When quarantine first began, I assumed that without having to wake up at 6 am I would finally be able to get over 6 hours of sleep; however, this was not the case. We are all home and most of us have a messed up sleeping schedule. Now, with summer in full swing, you may find your sleep schedule even more off track. This might be affecting your brain negatively, so here is why you should fix your sleeping schedule and how to do so.
Why do you need sleep?
Sleep is essential to a healthy life. Without a good night’s sleep, your risk of heart disease, strokes, and type 2 diabetes greatly increases. Sleep has also been linked to depression and your social and emotional state.
What can good sleeping habits do?
Inversely, while there are many negative effects of not getting sleep, developing consistent positive sleeping habits can have many long-lasting benefits. First of all, you can improve your athletic ability and immune functioning. Furthermore, people with good sleeping habits generally eat fewer calories and have better metabolism. Sleep can also do wonders for your productivity and concentration as it improves overall brain function. Most importantly, getting enough sleep means that you will also have a lower chance of developing the diseases that are at a heightened risk by not getting sleep.
With all of this in mind, you are probably now thinking about the ways you can improve your own sleep schedule to gain all of these benefits and avoid the detrimental effects of not getting enough sleep.
Here are some tips that I have found useful in solidifying my own sleep schedule.
Schedule Your Entire Day In Advance
One thing that I found very helpful in trying to solidify my own sleep schedule was planning out my entire day in advance. You don’t have to be super specific, but having a general outline will make you more productive and will also help you to reach a certain goal bedtime. I often find that I get preoccupied with other things and spend an excessive amount of time on my phone watching YouTube videos or scrolling through Instagram. Scheduling out your day and, more importantly, holding yourself accountable in following that schedule can help you to get back on track with sleep.
Make Sleep And A Certain Bedtime Both A Goal and A Priority
I feel like it is really easy to simply want to get more sleep; however, making sleep and more specifically a certain time that you go to bed an actual active goal can really help you to focus on it and continue to work towards it each day.
Workout In The Daytime
Exercising can help you in adjusting your sleep schedule. Nevertheless, it is also important that you don’t exercise close to when you plan on trying to fall asleep as it will delay this process.
Don’t Go On Electronics Before You Go To Bed
I found doing this to be the most difficult tip to follow through on. Since I use my phone as an alarm, I usually spend time on my phone doing other things as I set my alarm. By seeing the blue light, your natural sleep schedule gets pushed back as your body believes it is earlier in the day. Consequently, this pushes back when you go to sleep and the light exposure can make it harder to fall asleep. I found that getting a separate alarm and moving up when I charge my phone made it much easier for me to push up my sleep schedule and actually fall asleep on time.
Be Selective About What You Eat Before You Go To Bed
Eating can play an important role in falling asleep. Some say that you should eat at least 3 hours before you go to bed to reduce heartburn. Yet, some health experts also say that eating before bed is fine. Five foods that are beneficial to eat before bed include bananas, almonds, honey, oats, and turkey. Nevertheless, there are some foods that you should avoid before bed, such as red meat, broccoli, tomato sauce, dark chocolate, coffee, soda, and orange juice.
Create An Ideal Sleep Environment
This is different for each person, but it is important to find what works for you. Most people find that an environment that is dark, cool, and noiseless works best for them. However, you may find that you like a little bit of background noise or music. Improving your sleep schedule and making it a consistent part of your day is all about what works best for you and creating your own ideal sleep environment is a substantial aspect of solidifying your sleep schedule.
Do Relaxing Activities Before You Go To Bed
Being extremely stressed before you go to bed will probably delay when you can actually fall asleep, which also messes up your sleep schedule as a whole. A couple of things you can do to try and help in falling asleep include reading a book, meditating, creating a to-do list for the next day, drinking a cup of tea (decaf of course), or writing about your day in a journal. Personally, I like to listen to a calming playlist as it usually helps me to relax and fall asleep much quicker.
Don’t Take Naps
Naps can definitely disrupt your sleep schedule and so you should avoid them at all costs. Nevertheless, if you really need one, you should stick to about 20 minutes of sleep as that amount of time would be the most effective in ensuring that you regain some energy, but do not upset your natural sleep schedule.
Stick To Your Schedule
Trust me, I know how difficult it can be to truly stick to your sleep schedule, especially if you are having a hard time falling asleep at an earlier time; however, by being consistent, you will be able to normalize and implement the time that you wish to be asleep into your natural body’s sleep schedule.
It may be a little arduous to start to acclimate to a new sleeping schedule, but keep at it! Sleep is extremely important and if you continue to work through these tips, I can assure you that your sleep will improve!