A healthy sleep schedule is a big part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Without a consistent sleep schedule, you can suffer from insomnia, headaches, fatigue, and even lower your immune system. Sometimes our healthy sleeping schedule can get off track. Whether it’s because you just had a baby, slept in all summer, or you have some wicked jet lagged, it is time to get your sleep back on track.
Want to ease into your morning naturally? Check out our post Relaxing Morning Routine to find out how.
Work WITH Your Circadian Rhythm:
If you are not already familiar, your circadian rhythm is your bodies natural sleep and wake cycle. This is your bodies way of insisting you get the rest you need and wake up to start your day. Your body bases its circadian rhythm off of your habits and external stimulus like sunshine. By nature, our circadian rhythm wants us to rise with the sun and go to sleep as the sun goes down. We suggest trying to work with your natural circadian rhythm as much as possible. With our modern lives, we can’t always afford the luxury of rising with the sun or falling asleep after sunset. However, there are a few tactics we can use in order to take advantage of our body’s natural desires.
First things first, try to stop exposing yourself to blue light several hours before you intend on going to sleep. Invest in a warm soft nightstand light and turn down the lights as you get ready to sleep in the evenings. You can also use lights that you can schedule to mimic a sunrise! This way your body senses this light and reacts to it by sending out hormones to start waking yourself up. This helps you to wake up naturally, feeling well rested and ready to take on the day. (Much better than a noisy alarm clock)
Click here to shop for the Casper Glow Light to wake up naturally to light instead of an alarm clock.
Choose a Schedule:
The demands of a modern schedule can make choosing your sleep schedule either really easy or very difficult. If possible, you want to pick a maintainable sleep schedule that you can stick to all week long. Which is why we suggest considering your weekend plans as well as your work/school schedule.
Working the night shift? Check out our post made just for you… The Best Sleep Schedule For Night Shift
Get the CORRECT Amount of Sleep:
When you are deciding what your sleep schedule should look like, it is important to schedule the right amount of sleep. For adults this typically means 6-8 hours of sleep per night. If you are over sleeping or not getting enough sleep it will eventually throw off your whole schedule. Make sure you are getting the proper amount of sleep in order to have a maintainable sleep schedule.
You also want to ensure that you are schedule times where you will wake up during a light section of sleep cycle, and not during the middle of a REM deep sleep cycle. Click the button below to calculate good time to go to sleep if you want to wake up at a specific time in the morning.
Drink Caffeine When Appropriate:
Caffeine can help you adjust to a new sleep schedule, when used appropriately. A coffee or tea in the morning can be a great pick me up to get your day going. However, later in the evening may make it very difficult to impossible to get to sleep on time.
Keep in mind that it can take up to 6 hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off. So be sure to stop drinking caffeinated beverages around 6 hours before you plan on heading off to bed. This will make it much easier to get to sleep on time.
Considering cutting caffeine out of your diet completely? Check out our post Caffeine Free: The Benefits of Quitting Caffeine to read up on some of the potential benefits.
No matter what, don’t nap. It is going to be tempting because the first several days you will likely be a bit more lethargic during the day than usual. However, if you do take a nap you will very likely find it difficult to fall asleep at your new designated bedtime.
Even a short nap can easily slip into a deep sleep when you are changing your sleep schedule. This will make it difficult to fall and stay asleep for a full night’s rest later. If you are wanting to change your sleep schedule quickly and without many setbacks, then this step is vital.
Can’t cut the naps out completely? Read our post The Art of Napping: The Long & Short of Naps to learn more about the fine art of napping.
Check Your Medications & Supplements:
If you are experiencing bouts of insomnia, medications and vitamins are the first things you should look into. Especially if you have changed anything recently. Take a look at the side effects of everything you are taking. You may need to adjust what you’re taking or when you are taking your medicine or vitamins.
You may even be able to adjust the time of day you’re taking them for the best results. Some vitamins have added caffeine and other stimulants which should be avoided in the evenings. ** Be sure to check with your doctor before you make any changes to your medications.
Consistency is Key:
No napping also falls under this category. Our circadian rhythm loves consistency. Going to back at the same time, and waking up at the same time every day is the best way to have a healthy sleep cycle. If you are consistent with your schedule, your body will run smoothly and know exactly when to engage sleep hormones like melatonin.
After you have committed to being consistent with your schedule, you will find it becomes easier and easier to stick with it. As your body adjusts to these changes you won’t have to work half as hard to fall asleep or wake up at these times. Your body will simply know it is time to wake up and go to sleep. This is the beauty of being consistent with your sleep schedule, in the long run it makes your life WAY easier.
Looking to help your kids get back on a healthy sleep schedule? Then you will enjoy our blog How To Get Your Kids Back On A Sleep Schedule.
Be Mindful of What You Eat & Drink:
What you eat and drink can affect your sleep. Some food and drink can support a healthy sleep schedule, while others can really make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. Alcohol, sugar, and caffeine are the top three disruptors of sleep. Keep in mind that caffeine can stay in your system for up to 6 hours after you consume it! While fried food, spicy food, and highly acidic foods can cause painful heartburn and make it uncomfortable to lay down.
One thing we would like to note about alcohol specifically is that it can be okay in small doses. Actually an evening night cap could even help induce sleep. However, over drinking can really ruin your nights sleep and leave you feeling terrible. So alcohol is okay, but only ever in small doses.
Meanwhile, other foods like Cherries, Almonds, Turkey and many others can help you fall asleep naturally. So be sure to keep this in mind when choosing what you eat or drink before bed.
Head over to our post Best & Worst Foods Before Bed to see which foods will or will not help you sleep.
Time to Fix Your Sleep Schedule – Final Thoughts:
There is no better time than the present to fix your sleep schedule. It may take a while to get back into the groove of a consistent sleep schedule. So, don’t lose hope if it takes a few weeks to start getting used to the new routine. Also be sure to be as consistent with your schedule changes as possible, this will cut down on the amount of time it takes to adjust.
Learn more about your sleep cycle in our Complete Guide to Your Sleep Cycle.