Expert Advice on How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Your sleep schedule can change and fluctuate, following suit with the ebbs and flows of life. If getting enough sleep is causing you trouble, you can learn how to fix your sleep schedule with a little bit of dedication and education. There is no one-trick wonder to fixing your sleep schedule. This is because it can be interrupted or changed by so many things. Travel, stress, health, and time can all play a part in an unwanted change in your sleep.
If you’re not sleeping right now, you’re in the right place to learn how to fix that. Sleep is an important function of life. Without it, you can experience symptoms and long-term health effects, draining your mental capacity and risking your physical well being. The balance of mind, body, and soul starts and ends with good sleep — let’s chat through the tried and true ways that you can get your sleep schedule back on track.
Understand your body’s circadian rhythm
Circadian rhythm is a natural internal process that regulates your sleep cycle in alignment with the 24 hour clock and/or the rising and falling of the sun. Some people call this their “biological clock”, or the thing that makes you want to wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night.
The sun is a powerful being and can make a difference in changing your sleep schedule. If you wake before the sun is out and you want to feel awake, use artificial light until the sun comes up, and then step outside and enjoy it once it rises. When viewing morning and afternoon sun (once when you’re up, and again before sunset), you’re training your brain to associate awake time with the sunshine, lining you up with a traditional sleep cycle that works for most folks.
Get to know how much sleep you need
Sleep is not a one-size-fits-all need, and neither is finding the solution to your troubling sleep schedule. Get to know how much sleep your body needs so that you can make decisions based on your specific experiences. Understand your daytime energy levels: do you consider yourself an early bird or a night owl? Once you know this information, it can help determine the next steps for fixing your sleep.
There are factors that can be associated with needing more sleep, like how women are known to need more sleep than men due to hormones. Health, genetics, and lifestyle are all considerations for the reasons why you may need more or less sleep than average. Get to know yourself and your needs so you can get to the root of your sleep struggles.
Go to sleep at the same time every night
Routine is hard to find within the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, it is imperative to enhance your sleep quality and schedule. The Sleep Foundation notes that “Humans are often described as creatures of habit because we are inclined to become conditioned to distinct patterns of behaviour through repetition of certain cues and responses.” These patterns, when consistent, make actions feel practically automatic, and will make your mind and body start to settle at the same time every day before sleep.
Routine enhancements can be as small or as big as you need them to be. Staying consistent day-to-day is what is most important. Some suggestions include getting the same amount of hours of sleep each night, aligning with the sun as best you can, and creating some before-bed habits like reading, taking a shower, or meditating so that upon each action, your body starts to learn them as the cues for sleep.
Minimize stressors within 2-3 hours of bedtime
The definition of stressors is up to you, but regardless of what’s making your mind spin at bed time, the goal is to shake it off. This helpful tip aligns with the aforementioned before-bed habits. In conjunction with mindfulness and genuine rest, building stress-reducing habits before bed will calm your nervous system enough that by the time your head hits the pillow, you’ll be out like a light.
Stressors can include the big things, such as work, life admin, anxiety inducing tasks or socializing. It can also be hidden in some areas. Although watching something before bed doesn’t seem like it could cause any harm, watching a scary movie or filling yourself in on the news can affect your restful energy. We suggest spending the 2-3 hours before bedtime with your curated and calm routine, i.e. showering, reading, or meditating, to give yourself the best chance at a good night’s sleep.
Avoid blue light 1 hour before bedtime
Even if your stress minimizer happens to be lighthearted movie watching or catching up on trash television shows, you still want to put the screens away long before you shut your eyes. Blue light, meaning that of tv, laptop, or phone screens, can trick your brain into staying alert and awake. It suppresses your body’s natural production of melatonin, which is the hormone that makes us feel drowsy.
Blue light can also sneak up on you where you least expect it, like the pesky “on” light of a humidifier or the numbers on your digital clock. Try your best to remove any and all light from your room using blackout curtains and black tape to cover small light sources. We even suggest sleeping with an eye mask to help keep the light out and keep your mind at ease (especially you, Toronto folks. We all know how bright the city gets at night).
When I first started Aligned One Wellness, I struggled with my sleep schedule. Exploring business ownership was rewarding, but also exhausting. I was so busy with building a business that I lost track of some of my favourite habits and patterns that were taking care of my mind, body and soul.
If you’re struggling to fix your sleep schedule, there is no need to be ashamed. Life throws things at us every day, and it is easy to lose track of the little puzzle pieces that add up to make for consistent good night’s sleep. The important thing is to let your mind be at ease and your body be ready to rest. Aligned One Wellness’ approach to full-body holistic care can be a small piece of your sleep puzzle. If you’re struggling with relaxation or pain in your body, reach out to see how our RMT treatments can help you get back to successful sleep.
A holistic approach to life and health has to include sleep as one of the most important pillars. Without sleep, your efforts to eat healthier, move more, and take care of your mental health will fall flat. Fixing your sleep schedule isn’t easy, but it is possible. We wish you all the best of luck and love on your journey towards a more well-rounded and rested life.
Aligned One Wellness