Six Steps to Reset Your Sleep Schedule
Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every day for mental and physical health. But many adults fall short of this for many reasons such as shift work, advanced or delayed sleep timing, artificial light exposure, fluctuating sleep hours, behavior choices, caffeinated drinks, stress and emotional difficulties or jet lag. Sleep deficiency may lead to learning, concentration and reaction time problems, so it is important to get enough sleep each night.
Despite of the many reasons that disrupts a healthy sleeping schedule, you can still reset your sleep routine with the following steps.
Step 1. Make Consistency a Priority
Habits are formed through consistency and repetition. Pick a time when you will sleep and wake up and stick to this schedule even on days off. Starting is always the hardest part, but give it a try because it can be worth it when your body gets into a routine.
Step 2. Get Your Light Right
When exposed to light, the brain stops producing melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleep.
In the morning, get natural light as much as possible by opening curtains or taking a walk outside. This will help you wake up faster and may also help you feel alert. At night, reduce artificial lights before bedtime. This includes the light from phones, TVs and computers. Consider light blocking curtains if your bedroom is not dark enough.
Step 3. Skip Naps During the Day
If you don’t have a consistent sleep schedule, taking naps in the afternoon can further complicate sleeping patterns. Please avoid long naps as well because waking up from long naps may cause grogginess. If you really need your naps, please keep them under 30 minutes and before 3 p.m. to not disrupt your sleep at night.
Step 4. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise has many health benefits, including sleep health. Exercise promotes the production of melatonin which can help you get to sleep faster at night. You don’t need to do intense workouts, even a morning walk will do. If you wish to have an intense workout, you may do so but make sure it will be 2 hours before your bedtime.
Step 5. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
While alcohol may make you feel sleepy, alcohol intake may reduce your quality of sleep by making you prone to awakening. Caffeine on the other hand, may prevent you from getting sleepy at your set bedtime. Avoid consumption of alcohol and/or caffeine especially in the late afternoon or evening.
Step 6. Create an Inviting Sleep Environment
Avoid noise. Loud noises can prevent you from falling asleep or can distract you while you are sleeping. Find the best mattress and bedding for you and on top of that, you can add soothing scents like lavender to promote relaxation and to help you fall asleep.
If these steps are not enough for you to reset your sleep schedule, you may consider talking to your physician for professional help.