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How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Because our body clocks, which control our sleep schedules, are sensitive to light, things like how much sunlight we’re exposed to throughout the day and what types of light we’re exposed to at night affect our sleep schedules.
Additionally, things like traveling across time zones or staying up a lot later than usual can throw off sleep patterns, because we’re asking our bodies to sleep at different times than our bodies’ internal clocks are telling us to sleep. Similarly, people who do rotating shift work, such as overnight workers or truck drivers — for whom it’s difficult to stick to a consistent sleep schedule — tend to have difficulty with sleep because their body clocks run on a different schedule than they’re allowing their bodies to follow.
It’s problematic, not only because on a day-to-day basis, having a misaligned body clock and sleep schedule can result in poor sleep quality (and you not getting the sleep you need), but over time, that misalignment has been found to be linked to several chronic health problems, such as sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder, among others.
Having a severely misaligned body clock and sleep schedule is itself considered a sleep disorder. About 1 percent of adults have advanced sleep phase disorder, according to the National Sleep Foundation, meaning they go to bed early, from 6 to 9 p.m., and wake up early, between 1 and 5 a.m. (3)
Others, especially younger people, may experience the opposite — delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), or going to bed extremely late and waking up late. It’s estimated to affect as many as 15 percent of teenagers, according to the Cleveland Clinic. (4)
“DSPS is a circadian rhythm disorder associated with an inability to fall asleep at the individual’s desired time [typically they fall asleep several hours later] and an inability to wake up at the desired time,” says Dr. Zozula. “Due to the individual’s daytime obligations, a person with DSPS may be forced to wake up earlier and go against their natural circadian tendency.” This can lead to chronic sleep deprivation, poor performance, and depression.
Reset Your Broken Internal Sleep Clock & Fix Sleep Schedule
A normal sleep routine can be disrupted by shift work, traveling, or even just a busier-than-normal schedule. While you can try napping to “catch up” on sleep,
has found that napping to make up for lost sleep isn’t the most effective, and your body prefers to follow a consistent sleep pattern, instead. Instead of battling with sleepless nights and groggy days, try these five techniques to reset your internal clock and get better sleep.
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Each of us operates on a biological schedule that plays a big role in when we feel tired and when we feel awake. When our internal sleep clock is functioning normally, it sends our bodies signals to sleep in the evening and wake in the morning.
However, sometimes this sleep clock can fall out of sync, throwing your regular schedule out of whack.
This can affect your overall sleep quality while also making it difficult to fall asleep and wake up at the right times, ultimately leaving you sleep deprived or with “social jetlag” that can affect performance and moods.
If you find yourself with a broken sleep clock, there are a few strategies you can use to get back on track. Read on to learn about your sleep clock and how to reset it for better rest.
Understanding How Your Sleep Clock Works
Photo courtesy of Flickr, macabrephotographer
Before we get into fixing the problem, it can be helpful to know what your sleep clock is, what it does, and how it works so that these strategies make sense.
The term “sleep clock” refers to several biological mechanisms that control the cycle of wakefulness and tiredness, led by the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) in the hypothalamus.
This cycle is also known as the circadian rhythm. When functioning optimally, this rhythm means you will get sleepy in the evening around the same time, and wake in the morning at about the same time each day.
As far as timing goes, normal biological variation exists, with some people naturally predisposed to earlier sleep-wake times and others to later sleep-wake times. To an extent, genetics influence sleep habits but behaviors and the environment also play a role.
Science doesn’t understand everything yet, but essentially
the body’s internal clock
is influenced by a combination of external cues (like sunrise/sunset and temperature) as well as internal cues (like hormones, neurotransmitters, and genes) and behaviors (like delaying sleep or activity levels).
Resetting Your Sleep Clock and Improving Your Rest
Based on the knowledge of our sleep-wake cycle and how the body’s circadian clock works, there are a few ways to adjust sleep schedules and fix patterns.
1. Manipulate Lighting
Research suggests that manipulating light exposure may help reset the body clock, particularly for disturbances caused by jet lag. Light remains a key focus of researchers, and is often a point of treatment for sleep phase disorders.
The daily cycles of lightness and darkness are a key “zeitgeber” or cue that acts on the mechanisms of your sleep clock and circadian rhythm. Retinal ganglion cells in your eyes detect light cycles and transmit information to your SCN. In the presence of light, the SCN prompts the pineal gland to produce melatonin (the sleep hormone). When melatonin levels are high (in the absence of light), you grow drowsy and fall asleep. When your body senses light again, it ceases melatonin production to wake you.
Essentially, this means you should follow earth’s natural cues. Expose yourself to natural sunlight and bright light in the morning and throughout the day. Start dimming lights in the evening as the sun winds down, with your bedroom being virtually black and devoid of any screens.
Of course, you’ll want to limit screen time and strategically avoid blue light while resetting your sleep schedule. Blue light can trick your body into thinking its daytime when it’s really dark outside. Devices such as laptops, televisions, and cell phones all emit blue light. The longer you expose yourself to this light in the evening, the longer melatonin production is delayed. To prevent hindering your own night’s sleep, utilize the Night Mode feature on your devices or avoid them altogether.
2. Fast, Then Normalize Meal Times
Digestion and metabolism also play a role in wakefulness and sleepiness. When you eat, and to some extent, what you eat, can help you reset your sleep clock.
Harvard researchers found that, in animals, circadian rhythms shifted to match food availability. Researchers suggest that fasting for about 16 hours (for example during flight and until the next local meal time) could help reset sleep clocks for humans and reduce jetlag when traveling across time zones.
For non-jetlag sleep clock disturbances, you could try a 16-hour fast as well. Eat an early dinner (around say 4 p.m.), and then avoid food until breakfast time (8 a. m.) the following morning.
Once your sleep is back on track, stick to regular breakfast and dinner times to help support consistent circadian rhythms, with about 12 hours between breakfast and dinner. Eat dinner at least a few hours before bed, and a filling breakfast shortly after waking.
Some research also shows that saturated fats in meat and dairy may be bad to eat near bedtime, so sticking with leaner fare for dinner and eating heavier meals earlier in the day might be better.
3. Go Camping
Since natural light schedules help aid the body’s circadian rhythm, it makes sense that spending plenty of time outdoors could help restore natural cycles. For your next vacation, consider taking to the tents to reset your sleep clock.
Research published in the Current Biology journal put this hypothesis to the test, with eight participants spending one week camping without electrical lighting, smartphones or laptops.
They found this natural pattern helped synchronize biological clocks to solar time, with people sleeping earlier and waking earlier than in their normal routines. The biggest changes were seen in evening types, or “night owls.”
4. Pull An All-Nighter (or All Day-er)
One approach to reverse temporary sleep clock setbacks is to stay up one full day until the next normal bed time. This method is essentially planned sleep deprivation, so it is best done under doctor supervision.
There is not a lot of specific research on this method outside of anecdotal accounts for overcoming sleep clock problems, but it is a clinical part of chronotherapy and has been researched for depression treatment.
If you have been going to bed at 4 a.m. and waking at noon, you would wake at your normal time (perhaps on a Friday) then not sleep again until perhaps 10 p.m. the next day (Saturday). Light and mild activity could be helpful for staying awake.
Be aware that you should expect to be tired, and that you should never drive or perform any other dangerous tasks when sleep deprived.
5. Take Gradual Steps
For many people, slow and gradual changes are best when it comes to achieving long-term results. Small changes can also be easier on you physically and mentally, especially if you don’t have days to recover from sleep deficits.
Adjust your schedule by no more than 30 minutes per day, and remain at each phase until your body catches up to the changes. Once you are sleeping and waking at ideal times, don’t forget to maintain a consistent schedule every day of the week.
For example, if your sleep clock is running late by two hours, here’s a potential plan for getting back on track painlessly within one month. Each week, set your bedtime and wake time 15 minutes earlier on Sunday nights, then again on Wednesdays. After four weeks, you should be on back on track.
For large delays, it may actually be more helpful to push bedtimes forward by one to two hours until you reach a normal bedtime. If your sleep clock is delayed by several hours and gradual steps aren’t cutting it, a doctor or therapist may be able to plan a more regimented chronotherapy approach for your situation.
Practice Healthy Sleep
Don’t forget to follow essential sleep hygiene principles during, and after, your sleep clock reset.
- Stick with your plan.
- Go to bed early enough to ensure you’re getting the recommended hours of sleep (the CDC says adults need 7 to 9).
- Maintain a strict and consistent sleep schedule—go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day (even on weekends).
- Don’t take naps longer than 20-30 minutes.
- Limit caffeine after lunch.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Avoid electronics, bright lights and stress in the hours before bed.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool.
- Don’t stress about not sleeping—think in positive terms.
If improving sleep hygiene doesn’t help or your sleep schedule is impacting your daily life, you may also want to reach out to your doctor or sleep specialists. They would be able to help you set up a plan, suggest supplements, and diagnose any sleep disorders or underlying conditions to help you fix your sleep cycles.
Are You on the Right Mattress for Your Needs?
Everything we mentioned above assumes you aren’t sleeping on a bed that is so uncomfortable you spend all night tossing and turning.
It may surprise you to know we can actually pinpoint the best mattress for you based on your factors such as sleeping position, weight, body shape, and more.
For example, side sleepers tend to prefer softer mattresses. The plushness of a soft mattress helps alleviate common pressure points on their shoulders and hips.
Finding the right mattress for you will help you practice better sleep habits and, once your clock is reset, keep up a consistent sleep schedule.
Have you ever had to reset your sleep clock before? What tricks worked for you when trying to reset your sleep clock?
How to Reset Your Sleep Cycle
If you have chronic insomnia, you’ve likely been working with your doctor or a sleep specialist on ways to get more quality sleep. But sometimes, life can thwart the best-laid sleep plans. Travel, a newborn baby, shift work, and other disruptions can get in the way of your insomnia-busting habits.
Starting From Behind
Interruptions to sleep schedules can be hard on anyone. But when you have chronic insomnia, you’re already behind the curve.
“You don’t have the same sleep reserves built up,” says Tracy Chisholm, PsyD, a behavioral sleep medicine psychologist at the Portland VA Medical Center. “You’re likely to have an even harder time recovering from additional sleep disruptions because you were already struggling to operate on less than a full tank.”
You’re also more likely to dwell on the sleep you’re losing, which can trigger a negative feedback loop. “In other words, you worry about it more,” says Chisholm. “And guess what definitely does not help improve your sleep? Worry. This can become a vicious cycle.”
Preparing for Disruptions
There are practical steps you can take to help prevent or cope with sleep loss in situations that are out of your control. You can also try adjusting your mindset.
“Many times, people go into scenarios like travel assuming they’ll have difficulties with their sleep, but sometimes a change in environment can actually help you sleep better,” says Ina Djonlagic, MD, a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Bottom line: Don’t expect the worst, but practice good habits to prepare in case things go awry.
Here’s how to get back on track when certain situations mess with your sleep schedule.
Travel and Time Changes
Different time zones, strange beds in strange rooms, environments that aren’t comfortable — there are a host of ways travel can keep you from getting your ZZZs. Try these tips before your trip:
Head off jet lag. Slowly adjust your sleep schedule at home before you leave.
“About a week or two before you depart, start shifting your bedtime and wake time in small increments, to more closely match your destination time zone,” says Chisholm.
If you’re going somewhere very far away, wait until you get there and then start by following local mealtimes and sleep times, says Chisholm. Go to bed when night comes, and get up when it’s light.
Try temporary aids. Some people find low-dose melatonin or timed exposure to light to be helpful when they travel. “Correctly timing these interventions is key for effectiveness,” Chisholm says. “Consult with a sleep specialist if you’re interested in either of these approaches.”
Living With a Newborn Baby
Babies spare no one from sleep disruption. You’re at the mercy of your newborn’s sleep-wake cycle, which won’t be the same as yours. “Babies have much shorter sleep cycles than adults — 50 to 60 minutes, as opposed to our 90- to 110-minute cycles,” says Chisholm. Babies also need to eat every 2 to 3 hours.
The key is to get good sleep when you can and know things will gradually get better. You can try to:
- Sleep when your baby sleeps.
- Build up breast milk reserves by pumping between feedings, and ask a partner, friend, or family member to take over feedings when you sleep.
The term “shift work” can include evening, graveyard, or early morning shifts, as well as fixed or rotating schedules. Rotating schedules that change from one day to the next tend to be the worst for sleep. Flip-flopping your days and nights can take a toll on your health.
“Unregulated schedules are so hard that my best advice is to try to see if you can work a different schedule that better fits healthy sleep patterns,” says Djonlagic. If that’s just not possible, you can try to:
- Keep the same bedtime, wake time, and mealtimes every day of the week, even on your days off. This helps keep your internal clock set around your work schedule.
- Allow yourself enough time to wind down after work before trying to fall asleep. Don’t just come home and crash.
- Use ear plugs or white noise to help you fall asleep and stay asleep without interruption if you sleep during the day. You can also wear an eye mask and use blackout curtains.
- Stay ahead of your brain. “If your commute home happens as the sun is rising, consider wearing blue light-blocking glasses so your brain doesn’t think that you’re about to start a whole new day,” says Chisholm.
Stress turns on your fight-or-flight response, which isn’t restful at all. In fact, it prevents sleep.
“From your body’s perspective, it’s like you’re trying to sleep while a saber-toothed tiger is lurking right outside your cave,” says Chisholm. She recommends these tips:
- Create a relaxing sleep routine that you follow every night. Make sure the final steps in this routine involve a non-stimulating activity that you enjoy. “I often recommend those with insomnia read, listen to audiobooks or calming music, or practice relaxation techniques,” says Chisholm.
- Avoid watching the news or discussing intense topics right before bed. Doing those things can keep your mind and body from feeling relaxed.
- Exercise regularly, but make sure you finish at least a few hours before bedtime.
- If you have a lot on your mind, write it down, at least an hour or so before bed, to help your brain “let it go” just for the rest of the night. You can always come back to your notes in the morning.
- Consider seeking support from family, friends, or professionals to help you manage stress.
“The most important thing to keep in mind is that if you already have chronic insomnia, don’t wait to get treatment — especially if you anticipate even more sleep disruptions,” says Chisholm. “Addressing chronic insomnia first can help you better cope when these common sleep disruptors occur.”
How to Reset Your Sleep Routine: Tips & Tricks
For their mental and physical health, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep, and it’s important that they get this sleep night after night.
One of the best ways to promote consistent sleep is having a healthy sleep routine. By following a standard schedule and healthy sleep habits, the mind and body become accustomed to a routine that includes plenty of high-quality sleep.
Unfortunately, many factors can throw a sleep routine out of whack. When that happens, bedtimes and wake-up times can fluctuate wildly, and a person may bounce back and forth between nights of too much and too little sleep.
Knowing how to reset your sleep routine offers a way of resolving this type of sleep inconsistency. It also provides a blueprint for people who are looking to optimize their sleep and be in a position to get the best sleep possible every night.
Why Does a Sleep Routine Matter?
Humans are often described as creatures of habit because we become conditioned to distinct patterns of behavior through repetition of certain cues and responses. Routines can make actions nearly automatic in numerous aspects of daily life, including sleep.
Actively cultivating a healthy sleep routine makes it easier to get the sleep you need on a consistent basis. By creating habits and cues that promote sleep, the norm becomes falling asleep quickly and staying asleep through the night. With more repetition, the routine gets reinforced, facilitating increasingly stable sleep patterns over time.
What Is Circadian Rhythm?
Circadian rhythm is a principal driver of your sleep routine. It is a 24-hour cycle that is part of the body’s internal clock. Circadian rhythm is crucial to managing the delicate balance between sleep and wakefulness, helping us be alert or drowsy at the appropriate time.
Light exposure is an essential influence on circadian rhythm, which is closely aligned with the day-night cycle. When the eyes are exposed to light, the brain sends signals associated with wakefulness. When light exposure decreases at night, the signals switch to promote relaxation and sleep.
In this way, circadian rhythm helps to synchronize our internal clock with our external environment. Research demonstrates that a well-synchronized circadian rhythm can contribute not only to healthy sleep but also to numerous other aspects of health.
How Does a Sleep Routine Get Thrown Off?
There are multiple ways for sleep routines and circadian rhythms to get thrown off-kilter:
- Jet lag: Associated with rapid traveling across multiple time zones, jet lag occurs when the body’s internal clock is at odds with the day-night cycle at the travel destination.
- Shift work: People who work night shifts have to be awake when it’s dark and sleep when the sun’s out, disrupting normal circadian synchronization.
- Advanced or delayed sleep timing: Some people are extreme “early birds” or “night owls,” meaning that their sleep timing, also known as their sleep phase, is shifted forward or back by several hours.
- Artificial light exposure: Biologically, the circadian rhythm developed to correspond to sunlight long before electricity was invented. However, the brain responds to artificial light as well, which means that constant exposure to indoor lighting as well as electronic devices like cell phones, tablets, televisions, and computers can interfere with typical signals that convey whether it’s day or night.
- Fluctuating sleep hours: Many people have no set bedtime or wake-up time. Their sleep schedule can swing wildly back and forth from one day to the next or between weekdays and weekends, which prevents establishing a steady sleep pattern.
- Behavior choices: Deciding to stay up late or wake up early to study, play sports, or take part in social activities can throw off normal sleep routines.
- Caffeine and energy drinks: Stimulants may help you feel alert, but they can upset the body’s ability to naturally balance sleep and wakefulness, making it more difficult to sleep when you need to.
- Stress and emotional difficulties: Many sleeping problems are tied to stress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional or mental health problems. These conditions can cause the mind to race when it’s time for sleep or cause sleepiness during the day when you should be awake, foiling hopes of a consistent and healthy sleep routine.
How Can You Adjust Your Sleep Routine?
Adjusting your sleep routine starts by making consistency a priority. Habits and routines are powerful precisely because they are repeated over and over again in order to create a pattern.
A key first step is to reset your sleep schedule. Pick a bedtime and wake-up time that you can stick with and that offer ample time for the sleep you need. Follow this schedule every day, even on weekends.
At first, you may find it hard to adjust to this new sleep schedule, and that’s normal. A new routine won’t feel normal immediately; it takes time to get used to.
In order to gradually adjust to a new sleep schedule, you can make adjustments in 15 or 30 minute increments over a series of days. You can also focus first on the wake-up time, creating one fixed part of your schedule, and then use the tips described below to modify your sleep habits so that you can incrementally get used to falling asleep at your scheduled bedtime.
What Is the Ideal Time To Go To Bed and Wake-Up?
There is no single ideal time for going to bed and waking up that is best for everyone. In general, in order to synchronize your circadian rhythm, you should try to wake up around the start of daylight hours and wind down and get ready for bed when it gets dark in the evening.
That said, daylight hours can vary significantly based on your geographic location, and for many people, it’s impractical to follow a sleep schedule that strictly follows the day-night cycle. For that reason, the general principles to follow are that your bedtime and wake-up time should:
- Stay consistent from day-to-day
- Provide for seven to nine hours of sleep
- Align as closely with day and night as possible in your personal circumstances
What Are the Best Tips for Resetting Your Sleep Routine?
There are multiple elements to a healthy sleep routine. Setting a consistent sleep schedule is a start, but other steps can help you achieve the sleep you need.
Sleep hygiene plays an essential role in making your sleep routine effective. One fundamental part of sleep hygiene is ensuring that your daily habits and sleep environment are conducive to sleep and work in your favor:
- Get a daily dose of natural light: Because daylight is a vital influence on your circadian rhythm, exposure to natural light can promote better synchronization of your internal clock.
- Reduce artificial lighting at night: Keeping your lights on long into the evening can prevent your body from properly transitioning toward sleep. Try using a dimmer or low-wattage lamp to minimize the brightness of indoor lighting.
- Cut down on evening screen time: Cell phones and other devices are sources of excess mental stimulation and emit blue light that can affect circadian timing. To avoid the negative effects of screen time on sleep, try not to use your phone, tablet, or laptop for at least an hour before bed.
- Commit to physical activity: Regular exercise is good not only for your cardiovascular health but also for your sleep. You don’t have to be a triathlete to get these benefits; even mild physical activity like going for a walk can be beneficial, and it’s a great opportunity to get daylight exposure. If you are going to do intense exercise, try to finish your workout at least an hour before bed.
- Have a bedtime routine: Consistent cues can play a powerful psychological role in routines. For this reason, try to follow the same steps each night before going to bed such as dimming the lights, quietly reading or stretching, putting on pajamas, and brushing your teeth. Over time, those actions become cues that tell you that it’s time for sleep.
- Develop a personal relaxation plan: Being able to relax both mentally and physically is a major contributor to falling asleep easily. Regardless of whether it’s meditation, yoga, listening to soothing music, reading, or another activity, make time in your bedtime routine for whatever relaxation method that allows you to wind down.
- Be careful with naps: There are times during the day when your energy level dips and you may be tempted to nap. While naps can be restorative in some cases, they can disrupt your sleep routine if you’re not careful. As a general rule, try to keep naps under 30 minutes and only early in the afternoon so that they don’t make it harder to get to sleep at night.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine can be detrimental to a healthy sleep routine. Alcohol makes you sleepy but affects your sleep cycle, making you prone to awakenings and lower-quality sleep as the night goes on. Caffeine makes you wired and alert and can linger in your system, frustrating attempts to fall asleep at bedtime. As a result, it’s best to eliminate or reduce consumption of alcohol and caffeine, especially in the late afternoon and evening.
- Cultivate an inviting sleep environment: You want your bedroom to be quiet and dark to avoid disruptions. A cool yet comfortable temperature and soothing smells, like lavender, may promote relaxation and provide cues for sleep. Having a quality mattress, pillow, and bedding make your bed a haven for comfort and rest.
If you have significant sleeping problems, talk with your doctor about the best way to reset your sleep routine. Depending on the causes of your sleep difficulties, a doctor may recommend therapies to adjust your sleep routine such as:
- Melatonin: This hormone is made naturally by the body when darkness falls, and it helps stabilize circadian rhythm and promote sleep. For some sleep conditions, melatonin supplements can help kickstart a new sleep pattern.
- Light Therapy: This treatment involves sitting in front of a high-powered lamp for a short period of time, usually in the morning. The high dose of light is designed to help correct for a misaligned circadian rhythm.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I): This type of therapy works to identify and reorient negative thoughts and behaviors about sleep, while structuring a plan for a healthier sleep routine.
Does Pulling an All-Nighter Help Rest Your Sleep Routine?
Pulling an all-nighter doesn’t help develop a better sleep routine. Without sleeping, you’re likely to suffer from impaired thinking and concentration the next day, putting you at risk of accidents, including potentially life-threatening auto accidents.
In addition, your sleep isn’t normal after a period of sleep deprivation. For example, your sleep stages may be off-kilter because of a REM sleep rebound, which means you spend an abnormal amount of time in the rapid eye movement sleep stage. Because staying up all night is contrary to healthy sleep practices, it isn’t normally advised for resetting your sleep routine.
While there is a method, known as chronotherapy, that adjusts your sleep schedule by staying up later and later at night to reach your desired bedtime, it’s far different than just pulling an all-nighter. Even in the circumstances where it may be beneficial, chronotherapy requires careful planning and should only be conducted under the guidance of a trained health professional.
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How to reset your sleep schedule
How your body clock works
Your body clock regulates your circadian rhythm, the internal process that governs not only your sleep-wake cycle, but also your physical, mental, and behavioral changes within a 24-hour period.
Going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning might be the most well-known circadian rhythm. It works like this: your optic nerves send information about incoming light (or the lack of it) to the part of your brain that’s commonly called your biological clock. During the day, the light your eyes see or perceive triggers a signal that generates alertness; at night, melatonin is released so that you feel drowsy.
That’s why, centuries ago, people naturally went to bed at sundown and got up with the sunrise. Early to bed, early to rise — a circadian rhythm in sync with natural daylight.
Cut to modern-day busyness, technology, and distractions — and suddenly, natural sleep cycles aren’t so simple. Yes, you could still go to bed when the sun goes down, but artificial light from a lamp or light from a phone could mess with your circadian rhythm.
A small study set out to see whether humans could get back to daylight-driven sleep patterns. Eight participants were sent camping to the Rocky Mountains for one week — no flashlights, cellphones, or sources of power. The results showed that simply by changing their exposure to daylight, the participants could reset their sleep schedules.
Because they were exposed to more natural light during the day and less electric light at night, their circadian rhythms shifted by 2 hours. Not only did they go to bed and wake up earlier, but they also felt less tired upon waking, even the self-confessed night owls. This makes it clear: controlling your exposure to light is an important part of how to reset your sleep cycle.
Fixes for setting a consistent sleep schedule
You may have heard the term sleep hygiene, which refers to creating the ideal conditions for a healthy sleep cycle — and the opportunity to wake up well-rested.
It doesn’t just apply to brushing your teeth (however, that certainly doesn’t hurt!). Sleep hygiene relates to the routine that you have during the day as well as pre-bedtime, like the temperature of your bedroom or the time of day you consume caffeine. An optimized environment and well-thought-out routine can play a great role in your ability to reset your body clock. Ideal sleep hygiene can set the stage for being more focused during the day and more relaxed at night. Signs of poor sleep hygiene include fatigue and brain fog, two conditions that can deter you from resetting your sleep schedule.
When your daytime routine is off, you might feel like you’re yearning for a midday power nap to make it through the day — this could be a sign of poor sleep hygiene. In fact, a study found that napping in a dark room during the morning hours (which they defined as before 2 p.m.) disrupts circadian rhythms and sleep cycles. To keep your body clock regulating properly, reach for a quick workout the next time you’re hitting a midday wall. Opting for a workout can energize you by bringing you into the present moment, anything from low-impact stretching to high-intensity cardio can give you a boost of energy.
Another daytime activity that can greatly affect your sleep cycle is your link with food. If you can, avoid stimulants like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol a few hours before bedtime. A nightcap at 8 p.m. with a 9:30 p.m. bedtime goal will likely disrupt your sleep cycle. Even if you’re able to fall asleep when you want, there is a greater chance your sleep quality suffers.
If that 4 p.m. coffee habit seems impossible to kick, following mindful eating might help balance your relationship and patterns around food. Mindful eating can help improve your circadian rhythm by bringing intention and awareness behind each meal and ingredient you consume. It’s not a diet, cleanse, or elimination, but a practice to turn off autopilot while you eat so that you can truly enjoy each bite. When resetting your body clock, think about the times of day you’re eating and get on a schedule that is sustainable. Your circadian rhythm feeds off of your energy intake, so energize with intention.
One of the key pillars of resetting your sleep schedule is by waking up at the same time each day. Your body clock likes to run, well, like clockwork. So that means no lie-ins on weekends and no snooze button during the week. But remember, nothing happens overnight. Be patient with yourself and know that the adjustments get easier when your circadian rhythm balances. You can adjust your bedtime by 15-minute increments every 2-3 days, if you normally crash around 1 a.m., try aiming for 12:45 a.m., then 12:30 a.m., and so on.
When trying to set a consistent bedtime, be mindful about the light you’re exposed to before bed — natural or artificial. If you must use your phone, switch to night mode at least one hour before bed. In the morning, allow the sun/natural light to flood into the room.
While you’re at it, don’t forget about taking time for yourself at the end of the day. Just a few moments of alone time without distractions or notifications can do wonders for your mindset and ability to tune out.
Meditation to reset your body clock
Routines are deeply embedded in us, which is why the circadian rhythm is such a powerful tool for total body health. That said, stressors can throw off our routines, even when we have the best intentions to follow or adjust them. We can plan to go to bed 30 minutes earlier, but sometimes the mind has other plans.
Meditation can be a tool that supports the process of resetting your sleep cycle by helping to calm an overactive mind. By practicing easy meditation techniques, we might become better equipped to relax the mind more regularly and, in turn, relax the body so we can drift off to sleep on a healthy schedule.
As we continue the practice of mindfulness and taking quality time for ourselves, our circadian rhythm will follow suit.
Try turning to a guided meditation or breathing exercise. Because meditation is focused on the breath, it’s an option no matter where you are or how much time you have — whether that’s lying in bed or in between meetings. After just two minutes of a breathing exercise, it’s possible to transform your mindset from anxious to balanced. At night, an audio guide like sleepcasts* will take you on a dreamy trip — with visualizations that can drop you into a relaxed state in less than 45 minutes.
The benefits of resetting your sleep schedule stretch far and wide, from how productive you are in the daytime to how restful your sleeps are. No matter what your previous routines (or lack thereof) looked like, resetting your body clock is possible for anyone that is willing.
Be patient with yourself and know that the dread associated with the alarm clock in the mornings will eventually pass — so much so, it’s possible that you may not even need an alarm clock down once your body clock is in sync.
*Available only to Headspace Plus users
Sleep Schedules: 5 Tips to Get Back on Tack | Blog
Published on June 26, 2020
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Dr. Carl Rosenberg
It is probably fair to say that everyone’s regular schedule has been messed up in recent months. Between school closings, working from home, canceled activities, our daily organization has gotten pretty off track, and so has our nightly routine.
If you are one of the many who have been going to bed late, getting up late, and napping during the day, it is time to get back on schedule. As people head back to work, it is important that they are also getting the rest they need at night.
Time to Fix Your Bad Sleep Schedule? Here’s How…
Let’s talk about some ways that you can work to get yourself – and your family – back on a regular sleep schedule.
1. Set Your Bedtime
Here is a mathematical way to determine your ideal bedtime. The average sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes long and people should have five of these cycles to feel fully rested. If we take 90 x 5, it equals 450 minutes. When divided by 60, it equals 7.5 hours. At this point, you can count back from your preferred wake-up time to find out what time you should be in bed. If that is too complicated, try this Bedtime Calculator.
As you adapt to the new schedule, you may need to tweak this bedtime slightly to find the right balance of nighttime rest and preparation time in the morning.
2. Be Realistic When Setting Expectations
Getting too attached to a set sleep schedule or worried about not being able to fall asleep can make the process even more difficult. Elevated stress and anxiety levels will work against you, so avoid getting too attached to a particular timeframe.
When you are working to get back to a regular bedtime, try to set realistic expectations. This will help you approach the transition with a tranquil mindset and set yourself up for success. It may help you to set some simple goals related to your personal definition of good-quality rest. For some people, progress is defined by how easily they get up in the morning; for others, it may be measured in daytime energy.
3. Make Gradual Changes
If you have the time, try to work towards your goal bedtime in gradual steps. Moving the time you lie down just 10 or 15 minutes earlier each day will make the transition smoother.
If you have difficulty falling asleep at the earlier bedtime, do not lie awake and fret about how you will feel when the alarm clock goes off in the morning. After lying in bed for 20 minutes, get up and read a book or do another activity that you find relaxing and try again later when you feel sleepy. This type of stimulus control is recommended for those struggling with insomnia as well.
4. Rest Your Mind
Before you can rest your body, you should actively work to rest your mind. Take the time to relax to help alleviate those racing thoughts that so many sleepless people struggle with. We recommend starting to wind down your brain at least 60 minutes before you want to actually fall asleep.
Start by turning off the news and avoiding other stressful media late in the evening. Step away from your computer, avoid work tasks, email, and stressful conversations. Then, decide on a screen-free bedtime routine. Because the blue light and stimulation produced by televisions and mobile devices disrupt healthy sleep cycles, it is best to switch to activities like reading, listening to calming music, or an easy-listening podcast.
5. Curate Your Sleep Environment
With social isolation and stay-at-home orders, we have been spending an unprecedented amount of time in our own houses. During this period, you may have started using your bedroom for more than just sleeping. Some have turned it into an office as they work remotely. For others, it has become a quiet place for their child to study and follow lessons online.
But now that you want to get back to a healthier routine, you should try to reserve the bedroom for sleeping and create an environment that promotes good sleep hygiene. This means ensuring that the space is cool, quiet, and dark and that you are surrounded by comfortable bedding. For example, some people, a weighted blanket can help them fall asleep easier.
Watch this short video for more advice on how to get your sleep schedule straightened out.
How Long Does It Take to Adjust Your Sleep Schedule?
The process of adjusting to an earlier sleep schedule may take some time. If you make gradual modifications, you should be feeling well-rested when your alarm goes off within 10 days to two weeks. The most important factor in success is consistency. You will be able to get back on track faster if you stick to the plan. Then, once you have reached your goal bedtime, be sure to maintain it. Aim for the same bedtime and wakeup time every day to avoid falling back into your night owl ways.
Related article: 10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Fall Asleep Faster.
Sleep Disorder Testing
Chronic daytime sleepiness may be a sign that you are dealing with more than an irregular routine. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and ask for a referral for sleep disorder testing or contact Sleep Health Solutions online to set up a consultation.
Should I “Pull an All-Nighter” to Fix My Sleep Schedule?
You’ve spent too many nights staying up late studying for that exam coming up, or your kid has been sick, which means your sleep schedule is completely out of whack. By the time you can hit the hay, the sun is almost rising, and you’re debating whether it’s worth getting at least a few minutes of sleep. If you’ve told yourself to pull an all-nighter to fix your sleep schedule, you may want to rethink that idea.
Understanding Your Sleep Clock
What is a sleep clock? It’s that internal, biological alarm that sends signals to our body when it’s time for us to go to bed and when it’s time to wake up for the day. Also more formally known as the circadian rhythm. This is why the majority of us get tired around the same time at night and wake up generally about the same time. When you keep with a consistent sleep schedule, your body’s circadian rhythm automatically adjusts. On the contrary, your sleep clock can become broken if you begin to ignore your body signals more regularly. Factors that can affect your sleep clock are work, hormones, travel, stress, and let’s be honest, is that one more Netflix episode really worth it? Before you stay up all night to fix your sleep schedule, you’ll want to know how it will affect your body first.
How an All-Nighter Affects Sleep
Dark circles, bags under the eyes, constant yawning, and a struggle to keep your eyes open can all be expected when you pull an all-nighter to fix your sleep schedule. But, beyond the more obvious, short-term effects on your body, staying up all night can have long term effects on your body. Sleep is a valuable asset and gives your body the time to reboot and restore. When you go against your circadian rhythm, your body does not produce hormones correctly, which can result in weight gain. Your body primarily filters glucose when you sleep, so when you frequently stay up all night to fix your sleep schedule, the long-term health risks could be diabetes or, in more serious cases, kidney failure.
Healthy Ways to Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Hopefully, by now, you understand that you should not pull an all-nighter to fix your sleep schedule. So, what’s the healthiest option for you and your body? We recommend you follow these tips, and your sleep schedule will gradually be back to normal.
- Control Lighting – Keep your mornings bright and your nights dark that means avoiding electronics at night as well.
- Watch Your Meals – Try not to eat right before bed, especially a large meal. If you’re hungry, opt for a light snack that’s low in sugar but high in protein.
- Get Some Exercise – Exercise naturally releases energy, making you feel tired. Avoid any strenuous activity right before bed, but if you’re feeling active, try yoga or stretching.
- Limit Caffeine – Do your best to avoid caffeine after lunch.
- Practice Healthy Sleep – Most of all, be strict and consistent on your sleep schedule.
Sleep Doctor in Jacksonville, FL
The best thing you can do for your body to get your sleep clock back on track is practicing healthy sleep hygiene and routine. If you’ve tried every tip in the book, but nothing seems to get you back to your normal circadian rhythm, it may be time to see a sleep specialist. At Jacksonville Sleep Center, we take an individualized approach to your health and quality of life. Get the undivided attention you need with the highest form of sleep assessments and treatments, so you can get back to enjoying your life. Contact us today, and you’ll be well on your way to sound sleep.
How to properly restore sleep mode
It does not matter what exactly caused you to be unable to fall asleep and wake up at the desired time – a change in the time zone or insomnia. Only one thing is important: it is quite possible to normalize the sleep mode.
Here are some of the scientifically-backed recommendations of from experts at the renowned medical resource WebMD.
1. Control the light
The obvious fact: we fall asleep when it’s dark and wake up when it gets brighter.The hormones melatonin and cortisol are responsible for this.
The first is produced in the pineal gland (pineal gland) only in conditions of darkness: the part of the brain that is responsible for the biological clock, the suprachiasmal nucleus in the hypothalamus, beeps about it. Melatonin lowers body temperature, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels. Together, these processes make our body go into hibernation. When it brightens again, melatonin levels drop and drowsiness subsides.
The amount of cortisol, on the contrary, decreases in conditions of darkness and an increase in the level of melatonin.Less cortisol – less stress – deeper relaxation and easier sleep.
If the complexity is dark, melatonin is not produced in the right amount. And cortisol is on the rise.
The conclusion is simple. If you want to fall asleep at the desired time, make your brain dark. Hang blackout curtains on the windows, turn off all lights, and do not surf social media before bed. The last point is especially important.
Electronic devices are a source of so-called blue light, which is particularly effective in reducing the level of melatonin.And at the same time it increases concentration. We would like to relax and sleep, but if you’ve seen enough of the “blue” screen, the body will resist. In general, turn off your TV and computer, put your mobile and tablet aside at least an hour before going to bed.
2. Forbid yourself to sleep during the day
If you need to restore the regimen, give up the siesta. Sleep during the day is likely to make it difficult to get back to the night.
An important point: if you feel so tired that you literally fall off your feet in the middle of the day, you can still take a nap.But try to devote no more than 20 minutes to this. And preferably before 15:00.
3. Don’t just lie in bed
If you can’t sleep for 20 minutes or more, get up and do something relaxing (take a deep breath, meditate, turn on the dim lights and read a book), and do not look in ceiling.
By staying in bed, you train your brain that you can lie in the dark and not sleep. This risks becoming a bad habit.
4. Wake up at the same time every day
It is not always possible to convince the body to fall asleep at the right hour.But it is quite possible to schedule a wake-up time.
Waking up at the same time every day, you set a rhythm for the body and thus adjust your biological clock to function according to a certain schedule.
5. Practice good sleep hygiene
Here are some rules to help you fall asleep at the desired time:
- Provide silence. Close the windows, doors, try to prevent extraneous sounds from entering your bedroom. If it doesn’t work, use a white noise generator.
- Sleep in a cool room. The ideal temperature of is 15–19 ° C.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks, especially in the afternoon. These include not only coffee and tea, but also all kinds of energy drinks and often even regular soda.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable. A mattress that is too soft (or, on the contrary, very hard) and lumpy pillows lead to the fact that you will unconsciously turn around in bed in search of a more comfortable position.And these movements reduce the quality of sleep.
- Be sure to exercise during the day. Regular exercise will increase your chances of a healthy rest.
6. Do not eat before bed.
The body clock also reacts to eating patterns. We eat during the day, we do not eat at night. Therefore, if you are eating (or your gastrointestinal tract is busy actively digesting what has been eaten), the body believes that it is still a day. So, it’s too early to fall asleep.
Try to eat no later than 2-3 hours before going to bed.
An additional unpleasant effect: knowing that they feed in the evenings, the body will try to stay awake at this time tomorrow (the day after tomorrow and so on). Therefore, it would be nice to make early dinners regular, so that the body gets used to it: there is nothing to wait for food late, it is better to sleep.
7. Try to starve
Scientists at Harvard have found that in animals, circadian rhythms (as the internal biological rhythms of the body are called) shift depending on the availability of food. Based on this, the researchers suggest that 12–16-hour fasting may help with jetlag insomnia – jet lag.
To restore sleep mode, even without jetlag, try a 16 ‑ hour fast. Eat early dinner for several days (for example, around 4:00 pm) and then avoid eating until breakfast (around 8:00 the next morning). When the regimen is normalized, switch to a 12-hour interval between dinner and breakfast. It is good not only for sleep, but also for overall health.
8. Go hiking
With backpacks and tents. At least three days, but preferably a week – to increase the effect.
The natural change of day and night helps to restore the body’s circadian rhythms.
For example, a study published in Current Biology provides a test of this theory.
Eight participants in the experiment went on a hike, where they spent a week without artificial lighting, phones or laptops. During this period, the biological clocks of all volunteers were rebuilt, synchronized with the solar time: people began to easily wake up at dawn and fall asleep at nightfall.This effect was most pronounced in those who, prior to the start of the experiment, positioned themselves as an owl.
9. Try not getting enough sleep
Another effective, albeit controversial, way to restore your sleep pattern is to stay awake for exactly one day. When the long-awaited evening finally comes, you will surely fall asleep as soon as your head touches the pillow.
This method is pretty cool, of course. But the researchers were able to prove the connection of daily sleep deprivation with the activation of a certain type of brain cells that produce the protein adenosine.It is extremely important for the regulation of sleep: a sufficient amount of adenosine helps to normalize the sleep-wake cycle.
- Since the method is rather harsh, you can resort to it only after consulting a doctor – the same therapist.
- During periods of sleep deprivation, avoid driving and other tasks that require alertness and concentration.
10. Talk to your GP
It is normal to have trouble sleeping from time to time.In most cases, it is enough to change your lifestyle according to the list above and you will get enough sleep again.
However, if, despite all your efforts, insomnia and other inconveniences persist, it is worth contacting a therapist. You may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. Such conditions require treatment – sometimes even medication.
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Restore sleep mode: TOP-10 ways
A person spends a third of his life in a dream.It often happens that the regime is out of order: in the evening it is difficult to fall asleep, in the morning it is impossible to force yourself to get up by the alarm clock. What to do when sleep patterns are disturbed?
There may be several reasons for this – stress, change of time zone, chronic diseases. In any case, it is important to quickly return to normal rhythm. After all, bad sleep inevitably leads to other problems. Not being able to rest normally, a person becomes irritable, his performance decreases, immunity falls, and constantly experienced stress can develop into depression.What will the experts answer us: how to restore sleep mode?
10 ways to restore sleep mode
- Follow regular schedule
Everyone knows about the importance of the daily routine. Go to bed and wake up every day at the same time, and soon the body will tune in to wakefulness or rest at the “right” hours. True, if you are used to going to bed long after midnight, you will not be able to change the regime in one day. Shift the time by 20-30 minutes every day, and resist the temptation to sleep longer on weekends – your schedule will be disrupted again.The general rule is that the time of getting up and going to bed should not differ more than half an hour from day to day.
- Choose your lighting
The bedroom should be dark at night. The fact is that melatonin, a hormone that ensures normal sleep, is produced only in complete darkness. At the same time, production of cortisol, the “stress hormone”, decreases in the dark and rises in the daytime. Our body is sensitive to changes in illumination, perceiving light as a signal to wake up.Even dim light (such as from a backlit watch) is enough to disrupt sleep. So remove nightlights, glowing gadgets and blackout curtains from your bedroom.
- Maintain daily physical activity
Apart from the obvious health benefits, regular physical activity can help relieve sleep problems. People who play sports fall asleep faster, sleep better and wake up less often at night because their levels of serotonin, the “happiness hormone”, rise.It is better to go in for sports in the morning or in the afternoon. If you only have time for training in the evening, finish it no later than 3-4 hours before bedtime.
- Monitor the power supply
If you have insomnia, reconsider your diet. In the afternoon, refrain from “heavy” food (this, for example, fatty foods). You should not “accumulate hunger” during the day, so that later you can eat up at night. It is better to build the daily ration so that no more than 20% of the total calories are consumed for dinner.Another tip: to normalize sleep, eat dinner no later than 3-4 hours before bedtime. If you can’t go to bed on an empty stomach (sometimes it is difficult to fall asleep due to hunger), have a small snack before bed. The key word here is “small” – just a serving of yogurt or a handful of nuts and dried fruits.
- Listen to soothing music
Research has shown that soft, relaxing music can significantly improve sleep quality and reduce stress levels.Listening to this kind of music before bed will help you relieve the stress of a hard day and get into relaxation mode. But doctors do not recommend falling asleep under a TV or audio player.
- Prohibit caffeine
Caffeine is a powerful nervous system stimulant that helps the body invigorate. Many people need it in the morning, but a cup of coffee in the afternoon can disrupt your sleep plans. By the way, caffeine is found not only in coffee, but also in tea (including green tea), cocoa, chocolate, coca-cola and energy drinks.If you are trying to get a good sleep routine, avoid these foods after lunch.
- Take out gadgets
All parents know that after watching cartoons, children become excitable, moody and do not sleep well at night. For an adult, gadgets act in the same way. If you usually watch TV, play video games, or use social media in the evening, try to change your habits and remove gadgets from your life at least an hour before bed. Read a book, and if you are completely unbearable without a TV, watch a light comedy.
- Avoid daytime sleep
Sometimes we are tempted to take an afternoon nap. It might be a good idea to “reboot” and get back to work with renewed vigor. There are only two restrictions: the daytime sleep should be short (no more than 15 minutes) and not start later than 16-00 – otherwise you will not fall asleep in the evening. But for people of the older generation, daytime sleep is often necessary. Elderly people find it difficult to align their sleep schedule, as the body produces less melatonin with age, and the quality and duration of sleep at night decreases.And a nap can be a solution to the problem. Here you will find additional tips on how to deal with insomnia in this case.
- Try yoga
Yoga classes, especially meditation and breathing practices, help to relax and find inner harmony, which significantly improves the quality of sleep. As with sports, regularity and consistency are important in yoga practice.
- Reduce bedroom temperature
One of the most common causes of insomnia is inappropriate air temperature.Doctors believe that it is optimal when the bedroom is no warmer than 18-20 degrees. Also, do not go to bed in a stuffy room: be sure to ventilate the bedroom before going to bed and, if possible, leave the window ajar overnight.
What if you cannot restore sleep mode?
If you follow our recommendations, but you cannot correct the situation on your own, see your doctor. Sleep problems can be a sign of a medical condition that you are not aware of.The doctor will conduct the necessary examinations and help to return to normal rhythm as quickly as possible and without damage to health.
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90,000 Can you transform yourself from an owl into a lark?
- Brian Borzikowski
- BBC Capital
Photo author, Thinkstock
The best lark is a rooster
Dennis Breuer from Chicago, like many other people, fails get your day to work at eight o’clock.
Breuer, a private asset manager, spent several extra hours late in the evening at work for years: from about 10:00 pm to 1:00 am he sorted out e-mail and completed his day’s projects. He went to bed at 01:30 and woke up at 07:30.
But he has four children at home, all under the age of five, and Breuer found it increasingly difficult to work at night. He decided that he should try to get up early, so as not only to regain his former productivity, but also to become more successful.
“Successful people get up at dawn,” he says. “I decided to try it too. I worked all day long and didn’t want to work at night anymore.”
In a 2008 study by the University of Texas in the US, students who get up early performed better, with an American grading average of 3.5 versus 2.5 for late sleepers. In the same year, a professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany found that people who wake up early (between 05:00 and 06:00) are more proactive than those who wake up late; they are better at predicting potential problems and often perform better.According to other studies, “owls” are sometimes smarter and more creative, but “larks” are more optimistic and conscientious.
Many successful senior managers say they get up early. General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey wake up at 05:30. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and Apple CEO Tim Cook get out of bed at about 04:30. Cellular giant Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao is on his feet by 06:00. The list goes on.
Thus, in theory, the “owl” turned into a “lark” can become more successful. But is it possible to force yourself to get up at dawn by willpower – or gradually accustom the body to this?
George Burgess, the 22-year-old CEO of Gojimo, which has developed a mobile app for preparing students for exams, tried to be a morning person, but failed.
He got down to business diligently, confident that early awakenings would help increase his performance.He usually went to bed between midnight and 02:00. He reasoned that if he could move the bedtime by two to four hours, he would wake up at 06:00, and not after 08:00, as usual.
Author of the photo, Thinkstock
Even the largest mug of coffee sometimes does not help …
At first everything worked out. Burgess began his experiment after one flight from London to California, where he attended university. The difference in time zones helped him to wake up earlier after arrival, and he began to pack daily at 22:00.
At 06:00 the alarm clock rang, Burgess woke up, went to the shower, drank coffee and sat at his desk. The results met expectations: he felt refreshed and managed to get more done in the morning.
“It was a good time to get busy,” he recalls. “Nothing is happening around [in the early morning], so it’s easier to deal with difficult tasks.”
But after a couple of weeks it became more and more difficult for him to keep in this mode.
If after a party or business event he went to bed later than the schedule, then the next morning he could not bring himself to get up.It was also difficult to wake up if there were no important things to do in the morning. If at 09:00 he had no classes or meetings, he slept longer. Attempts to schedule a gym at 07:00 did not help either.
“I woke up broken and boiled all day,” says Burgess. After five weeks, he decided to give up his venture.
How to wake up?
Most people are not able to take and change the time of going to sleep and the time of awakening at once – the body does not allow us.Our circadian rhythm is controlled by a small region of the brain, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, explains Dr. Nathaniel Watson, co-director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at the University of Washington and future president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
The suprachiasmatic nucleus has a very strong effect on sleep and wakefulness, because it controls the genetic component of the daily biorhythm. Other factors (for example, age and lifestyle) can influence the time of our awakening, but about 50% of our regimen is determined by genes.
Many of us cannot fall asleep in the wrong phase of the biorhythm. And the biorhythm, unfortunately, does not always correspond to the standard working day from nine to five.
“If the working day starts earlier than a person would like,” says Dr. Watson, “sleep deprivation builds up and it becomes more and more difficult to get out of bed.”
In his opinion, it is possible to change the mode of sleep and wakefulness, but this requires a lot of effort: if you want to get up at an early unusual for you, then for this you will have to fight with your own DNA.
To increase your chances of winning this fight, you need to take some measures, starting with the simplest: it should be light in the bedroom in the morning and dark at night.
“Light is the most important factor,” Watson explains. “It affects your internal clock the most. It is much stronger than melatonin or any other sleeping pill.”
There is enough natural light to wake up, but in winter it does not dawn very early in many latitudes.
Watson advises to get a light source with an illumination of 20,000 lux for the winter season and turn it on for 15 minutes in the morning.You can also keep on the bedside table a “dawn simulator” – a special alarm clock, the brightness of which increases gradually.
Dennis Breuer, mentioned at the beginning of the article, does not use such lamps, but instead puts his alarm phone on the other side of the bedroom. Hearing the alarm at 04:30, he gets out of bed to turn it off, after which he immediately goes to the shower and washes away the rest of his sleep.
Waking up early is only half the battle.It is also necessary to go to bed early, and it is not easy for the “owls” to do this.
For starters, you need to stop drinking coffee after 14:00, do not exercise for at least four hours before bedtime, have a hearty lunch, and eat less for breakfast and dinner. Such advice comes from Dr. Kenny Pang, a Singapore-based otolaryngologist specializing in sleep disorders.
He adds that the bedroom should be as dark as possible – you need to put down your smartphone and turn off the TV at least an hour before bed.
Photo author, Thinkstock
Is it difficult to wake up in the morning? Forget about your computer before bed!
Dr. Watson also emphasizes that this is a very important point. Modern technologies contribute to insomnia: the screens of phones, tablets and TVs emit light in the blue part of the spectrum, and it is a powerful stimulant.
“Before going to bed, you bombard the brain with blue radiation,” he says.
Falling asleep early is generally possible, but not everyone succeeds. Some people suffer from sleep disorders and are unable to change their schedule without medical attention. Others simply cannot stay on the “early bird” schedule for long.
A person sleeps best when his body knows that the sleep period has come according to plan. Therefore, Watson says, you can become a morning person only if you go to bed early and get up every day without exception.
That is, soaking up in bed on Saturday morning will not work.
“It’s called the social time zone syndrome,” Watson explains.
It was initially difficult for Dennis Breuer to learn to go to bed early. But now, packing up at 22:00, he turns off the TV in advance and puts the phone away so that nothing distracts him.
It takes him about half an hour to fall asleep. And if a dream does not come, then he reads something at work.”By themselves, these documents are not boring enough to make me sleepy. The process of reading puts me to sleep,” he says.
Do you need it?
Despite the fact that according to the results of research, “larks” are developing a good reputation, Dr. Pang does not recommend headlong changes to their sleep schedule. He emphasizes that the best sleep for any person falls between 23:00 and 07:00. According to the expert, it is much more important to sleep for eight hours every day than to get up early at dawn.
If you sleep less than eight hours – and this is probably the case if you wake up at 05:00 – then sooner or later you will have to catch up.
“No one wakes up by themselves at five in the morning,” says Pang.
Dennis Breuer is still satisfied with the progress of his experiment, which has been going on for six months. He sometimes regrets that he cannot watch TV late in the evening, but his performance has increased significantly.
He answers his email until 06:30 when his children wake up. Therefore, he does not waste time on this, arriving at the office, but immediately starts meeting with clients and is developing his business.
“Things are going uphill,” he says. “Now I am much more organized than before. Work efficiency is a hundred times better, and family life has improved too. When I come home, I am already tired of work and can spend time with children “.
How to restore sleep and rest?
Adults often knock themselves off the regime, which is why they cannot fully rest during the working week.This happens due to rush jobs, entertainment, stress, alcohol consumption. It is necessary to help the body to establish a sleep schedule in time.
Why is it important to have a rest regime?
A correct daily schedule is essential for every person. If it is violated, then it can threaten the consequences: absent-mindedness, inability to concentrate, decreased performance, irritability, chronic fatigue, a tendency to depressive conditions, fainting, headaches, feeling unwell, decreased physical activity.
Attention! Prolonged inability to sleep is fraught with hallucinations, the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes mellitus.
What does proper sleep patterns mean?
A good daily routine means that a person goes to bed and gets up at about the same time.
Doctors recommend going to bed at 22-23 hours. By this time, the body begins to produce melatonin, a hormone essential for sleep.Thanks to him, a person falls asleep faster, rests better.
An adult is supposed to sleep 7-8 hours a day. You need to get up at about 7 o’clock in the morning to be refreshed and rested. A person will be able to fully rest, feel vigorous during the day, be physically active, not feel weak and desire to go to sleep as soon as possible.
Attention! Sleep and wakefulness should be restored gradually, it will not work abruptly.Going to bed should be planned 15–20 minutes earlier, and you should also get up 15–20 minutes earlier.
How to recover from a lost sleep mode?
You can normalize your sleep and rest routine by following these tips:
- You need to plan your day so that you have time to sleep.
- Do not overeat before bed, do not go to bed on an empty stomach. The last meal is best done 3 hours before bedtime.
- Do not use alcohol for sleeping pills.Chamomile, linden, valerian, thyme or mint with a spoonful of natural honey can cope with this.
- Do physical activity, go for a jog in the fresh air, or just walk for a few hours before going to bed.
- Listen to melodic, calm music. Well suited for these purposes classics or sounds of nature. Reading books is an alternative.
- Do not concentrate on worries and difficulties before going to bed, but think about something calm, pleasant.
- During the day, it is worth minimizing the intake of coffee or energy drinks.
- The fastest falling asleep is ensured by darkness, so you need to hang special blackout curtains, turn off the TV, gadgets, table lamps, lamps.
- Electrical and household appliances should not emit sound at night. If someone writes messages at night, you need to turn off the sound on the phone.
- If there are animals at home, the bedroom door must be closed.Animals often interfere with rest.
- Understand that fresh air helps you fall asleep faster, so you should ventilate the room before going to bed.
- After the alarm rings, you need to get out of bed immediately, and not try to “sleep” for another 10 or 15 minutes. A glass of cool water, rhythmic music and exercise will help you wake up.
Attention! It is important to show persistence and consistency in changing the schedule. You need to go to bed and wake up at the same time not only during the work week, but also on weekends.
In the modern rhythm of life, it is important to feel rested, vigorous, fresh. To do this, you must follow the daily routine.
A way to normalize sleep was named: People: From life: Lenta.ru
Physician, immunologist Irina Yartseva called Sputnik radio a way to normalize sleep. She advised taking melatonin supplements, however, according to the doctor, a number of conditions must be met.
Melatonin, a hormone that promotes good sleep, is produced in the body of a sleeping person at night.With a regular violation of the sleep regimen, there is a lack of it, which greatly affects health, the physician noted. She also warned that nighttime activity leads to the release of the stress hormone, which in turn exacerbates sleep problems that become difficult to address.
“If a person does not sleep at night, cortisol is produced, a stress hormone that is necessary to support the body at this time of day so that it does not sleep. This leads to a disturbance in the rhythm of sleep, when a person cannot fall asleep normally, his sleep becomes inadequate, intermittent, and even eight hours of sleep is not enough for full recovery, in the morning a person gets up broken, ”said Yartseva.
It is possible to provide the body with melatonin with the help of dietary supplements, but this will help restore normal sleep only in combination with other measures: do not stay up late, do not use gadgets before bed, do not watch TV, do without bright light.
If a person can normalize his sleep, observing the time for going to bed and taking melatonin, then his body will again begin to independently produce the hormone in the required amount, the doctor said. Also, as noted by the therapist, the ability to fall asleep deeply without taking any medications will be restored.
Earlier, British nutritionist Lola Biggs talked about a diet that improves sleep. According to the expert, food is able to influence circadian rhythms – fluctuations in the intensity of biological processes associated with the change of day and night. Because they are regulated by the hormone melatonin, which is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan, eating foods with tryptophan can help you sleep better. Biggs cites chicken as the main source of this substance.
When to sleep? Sleep Tips | Blogs OTP
Sleep takes one third of our day on average, but this does not prevent each person from sleeping on their own schedule.Despite this, there are always general guidelines for the most beneficial and correct sleep pattern. To debunk myths and answer frequently asked questions about sleep, we learned the opinion of three somnologists and highlighted the most important thing.
- How much sleep and when?
- How to live for those who work at night?
- Can you sleep on the subway?
- What to do with sleep while on vacation?
- Why is evening sleep harmful?
- Can sleep twice a day for 4 hours replace one 8-hour sleep?
This picture is walking on the Internet.Is it true that sleep from 7 pm to 9 pm will be evaluated by the body as sleep at 1 pm?
Irina Zavalko (neurologist-somnologist):
The idea of the value of sleep at a certain time is called “golden hours of sleep”, but this is a myth. Perhaps it is based on the fact that delta sleep is considered the most restorative, most of which occurs in the first three hours of sleep. Further, in the morning delta sleep becomes less, and the person is in superficial, slow and dreaming sleep.The latter is mistakenly regarded as superficial, although it is also very important. That being said, in Western Europe and America, people usually go to bed at 9-10 hours, so most sleep research focuses on the interval from 9 to midnight, from 10 to 1. This is where the legs of this myth grow, which has absolutely nothing to do with scientific somnology.
Vladimir Dorokhov (head of the laboratory “Neurobiology of sleep and wakefulness” at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences):
Sleep quality depends on the coincidence of time with the peak of the hormone “sleep” – melatonin, the maximum of which is observed in the blood in 1 3 a.m. depending on the chronotype (owl, lark).The rise in the level of melatonin begins at 22-23 hours, so sleep from 19 to 21 hours is ineffective and harmful. It disrupts further night sleep.
Roman Buzunov (President of the Russian Society of Somnologists):
There is hardly a single person in the world who can sleep a couple of hours in the evening and then feel refreshed until the next night. An hour of sleep is equivalent to an hour of sleep. Point.
As for the time of sleep (at what hours to sleep) – it should be determined not by the astronomical clock, but by the chronotype of the person.Try to make the owl lie down at 21 o’clock – and the person simply will not be able to fall asleep!
What do you think about daytime and evening sleep? Is a short nap of 10-20 minutes good for you?
Irina Zavalko (neurologist-somnologist):
Daytime sleep (siesta) is one of the most common daytime sleep patterns. Usually it falls at the same time as preschoolers sleep in the gardens. If a person falls asleep quickly and feels good after a nap, then this is a good option.Night sleep is bad because it can prevent you from falling asleep at night.
Scientifically proven that a short nap helps to invigorate. For 10-20 minutes, a person does not have time to plunge into the deep stages of sleep, which prevents the development of drowsy intoxication, then you can wake up broken, sway for a long time. Longer sleep may interfere with falling asleep at night.
Evening sleep, which does not turn into a long night’s sleep, is harmful.A short nap of 10-20 minutes with prolonged work, both day and night, is definitely useful for restoring performance. The prerequisite is that this short sleep contains at least 3 minutes of the second stage of slow wave sleep, with carotid spindles in the electroencephalogram. This short nap is called PowerNap – energy-giving short nap.
Roman Buzunov (President of the Russian Society of Somnologists):
Daytime sleep is permissible if a person, for some reason, does not get enough sleep at night.In this case, sleep allows you to replenish your strength, freshen up for several hours. However, it is important not to harm your sleep at night. It is advisable to sleep no more than 30 minutes and wake up no later than 15 o’clock in the afternoon – in this case, falling asleep at night is safe. It is undesirable to sleep in the evening. American scientists have found that even 10 minutes of sleep restore vigor for 1 hour, and 15-20 minutes can invigorate for several hours.
What advice can you give to people who work at night?
Irina Zavalko (neurologist-somnologist):
In the evening, before duty, you can sleep in order to be vigorous and active during the shift.After work, you need to return without being exposed to sunlight, that is, hiding behind dark glasses or, if possible, not going outside at all. At home, you can sleep a little, and then fall asleep earlier at night or at your usual time. More often, the option is chosen when a person holds out until the evening, goes to bed earlier and sleeps longer at night. If a person always works at night, then he can always sleep at some other time, for example, from morning to lunch or, conversely, before his working day, from evening to the beginning of the work shift.
The most important advice is not to do this, not to work at night! However, with certain gene variants, some people find it easier to shift work on night shifts. In fact, they are the ones who work at night. But in any case, long-term work on the night shift will definitely shorten the life. The place for sleeping during the day, as well as for sleeping at night, should be comfortable. The room is darkened, with no noise, ventilated, with an air temperature below 20 degrees.
Roman Buzunov (President of the Russian Society of Somnologists):
Do not drink alcohol on the day before the shift. During the night shift, it is advisable to eat only light food in small quantities. If you drink coffee or strong tea, then do it only in the first half of the night, and stop taking them 6 hours before the end of the shift. Drink water during the night shift (0.7-1 liters per night). This helps prevent dehydration, which exacerbates the effects of circadian rhythm disturbances.After the shift, if it’s far from home, it’s better to get there by transport, otherwise, firstly, you will lose time that you could spend on sleep, and secondly, because of a fast walk, cheer up and, perhaps, do not want to sleep at home.
Is it possible to sleep in a chair, in a subway or electric train?
Irina Zavalko (neurologist-somnologist):
It is impossible to sleep in the metro. Here the question is not only in the posture, but also in the uneven acceleration of the train. In the deepest stages of sleep, the muscles relax, and the person simply will not be able to sit, but will collapse, fall.The brain begins to control the posture, not allowing you to go into these deep sleep phases. Although at the same time the rocking itself, similar to rocking a stroller, even deepens the sleep of an adult, but with uneven rocking and in a sitting state, you cannot get enough sleep.
Yes, you can, if you have the habit and ability to sleep while sitting. But only if you can quickly move to the second phase of sleep.
Roman Buzunov (President of the Russian Society of Somnologists):
In an uncomfortable position, sleep can become more superficial and interrupted.On the other hand, different people have different “sensitivity” to discomfort. And sometimes you want to sleep so much that you will fall asleep not only while sitting, but even while standing – and you will benefit from this if sleep is sorely lacking.
Why do some people sleep for more than eight hours?
Irina Zavalko (neurologist-somnologist):
7-8 hours is the most frequent duration of sleep. In general, 9-10 hours is also considered the norm. We call such people long-sleeping. If a person sleeps for more than 10 hours, then sleep disturbances may already appear.Long-term sleep can be caused by diseases, for example, apnea (stopping breathing during sleep), periodic movement of the limbs, bruxism. Prolonged sleep can be a manifestation of hypersomnia, a condition that is accompanied by increased sleepiness and, in some cases, prolonged sleep duration. Accordingly, in the case of a very long sleep, there are reasons to contact a somnologist and find out if everything is in order.
Usually, when people sleep for more than eight hours for a long time, this means that they have poor quality sleep, and they try to get a better sleep by lengthening the time in bed.This is an indicator of sleep problems and they should see a doctor somnologist.
Roman Buzunov (President of the Russian Society of Somnologists):
There is a certain category of people whose need for sleep is 9-12 hours. For them, long sleep is the norm. There are those who oversleep because of free time, or banal out of laziness, or after a long, chronic lack of sleep. In this case, the habit of sleeping for a long time is not healthy: it, according to studies, contributes to a decrease in intelligence, an increased risk of strokes and other health problems.It is not difficult to reduce the duration of sleep if it is excessive: you just need to start sleeping according to the schedule.
Can sleep twice a day for 4 hours replace one 8-hour sleep?
Irina Zavalko (neurologist-somnologist):
Polyphasic sleep is possible if it suits a specific person. If it is possible to create the necessary conditions, sleep again, in addition to the night, if the two pieces of sleep do not interfere with each other. Naturally, with polyphasic sleep, you need to adhere to it always, and not sleep from time to time, because this can disrupt sleep, interfere with rhythms.Usually, after all, it is not pieces 4 and 4 that are lined up, but daytime sleep, focusing on cycles, it turns out about 1 hour 15-30 minutes. With a regular regimen, there is no particular advantage in polyphasic or monophasic sleep. The main thing is regularity, a quick fall into sleep for both pieces and the right sleep conditions.
There are various polyphasic sleep modes that really allow you to shorten your sleep time and stay effective while awake.But somnologists do not recommend living in such modes for a long time, as they cause malfunctions of our biological clock, deterioration in health and, as a result, the emergence of various pathologies.
Roman Buzunov (President of the Russian Society of Somnologists):
Man is a diurnal animal. We are naturally assigned monophasic sleep at night. Should I crush it? Sometimes it is a necessity when you do not get enough sleep at night and get some sleep during the day. Otherwise, there is no reason to interrupt your sleep.Rather, it is harmful.
How to properly change your sleep patterns? How to determine an individual sleep rate?
Irina Zavalko (neurologist-somnologist):
The individual norm is determined as follows: either purely mathematically, namely the arithmetic average sleep duration per week. We add up the sleep hours of seven nights and divide by seven. However, it is more correct to get enough sleep for two weeks, for example, on vacation. How many hours a person will need to sleep by the end of this rest will be an individual norm.The fact is that if you just try to get enough sleep, then as a rule the sleep will be longer, because most modern people do not get enough sleep.
To shift sleep to an earlier one, it is easier for adults to immediately fix the desired wake-up time, start the day actively. But you don’t need to go to bed in advance. On the first day, as usual. Then – earlier, when the desire to sleep arises.
In any case, it is necessary to establish a sleep regime: go to bed and wake up at the same time, taking into account the above recommendations.And only after that try to shorten the sleep time. The criterion for a good sleep is to feel well and to work effectively throughout the day.
Roman Buzunov (President of the Russian Society of Somnologists):
During the most active period of your life, how much did you need to get the minimum sleep on a working day in order to feel vigorous until the evening? Answer this question and you will get the value of the individual sleep rate.
Then you can change your routine to start sleeping according to your norm.You don’t need any special knowledge and skills to draw up a regime. If you are an owl, then it is advisable to go to bed and get up later, and if you are an early bird, then earlier. Most likely, you will have to focus on social rhythms: adjust the rise to the time when you need to get up to work.
A Busy Person Eating & Sleeping Well Is Not a Myth
Meet Robin – a citizen of the world, a business owner, a beekeeper, a swimmer, a musician, a loving mother … All Robin’s occupations cannot be enumerated.She is one of those people who dreams of the 25th hour in a day, because in one extra hour you can do so much. But so far there are only 24 hours in the earthly day and not a minute more, which means that Robin is forced to monitor the time very strictly. If you are a busy person, then you probably already guessed that Robin used to often save time on sleep and eat literally on the run.
A busy schedule is not a reason to sleep and eat poorly!
Since Robin has been living with chronic lung disease for a long time, she knows quite a lot about the needs of her body: “I know how it [the disease] affects my sleep, how exercise affects my health in general, which exercises can negatively affect breathing.” …Due to her illness, our heroine already knew a lot about her characteristics, but she still needed more information. She was looking for a convenient and high-tech device that would make it easy to monitor her health and keep herself in shape.
Irregular and poor sleep was the main problem for Robin, so first of all it was important for her to objectively look at her sleep patterns. She had seen many different sleep trackers, but she also needed a device that would allow her to assess her lifestyle and body from different angles.
Not just a fitness tracker
“In addition to my sleep and activity, I wanted to keep track of my water and calorie balance. At the same time, I in no way wanted to buy a shirportreb, which everyone has and does not work well, “recalls Robin,” many of my friends simply threw their bracelets away, having played enough, or simply could not understand their work. That is why I was looking for something that would involve in the process, a device that could offer me the most detailed information. “
These searches led Robin to the HEALBE GoBe smart bracelet, different versions of which she has been using for a long time.
During this time, Robin has become practically an expert on smart bracelets. She gladly shared with us her experience of using GoBe bracelets and talked about how a conscious attitude towards herself and her body can qualitatively change life.
“GoBe’s automatic calorie counting helps a lot to stay focused on what you are eating.It seems to me that we all, and especially busy people, often eat something on the run, without even noticing it. For example, when I am somewhere near a coffee shop, I can often go in and buy a bun or a cupcake. Usually we do not remember such minor snacks, we just do not perceive them as normal food. But thanks to GoBe, I became more attentive to these moments – I clearly see, for example, that I had a snack at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, which means I will eat less at dinner.
I used to think like this: “At six o’clock, it’s time to have supper,” but with GoBe I began to focus on the actual needs of my body and real data – this is a more deliberate approach.
Together with a conscious attitude to nutrition and with the help of GoBe, Robin lost about seven kilograms in a year without much difficulty.
“Of course, I set myself the goal of losing weight, but I didn’t do anything special for this. I didn’t have any special diet or training, ”comments Robin,“ if you generally enjoy eating and drinking, then it is unlikely that losing weight will bring much joy. GoBe just reminded me to move more and helped me keep track of how many calories I consume per day.The bracelet helped me pay more attention to these processes, so I managed to lose weight quite easily and naturally. ”
Robin is going to shed a couple more pounds, but, in her words, “This is not a top priority. Of course, sometimes I think, they say, it would be nice to lose weight, and GoBe helps me to approach this more meaningfully, without interfering with my enjoyment of life. ”
Healthy sleep for a healthy life
For Robin, it was much more important to improve her overall well-being and become more energetic.Weight loss is just a small part of the improvements that GoBe has brought to Robin’s life. As you remember, first of all, she wanted to improve the quality of sleep, because work and household chores constantly took up precious hours allotted to sleep.
GoBe monitors sleep quality in real time and has a smart alarm function – the bracelet wakes up the user in the most favorable sleep phase. Thanks to these benefits, Robin was able to improve her sleep patterns, and as she confessed, it brought a whole new quality to each future day.
“Once I decided to pay attention to how I wake up if I turn on a regular alarm clock or a smart one,” Robin told us, “I came to the conclusion that I prefer a smart alarm clock that monitors sleep phases. I found that with it it is much easier and more natural to wake up, and from a regular alarm clock there is a feeling of something incomplete, and in the end I feel like I’m drunk. I have my own business, and there is no need to be in the office by a certain time. Therefore, I use a smart alarm clock to make sure that I wake up completely refreshed and ready for the new day. “
“I was also interested to know how many times a night I wake up, because in the morning I can’t remember it,” continues Robin, “it turned out that I can get up two or three times a night and GoBe recorded it. Then I thought: “So that’s why I didn’t feel rested then.” GoBe helped me visualize my sleep patterns, I finally figured out how to get enough sleep. But busy people often save time on sleep, simply because sleep is one of the few aspects of life that is not their responsibility.Over time, I began to clearly notice that if GoBe shows that I slept little or badly, then during the day I simply will not have the strength to do everything. ”
“With the bracelet, you understand how to use sleep for the good of health,” concludes Robin.
Tips for Busy People
Summing up many years of experience with GoBe bracelets, Robin notes: “Together with HEALBE GoBe, I can monitor my sleep cycles, activity level (it also helps to improve sleep) and lifestyle.The bracelet helps me get up on time and go for a walk or jog. Never before have I been able to keep track of my calories so conveniently – and it was a great incentive to start moving. ”
Robin is pleased with the new habits that she has acquired during this time: daily walks, yoga in the morning, a conscious relationship with the body and nutrition.