleep clock and the times when you sleep. Longer hours of sunlight means that people in hotter countries are more inclined to take short naps during the day since there’s often not enough darkness to get a full night’s rest.
While countries with shorter hours of sunlight tend to abstain from napping altogether since falling asleep is easier due to the prolonged darkness.
Interestingly enough, cultural factors affect a sleep cycle as well. For example, in Japan, people take power naps whenever they can. During a meeting, on the train, and just about anywhere where you can doze off for a few minutes. It’s called “inemuri” (sleeping while on duty) and is a culturally accepted thing in Japan, signifying diligence.
How much sleep should you get?
Even if we know when to sleep, how much should we sleep in the first place? Over the years, scientists determined that adults require 8 hours of sleep on average. With this amount of sleep, any adult can avoid sleep deprivation, be productive, and think clearly throughout the day. Additionally, here are the sleep requirements based on age groups:
Effects of not sleeping enough
Not getting enough sleep in the long term, not only reduces your energy during the day, but also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and dementia. But even then, human beings can function on just 4 hours of sleep. There are two types of people who can do that. The ones who train themselves to do it. And the ones who can do it without any effort.
The former still risk getting cardiovascular diseases and dementia, even though they feel fine in day to day life. But the latter have no downsides, only the benefit of having more time. The most notable example of this is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a professional wrestler and acclaimed Hollywood actor. He only gets 3-5 hours of sleep each night. Yet he always seems so healthy and full of energy.
Why you shouldn’t be sleeping too much
Even when it’s almost time to wake up, on our days off we sometimes give in and sleep more. What harm could it do? We’ll only feel fresher, right? Wrong.
There are many effects of oversleeping, but most of them are bad. This includes drowsiness, lack of energy, depression, back pain, headaches, mind fog, an increased risk of diabetes, and even obesity.
Yes, you read that right, scientists have found a correlation between excessive sleeping and depression. And both depression and excessive sleeping can be either the cause or the symptom.
In short, excessive sleeping can lower your quality of life considerably. So the next time you consider sleeping in, decide if it’s really worth it.
How to fix your sleep schedule?
When it comes to resetting your sleep schedule, shortcuts almost never work. It is often accompanied by a permanent change in your lifestyle.
You might’ve tried the fabled trick to reset your body clock by not sleeping. You skip sleep one night, hoping you’d go to sleep earlier the next day. It works for a while, but you eventually succumb to your old habits and your sleep schedule is ruined again. I know that pain all too well.
But is that any reason to stop trying? Absolutely not. Especially because there’s a better approach out there. It’s to make slight adjustments until you’re satisfied with your sleep schedule. That’s the best way to reset your sleep schedule. Tackle the problematic areas one by one. And never try to do it all at once.
You could, of course, but doing it all at once is too straining for your mind and body. If you’re fine with feeling less than optimal for a few weeks, I’m not gonna stop you. That being said, here are things that you should adjust to reset your sleep schedule naturally.
#1 Gradually adjust your sleeping routine
Your internal clock gets accustomed to sleeping during a set time window. So even if your sleep schedule is from 4 AM-12 PM, you will become sleepy naturally at that time. But if one day you decide to hop into bed at 10 PM, you’ll probably toss and turn for a few hours before falling asleep.
The trick here is to not overdo it. Start by going to sleep at 3 AM. Once you get used to it in a week or two, or rather, when your body clock gets adjusted, you can start going to sleep at 2 AM. Continue this until you reach your desired sleeping window.
#2 Change your eating habits
In addition to your sleep/wake cycle, your internal organs (kidneys, pancreas, liver, etc) each have their internal clocks and the times they’re most active in. So if you’re used to eating late at night, this might kick your organs into overdrive, preventing you from sleep.
Simply try getting all your eating done early in the day, so your organs begin to slow down in the evening, making it easier to fall asleep. Intermittent fasting can help with this tremendously.
#3 Reduce exposure to bright lights before sleeping
Nowadays, many people use phones, tablets, and laptops before sleeping. It’s a great way to pass time, but the light emitted by the screens create sleep resistance, especially in a dark room.
So if you’re one of those people, try expanding your bedtime activities. For example, reading a real book. Or solving a crossword puzzle. That being said, ambient lighting won’t affect your sleepiness that much, so feel free to leave it on.
#4 Stop napping during the day
Naps are a great source of energy during the day but in most cases, it will push back your actual sleeping time. So if you like napping and have a late sleeping schedule, naps might be the main suspects as to why. Simply stop napping. It will be hard the first week, but you’ll gradually get used to it.
#5 Include exercise in your daily routine
Most people nowadays have jobs that tire them out mentally and not so much physically. They feel dead tired even though their body is still overflowing with energy.
And all of that excess energy prevents them from falling asleep. What none of them realize is that just 15 minutes of exercise will help them fall asleep much easier. That being said, don’t exercise right before going to bed as it will increase your heart rate and wash away the sleepiness.
#6 Cut down on sugar and caffeine 4 hours before sleeping
Caffeine and sugar are two substances that give us energy. Things like sweets, chocolate, coffee, and even the notorious energy drinks. In small doses, they’re fine and often welcome. But start ingesting too much and your body will get used to staying in a state of hyperactivity. So when you’re trying to fall asleep, your heart will pound in protest.
The solution is to gradually reduce the caffeine and sugar intake throughout the day. And completely stop it 4 hours before sleep. But it’s not recommended to go cold turkey immediately, which will lead to withdrawal symptoms, causing drowsiness during the day.
#7 Always sleep a set amount of hours
If you keep changing the amount you sleep each day, this will throw your body in a state of confusion. So if you usually get 7 hours of sleep, stick to the same amount even if you go to sleep earlier than usual. Sleeping in on a day off might be tempting, but it will only make you feel unmotivated.
#8 Don’t force yourself to sleep
When you can’t fall asleep no matter what, don’t force yourself to fall asleep. Don’t needlessly roll around in bed, but just get up and do something boring. Preferably in a dimly lit room. This is a sleep aid that will ensure you reduce your stress and tension, allowing you to fall asleep a tad easier.
The only way to truly reset a sleep schedule is to make falling asleep natural. And when your sleeping routine consists of suffering, you will subconsciously view sleep as a negative thing, making it extremely difficult to sleep early.
#9 Stay disciplined no matter what
You won’t ever reset your sleep schedule if you give up halfway, so stay disciplined and persevere. It will be hard at first, but your body will get used to it over time. Because that’s one of the best traits us humans have – adaptability. And before long, you’ll get the good sleep you deserve!
Ready to stop feeling sleepy all the time?
I hope this article helped you find a way to reset your sleep schedule and improve the quality of your sleep! The only thing left is to put your newfound knowledge into action. Remember that a proper sleep schedule is a habit you have to ingrain into your lifestyle. But this is just the first step.
Similar improvements can be made in just about any aspect of your life. How? With the help of other powerful habits! Click on the book below to get your FREE copy of the 21 Powerful Habits Ebook that will turn your life around! (alternatively just click >>here<<)