If you wake up in the mornings feeling groggy and your energy is low throughout the day, one of the reasons could be because your natural sleep routine is out of sync. Your body has an internal clock that it can use to let you know when it’s time to sleep and wake up.
Sticking to this internal body clock helps you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. You’re also able to have an easier time falling asleep and night and experience deeper sleep.
Getting yourself back into a sleep schedule can be difficult. However, we’ve put together 7 tips that you can start incorporating into your life to set your sleep schedule in stone to improve the quality of your sleep and have more energy every day.
Understanding The Importance Of Your Circadian Rhythm
The circadian rhythm, or sleep clocks as it’s commonly referred to as is the system that your body uses to have signals sent to the brain that it’s time to sleep or wake up. People who have set their circadian rhythms over time find it much easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning without needing an alarm clock as the body is in a good routine.
Your hypothalamus is the part of your body that sends signals to your brain to make you tired and go to sleep. When these signals are sent, the hormone melatonin is released which is what makes you tired.
There’s no one perfect sleep and wake routine as the best circadian rhythms will vary depending on the person. Being able to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day is something that can take some time to practice.
You can use natural elements, such as the sunset and sunrise to help get your circadian rhythm in check. Once it starts to get dark, your body will begin releasing melatonin to make you feel sleepy. When the sun rises in the morning, your body will know to wake you up naturally.
There is also a wide range of other factors that can positively or negatively impact your ability to set your natural circadian rhythm. Things such as the times you eat, the temperature of your room, your activity levels, and even your genes can all play roles in contributing to a good or poor internal body clock.
There are some negative effects that you can experience if your sleep schedule and natural circadian rhythm are out of sync and they include:
- Mood swings
- Slow reaction times
Common Causes Of A Poor Sleep Schedule
- If you have a job where the work shifts include long hours for most days of the week or you end up having to switch the times you work regularly, your body will likely struggle to get into a natural sleep routine.
- Sometimes, you can be your own worst enemy when it comes to getting yourself into a consistent sleep routine. If you’re really into a TV show, you may stay up an hour or two later than you should to continue binge-watching it. As a result, your brain is being sent signals that it should go to sleep later since you’re awake, but it may not be best for your natural internal body clock.
- People who have stayed up through to the early hours of the morning will have a trickier time getting their circadian rhythm back on track. This is a common problem for students who are out partying or studying through the night.
- Traveling in different time zones can result in you staying awake during hours of the day where you’d usually be asleep back in the location of your regular time zone. Jet lag can make it difficult to sleep in a new time zone because you’re having to try and sleep at a time that you’d usually be waking up or be up at a time that you’re usually fast asleep.
How To Get Back On A Sleep Schedule? 7 Simple Tips
Keep Your Bedroom Dark At Night
The human body takes information received through the eyes base on whether it’s dark or light in your environment to determine whether it’s time for you to sleep or be awake. To make the process as natural as possible when you’re going to sleep at night, be sure to keep your bedroom as dark as possible.
This will help your brain to send the right signals to release melatonin to make you sleepy and fall asleep easier. Being exposed to too much light right before going to sleep prevents your body from sending signals that it’s time to sleep. Therefore, the release of melatonin is diminished and you will find it more difficult to fall asleep.
We recommend that you refrain from using TV’s, laptops, tablets, and phones when you’re in bed. Be sure that the lights are turned off to give yourself the best chance of falling asleep easier.
Wake Up To Light
Similarly to how you can keep your bedroom dark at night to help you fall asleep, you can use light to your advantage when waking up in the morning. When you use light in the morning to help wake you up, you’re sending signals to your brain that it’s time to wake up when the sun rises.
Ideally, you’ll want to expose yourself to sunlight as soon as possible upon waking to help get your body into a natural sleep/wake cycle.
Make Small Adjustments
If you’ve been struggling to get into a consistent sleep schedule, making huge changes by trying to sleep or wake up hours earlier than usual is likely going to be unsuccessful. Therefore, it may be a good idea to start with smaller and more manageable goals for sleeping and waking up.
Start with trying to make your bedtime earlier by 20-30 minutes every night. Once your body gets used to falling asleep at the slightly earlier times, you can gradually bring your bedtime forward in increments of 20 or so minutes until you reach your desired or natural bedtime.
The amount of time that it takes to naturally start a new sleep schedule will vary from person to person. Some people will be able to do it within a few nights. For others, it may take a matter of weeks.
Furthermore, if your sleeping schedule isn’t too far off from your natural rhythm, you’ll have an easier time getting back on track. If your circadian rhythm has been out of sync for a while, you should expect it to take longer to get yourself back into a healthy sleep schedule.
Stick To A Sleep Routine
One of the best ways to keep yourself in a good sleep schedule is to try and get yourself back on track as soon as possible after one night of it being out of sync. The quicker you can get your body back into its natural rhythm after going off track, the easier it will be.
You should also be realistic with the times that you can go to sleep and wake up daily. If there are external factors such as work, social events, or other important commitments, be sure to consider them when trying to set your internal body clock. This can help to keep you motivated and avoid slacking off from sticking to the schedule consistently.
Be More Tactical With Napping
If you tend to feel tired at some points during the day and usually take a nap, we recommend that you try to avoid napping. This is because feeling tired throughout the day and resisting the urge to nap can help you to fall asleep earlier at night.
As a result, you’ll have an easier time getting your internal body clock back in sync, rather than staying up tossing and turning for hours. Making it through the day without napping may seem like a struggle, but it only needs to be done once for you to sync up your circadian rhythm.
When your internal body clock is synced, you can wake up feeling more refreshed and energized for the day, which means you won’t need to fight the urge to nap.
Consider Your Diet
When it comes to attempting to fall asleep earlier than usual, it’s best to cut out any caffeine after midday. This is because caffeine is a stimulant that can remain in your system for hours after you’ve consumed it.
Drinking coffee in the morning can be an excellent way to give yourself an energy boost, but continuing to drink it in the afternoon could be counterproductive to your overall energy levels.
If you’re unable to sleep earlier at night due to the stimulating effects of caffeine, you’ll wake up feeling more tired and you can end up in a cycle that prevents your body from getting into a natural sleep schedule.
We also recommend that you eat your last meal at least 2 hours before going to bed. Doing this provides your body with plenty of time to have the food digested so that you’re able to properly relax and fall asleep afterward. Eating too close to bedtime causes there to be too much activity that can keep you awake.
Pull An All-Nighter
Pulling an all-nighter is one of the more extreme but effective ways to fix your sleep schedule. If you keep yourself awake all night and all day, you’ll be feeling tired enough to sleep at an earlier time than usual.
It’s best to make sure that you go to sleep a few hours earlier than usual to allow for the hours of extra sleep needed after being up all night and day. That way, you’re able to wake up at your ideal time and avoid oversleeping.
This method is best to plan for days where you don’t have any work or commitments that require your energy. You’ll be feeling pretty tired all day without sleeping so be sure to pick a day that suits you best. We also don’t recommend depriving yourself of sleep regularly. It should be used as a one-off method every once in a while to make it easier for you to sync your circadian rhythm again.
That concludes our post on how to reset your sleep schedule. You can start implementing these practical tips to give yourself the best chance of fixing your circadian rhythm to fall asleep and wake up naturally every day.
Once you’ve found the sleep routine that works best for you, you’ll notice how much more energized you are and how you can feel more energized throughout the day and sleepy at night.