7 Tips to Fix a Disturbed Sleep Cycle
It happens to all of us, maybe you had a crazy weekend, or you drank caffeine too late, but for whatever reason you’re in bed, under the covers, but you just can’t get to sleep. You aren’t alone, over 60 million Americans reportedly dealt with insomnia last year. And in this rush-rush world, it’s now more than ever important to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep to get you through the day. Need to calculate your sleep hours? REM Sleep.
If you’re not (and you probably aren’t) we’ve come up with seven handy ways to get your body on the right track. So grab a nice mug of tea, your favorite diffuser, and get ready, because sleep is coming for you.
Give Yourself Time to Adjust to Your Bedtime
We often make bedtime a rushed experience. We zoom through the day and expect our bodies to sleep at the drop of the hat. Unfortunately, a lot of times we need more notice than that. Give yourself a good half hour without the distractions of a phone or computer screen to allow your body time to transition from wakefulness to sleep. Oftentimes when we eliminate those periods of screen time before bed, we can actually calculate our sleep hours more accurately, as we don’t waste a lot of time watching that one last show on our phone when we should be sleeping.
Not only that, if you’re resetting your sleep cycle after a prolonged period of poor sleeping habits, you may need to incrementally change your sleep time. Try to go to bed fifteen minutes earlier every night, so you aren’t trying to go from a 2 AM bedtime to an 8 PM one all in one go.
Keep it Consistent for The Best Results in Bed
Like weight lifting, studying, or anything else in life, sleep requires consistency for you to be at your best. If you vacillate wildly between bedtimes, your body is never going to know when it’s actually supposed to gear down for bed. Plan out a normal bedtime that is realistic, not just for the work week, but for the weekend too. It can be fun to party late into the night on Saturday, but it could totally mess up your sleep schedule come Sunday night. We should be able to calculate our sleep hours consistently from one day to the next, not trying to catch up too much on the weekend, which has been proven to be an ineffective way to get sleep.
Keep Your Room Dark at Night and Light in the Morning
Circadian rhythms are the internal clocks which tell us when to fall asleep and when to wake up. Those clocks are heavily influenced by the absence or presence of light, which can signal to our brains to create the hormones that are most associated with sleep. When you keep your room dark at night, without much artificial light, it means that your brain will start to produce the chemicals which make it easier to sleep. Likewise, if you’re having trouble getting up in the morning, it might be time to open those shades a little bit and let the sunlight affect your circadian rhythm. It’s what your body wants, and it should make it even easier to calculate your sleep hours.
Wear Sunglasses to Trick Your Brain Late in the Afternoon
This may sound goofy, but if you’ve tried everything and you’re still having problems, you might want to wear sunglasses in the late afternoon and early evening. It works similarly to the last tip in that it short circuits your brain into producing the hormones most associated with sleep. Plus, it’s going to make you look cool to all the other guys in the office. Bonus!
Don’t Just Lie in Bed Wishing That You Were Asleep
It’s natural to want to go to bed as soon as your head hits the pillow, but if it doesn’t don’t beat yourself up about it. A bad mental state is no way to get to bed, and there’s signs to suggest that lying awake in bed worrying is actually counterproductive to getting on a good sleep schedule. If you find yourself doing this, try getting up, walking around, writing in a diary, or even meditating. It allows your brain and body a chance to reset and gives you the best chance at falling asleep again.
Don’t Press The Snooze Button!
If you’re having a hard time trying to calculate your sleep hours accurately, it could be because you’re laying on the snooze button too much. While it could feel good in the moment, hitting the snooze is actually a false sense of getting more sleep as it doesn’t allow you into the deep REM cycles where rejuvenating sleep actually happens. Instead, try to come up with a realistic time to get up and then stick to that plan, going to bed earlier if you have to. While it might seem like a drag in the moment, your body will definitely thank you!
Exercise is a Great Way to Relieve Tension
It’s obvious, but exercise is good for the body. Not just because it gets you in shape, but because it helps burn off excess energy and stress that can build up during the day. Make sure that you’re doing it far enough in advance of your bedtime that you can ease into sleep though, doing it too soon before bed can have the opposite effect!
Give these tips and techniques a try and you’re sure to be back in control of your sleep schedule before you know it! You have the power, you have the knowledge, now it’s just a matter of time before you’re sleeping like a baby. Good luck!