There is nothing more comforting than a short nap at any time of the day! But, what if, you feel the urge to nap during work hours and feel like creating a stir and having fun in the dead of night? We understand your plight in addition to understanding how taxing it can be to fix sleep schedule once it goes down the drain!
An irregular sleep cycle can turn out to be a cause of concern if you do not take care of it. Sleeping is a living organism’s way of maintaining the body damage, gaining energy, and rejuvenating. An unstable sleep cycle can lead to exhaustion, slowed down damage-repair, skin problems, and many other health concerns. With the help of our comprehensive article, we can provide you with some useful intel through which you can treat sleep-cycle irregularities and the damage it causes! Read on to know everything about it.
How to fix sleep schedule in easy steps!
Our internal sleep-wake cycle of twenty-four hours or the circadian rhythm rotates between waking up and falling asleep throughout the day. This clock is located and maintained by a part of our brain called suprachiasmatic nuclei, located inside the hypothalamus, which reacts based on external stimuli received by it. This external cue can be anything that tells the body to go to sleep.
Some potential reasons that result in the sleep cycle’s irregularities are jet lag, shift work, pulling all-nighters, change in the time zones, genetic predisposition, neurotransmitters, temperature, sunrise, sunset, and certain behavioural and environmental factors.
Let’s look at the ways to help yourself out of an irregular sleep cycle.
Mind the lighting of your room
The presence of improper lighting conditions can disturb the circadian cycle. Bright lights and light from electronic screens like phones, computers, digital clocks, television and others can obstruct the production of the sleep hormone called melatonin inside the body.
When bright light falls on our eyes, retinal ganglion cells detect the change and send the information to suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), which triggers the pineal glands to slow down production melatonin, making you feel alert and awake. In the absence of light, pineal glands produce melatonin efficiently, making you drowsy and sleepy.
Exposing yourself to natural light like sunlight, and taking a walk in the morning can help you wake up easily. Try to minimize screen time before bed. The blue light emitted from electronic screens can hoodwink your brain into thinking that it is day instead of night, delaying the melatonin production. You can try turning on the blue light filter in your electronic devices if you cannot avoid the screen time.
Make your bedtime as relaxing as possible
If melatonin is your sleep’s best friend, cortisol is its arch enemy. Cortisol, the so-called stress hormone, is produced by the body when our mind is stressed or anxious. Cortisol can make you feel more awake at night, which is why most of us tend to stay awake a night before an important interview or exam!
Trying deep relaxation can help your cause and reduce the adverse effects of cortisol on our body. Some techniques you should inculcate in your schedule to have a sound sleep are
- Taking a warm shower before bed can help the tension leave your body.
- Play some relaxing music so as to get the serotonin rush.
- Sleep on a comfortable bed.
- Adjust the lighting so that there is no stress on the eyes.
- Avoid consuming caffeine before bed.
- Try meditation and yoga.
- Do some stretching exercises during the day but not too close to your bedtime.
- Practice deep-breathing exercises.
- Ensure that the temperature of the room is appropriate.
Try to cut your napping time
We know that taking a quick nap solves a lot of problems! But, unfortunately, it cannot fix your sleep schedule. Napping during the day means borrowing the melatonin from your good night’s sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep during the night.
If you really cannot get by napping once a day, make sure that it is before 3 pm so that there are more chances of you falling asleep without any extra efforts during the night. And if that does not help, you can exercise to make your sleepiness go away.
Exercising a few minutes a day keeps health problems away!
Working out and circadian rhythm are interrelated. Exercising has a positive effect on the skeletal muscles of our body. All the muscles and tissues in the body are linked to the twenty-four-hour internal clock and can enhance melatonin production.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can significantly improve sleep quality. Aerobic exercises such as walking, running, cycling, swimming and likeness are known to be good sleep stimulators. However, avoid exercising close to your bedtime as it can kill the sleepiness.
Food habits will not matter!
As you might have noticed, the circadian rhythm gets bothered by plenty of factors and food habits is one of the major factors. Health experts recommend that you should have your last meal two to three hours before bed. If you snack right before bedtime, your metabolism will slow down, consequently delaying digestion.
It is also essential to be heedful of what you are ingesting. Eating foods that are high in fats or consuming alcohol can disrupt the sleep cycle. The best foods to eat during nighttime are a combination of good proteins and carbohydrates.
Fasting is another great method to set your internal clock right. Your body starts fasting when you fall asleep. Doing it ahead of time can help you doze off. However, it is not recommended to starve yourself if you are hungry as it can keep you up.
Also read- How to improve digestion ?
Get that melatonin
Melatonin can also be taken as supplements after consulting a medical healthcare professional. It is advisable not to take supplements without consulting a doctor as it may have side-effects like headache, nausea, and drowsiness. Usually, people who suffer from insomnia or jet-lags take these supplements.
Bottomline to reset sleep routine
It is vital to stick to your sleep schedule, even on weekends, so that your circadian rhythm does not get disturbed. If troubles persist even after you have tried everything, talk to a doctor to determine whether you have a sleep disorder or some other problem that requires a different approach.
Everyone has experienced sleep problems at least once in their lifetime, and it’s not a tough deal to fix sleep schedule till nothing usually works out. Even the most disturbed sleep schedules can be fixed by some help from your side and some outside! We hope we gave you something that will make you go to bed content tonight!
Also read- 5 tips to fix sleep schedule