When we don’t set an alarm, we tend to get up at the same time each morning. There’s a biological basis for this. Consistent sleep habits are essential for attaining the high-quality sleep we require as long as we don’t work all night or travel across many time zones.
Even though everyone’s sleep patterns differ, many of them are influenced by our daily habits, such as what time of day we wake up, how much food and activity we get in that day, and when we finally decide to turn in for the night.
The fact that our bodies respond to the signals we give them (“It’s not time for bed yet — there’s another episode of [insert whatever show you’re currently bingeing here] queued up!”) means that we can also send our bodies signals to change our sleep schedules. It’s not impossible to break the habit of going to bed at 2 a.m. just because you’ve been doing it for years.
Getting back on track with your sleep routine will necessitate a time change to your circadian rhythms. Our bodies’ circadian rhythms, which are the patterns of physical, mental, and behavioral changes, including sleep patterns, are regulated by our body temperature, hormone production, and environmental influences such as light and dark.
According to Rochelle Zozula, PhD, a sleep specialist and owner of Sleep Services International in Bridgewater, New Jersey, our body’s master clock is located in the hypothalamus’ suprachiasmatic nucleus, which receives light information from the retina and sends it to other parts of the brain, including the gland that releases the sleep-signaling hormone melatonin. When it comes to sleep induction, “melatonin suppression is a direct result of light exposure,” she explains.
There are a number of elements that can either keep or disrupt your sleep routine, including the amount of light your brain receives from sunlight or from glowing computer and cell phone screens.
Why Our Sleep Schedules Get Off Track
Things like the amount of sunshine we’re exposed to throughout the day and the sort of light we’re exposed to at night affect our sleep schedules since our body clocks are sensitive to light.
Things like traveling across time zones or staying up late can also disrupt our sleep habits, as our bodies are urging us to sleep at different times than our internal clocks.
Overnight workers and truck drivers who can’t maintain a regular sleep schedule also have trouble sleeping because their internal clocks run on a different schedule than what their bodies enable them to follow.
A misaligned body clock and sleep pattern on a daily basis can produce poor sleep quality, but it has also been related to a number of chronic health problems, including obesity, diabetes, melancholy, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder, among others.
It is called a sleep disorder if one’s body clock and sleep schedule are drastically out of whack. As many as 1% of adults suffer with advanced sleep phase disorder, which means they go to bed early and wake up early, typically between the hours of 1 and 5 a.m.
Younger adults may suffer from a condition known as delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), which causes them to go to bed very late and to wake up late. 15 percent of youngsters are thought to suffer from it.” One of the most common symptoms of the circadian rhythm disorder known as DSPS is an individual’s difficulty to fall asleep at their preferred time [usually several hours later] and their inability to wake up at their preferred time.” “A person with DSPS may be pushed to wake up earlier than their natural circadian propensity due to the individual’s daytime obligations.” Sleep deprivation, performance issues, and despair are all possible outcomes of this.
Why Does a Sleep Routine Matter?
People sometimes refer to us as “creatures of habit” because of our propensity to repeat particular cues and responses in the same way over and over again. For example, sleep can be made practically automatic by following routines.
When you take the time to develop a good sleep schedule, it becomes much simpler to get the amount of sleep you need each night. Creating sleep-inducing routines and cues can help people fall asleep fast and stay asleep throughout the night, making it the norm. Regular practice strengthens the routine, leading to more consistent sleep patterns over time.
What Is Circadian Rhythm?
Your sleep cycle is heavily influenced by your circadian rhythm. When it comes to our internal clock, it’s a 24-hour cycle. Helping us stay alert or drowsy at the right time is critical to our circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep and wakefulness.
When it comes to circadian rhythm, light exposure has a significant impact on the day-night cycle. The brain sends a wakefulness signal to the eyes when they are exposed to light. When the amount of light in the room dims at night, the brain sends messages that encourage rest and sleep.
Circadian rhythm aids in keeping our internal clock in sync with the rest of the world around us. In addition to adequate sleep, a well-synchronized circadian rhythm is linked to a variety of additional health benefits.
12 Ways to Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Get right with the light
Setting a light schedule is one of the most effective techniques of ensuring a good night’s sleep.
Exposure to light causes your brain to stop making melatonin, the sleep hormone, which causes you to become more alert. This wakes you up and makes you more focused.
In order to induce sleepiness, darkness signals your brain to produce more melatonin.
Exposing yourself to light first thing in the morning can help you wake up. You may want to open the curtains, go for a walk, or rest on the porch.
Turning off or reducing bright lights before bedtime will help you get a good night’s sleep. Electronic screens, whether on computers, smartphones, or televisions, should also be avoided because they can excite your brain for up to several hours at a time.
Relaxation may help you get a better night’s sleep.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, is produced in greater quantities by the body when you are apprehensive or agitated. Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol make you feel more alert.
Creating a nightly ritual that soothes the mind and body can help alleviate the impact of stress on sleep.
Relaxing activities, such as taking a bath, can help.
- deep breathing
- drinking caffeine-free tea
Spend less time in bed
Avoid daytime naps if your sleep schedule is out of whack.
It can be tough to fall asleep at night after a nap.
It is possible that long naps can create grogginess, which is caused by waking up from a deep sleep.
When napping, try to limit yourself to no more than 30 minutes. It’s advisable to take a nap before 3 p.m. to avoid disturbing your nocturnal sleep.
Get daily exercise
Exercise is a good way to reset your body’s internal clock.
The biological clock is embedded in nearly all of your tissues, including your skeletal muscle. When you work out, your muscles respond by synchronizing their circadian rhythms with your workout.
Regular physical activity boosts your body’s synthesis of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
The quality of your sleep may improve the next night after 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise. However, if you workout often, you’ll get the finest effects. At least five times a week, do 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity.
Keep in mind that exercising in the evening can cause your body to get overworked. You should avoid working out in the late hours of the night if you can help it.
A good night’s sleep necessitates a peaceful resting environment.
Even as you go off to sleep, your brain is still processing sounds. You may find it difficult to sleep if you hear a lot of noise.
Keep your television out of your bedroom and turn it off before you go to sleep to reduce disturbing noises. Use the “quiet” option on your cell phone.
White noise might help you obtain a good night’s sleep if you live in a noisy area.
In order to block out distracting background noise, white noise is produced by playing a constant, monotonous tone into the microphone. White noise can be generated with a:
- air conditioner
- air purifier
- white noise machine
Alternatively, you can wear earplugs to mute outside noise.
Keep it cool
To get ready for sleep, your body’s temperature dips right before night.
You’ll sleep better if your bedroom is between 60 and 67°F (15 and 19°C) cool.
According to a 2012 study, Quality sleep can only be achieved if you have the right temperature in your bedroom, according to an authoritative source from the National Institutes of Health.
To avoid disrupting your sleep, make sure your thermostat is set to between 54°F and 75°F (12°C and 24°C).
During the hot months, you can use an air conditioner or fan; in the winter, a space heater can be used. White noise can be generated using these as well.
To get a decent night’s sleep, you need a comfy bed.
Many people find it difficult to sleep well when they sleep on mattresses or pillows that are too old.
For the most part, mattress and pillow manufacturers recommend replacement every 10 years or two years, respectively.
If you wake up stiff or prefer to sleep on a hotel bed, you may consider purchasing a new mattress or pillow.
Your choice of mattress and pillow firmness is entirely up to you. Your mattress and pillows should be replaced when they start to sag.
Your food choices have an impact on your circadian rhythm.
Eat your final meal two to three hours before going to bed to avoid disrupting your sleep. This will allow your body ample time to process the food you’ve just consumed.
Eating at the same time every day will help your body adjust to routines.
Also, what you consume has an effect on your overall health. The longer it takes to digest a high-fat meal, the more likely it is that it will keep you awake at night.
Eat a small snack if you’re starving. Wheat toast with almond butter is a good source of both carbohydrates and protein, which are both necessary for a good night’s sleep.
Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks, should be avoided. Caffeine takes several hours to wear off as a stimulant, so save your last cup for mid-afternoon.
Alcohol should be avoided before bedtime as well. Your circadian cycle is disrupted by alcohol, making it difficult for you to get a good night’s sleep.
Keep it regular
The first step in fixing your sleep routine is to create one.
Determine your bedtime and a time to get up. Even on days off or weekends, try to keep to these schedules. Aim to sleep or stay in bed for no more than one to two hours at a time.
By adhering to a regular schedule, your body’s internal clock can adapt to a new pattern. The ability to go asleep and wake up will become second nature with time.
Your body’s internal clock recognizes that you are awake when you consume food and digest it. For this reason, metabolic rate and the body’s natural circadian rhythm are intertwined.
Fasting, on the other hand, puts your body on “standby” so that it can heal itself when you eat. Sleeping when fasting is also common.
Before going to bed, try not to eat anything. Fasting naturally occurs while you sleep, thus it may assist you in drifting off.
Your metabolism keeps going strong at night as well. You’re more likely to be hungry in the morning if you don’t eat anything before going to sleep. Getting up early for a few days and then going back to your normal sleep routine may help you achieve this goal.
However, you should keep in mind that going to bed hungry can keep you awake. If you aren’t hungry, fasting may be beneficial.
Melatonin is a hormone that governs your sleep cycle, as previously stated.
The pineal gland in the brain produces melatonin naturally, but it can also be taken as a supplement. For those who suffer from jet lag or sleeplessness, taking melatonin is a common remedy.
To the best of our knowledge, melatonin is completely safe when taken in the recommended dosage. Never deviate from the prescribed course of action.
The following are possible adverse effects:
Consult your doctor if you’re taking other medications or have other health issues before using melatonin.
Consult with your physician
It’s very common to experience periodic issues with sleep.
Changing your behavior or routines can often get you back on track. But if you’re still having difficulties sleeping, see your doctor.
It’s possible that you’re suffering from a sleep issue that’s gone unnoticed. If this is the case, a sleep doctor can help you get the care you need.
Tips for Resetting Your Sleep Schedule
For those of us who find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning or stay up later than we would prefer, what can we do to change our sleep patterns? To get your sleep back on track, follow these simple steps:
- Make a change to your bedtime, but don’t rush the process. It’s best if you gradually cut back your bedtime in order to get to sleep sooner. This is something that a doctor can often help you with. According to Rafael Pelayo of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic at Stanford University, “as a general rule, it’s simpler to push away sleep than to advance sleep.” In other words, “staying up longer is possible, but going to bed early is not.” If you want to get to sleep earlier, Dr. Pelayo recommends gradually increasing the amount of time you spend in bed each night by no more than 15 minutes.
- Even if you’re exhausted, avoid taking a nap. Taking a nap in the afternoon or evening can make it difficult to get to sleep at night.
- Pelayo encourages exercising when you’re in the mood for a snooze. “Exercise will wake you up and keep you alert. As a result, you’ll have more energy for the next day,” he explains.
- Avoid slacking off and stick to the same wake-up hour every day. Consistency is critical to keeping a healthy sleep routine. Get a good alarm clock and don’t push the snooze button every time. That “clock” in your head needs to be set up, explains Pelayo. When a person wakes up at the same time each day, their brain receives the same instructions from their body. “Weekends and time zones are alien concepts to the human brain. This is what causes it to go awry,” he explains. Stick to your regular bed and wake times as much as possible once you’ve found a routine that works for you. Pelayo warns that even one late night can undo all your hard work.
- Avoid exposing yourself to light before bedtime to ensure a good night’s sleep. Exposure to dusk light has been shown to move your biological clock to a later time zone, according to studies. Remind yourself that light tells the brain it’s time to wake up. Avoid bright and outside light close to bedtime (including light from cell phone, laptop, and TV screens) and keep your surroundings dim at night if you’re attempting to get to sleep early.
- Avoid working out right before going to bed. Being active throughout the day helps with sleep, but working out right before bed might keep the brain and body awake (by increasing heart rate) which makes it more difficult to fall asleep at night.
- As long as you don’t exercise within an hour of going to bed, some studies suggests that evening workouts can help sleep, but it depends on the individual and how their body responds to exercise.
If you’re going to work out later in the day, choose for low- or moderate-intensity routines that won’t be as mentally taxing, and finish your session with a cool-down.
- Prior to going to bed, keep an eye on your diet. Avoid sugary, high-sugar foods, as well as stimulant-containing ones like those containing coffee or nicotine. Heartburn and acid reflux can also be caused by spicy and acidic foods. Tart cherries and kiwis, both of which have been proved to induce sleep, are good options if you’re hungry.
- Create a calming sleep routine by setting the tone. Relax by taking a hot bath and listening to some soothing music, or doing something else you enjoy. Make sure your bed is comfy, the room is dark, and the temperature isn’t too hot. ‘” ” Sleeping should be something you look forward to. It should not be a struggle to get some shut-eye,” Pelayo says.
- Take use of the sun’s rays. Your body’s circadian rhythm is set for the entire day when you wake up to sunshine (or another strong light). This way, when it’s time to sleep at night, you’ll be able to notify your body that you’re tired and drowsy.
- If the sun isn’t out or you can’t get outside, there are specific inside lights that can help you get enough sunlight.
- Make an appointment with your physician. Your doctor should know if your sleep schedule is interfering with your job or other duties, if the preceding measures fail, or if you’re having trouble sleeping in any manner.
Our current and long-term health depends on how much sleep we get. There are medical professionals that can aid those who have trouble sleeping on a regular basis. A sleep specialist can be referred to you if your primary care provider lacks this expertise.
The length of time it will take to reset your clock depends on what is causing you to be out of sync with the world. According to Pelayo, the “rule of thumb is that it normally takes one day each time zone” to acclimate to new time zones. “However, some people take two weeks to adapt if the trip is quite long.”
When it comes to persons who suffer from DSPS, getting back on track relies on how long the pattern has been in place. Peleayo says, “We advise individuals to hold off for one or two months.” “People are amazed when their sleep improves after years of poor sleep. It also wakes you up when you’re shocked that your sleep is getting better because you’re not sure if it will continue to work. “The novelty of sleeping well wears off after about two months.”
Changes to your sleep schedule (especially if you suffer from delayed sleep phase syndrome) aren’t simple, but they may be made with the right amount of determination. “Don’t get upset with yourself, because it just makes the problem worse,” Pelayo says. “Accept the fact that sleep will arrive at some point.”
The bottom line
Your sleep schedule might be disrupted by shift work, all-nighters, and jet lag. Fortunately, you can get your sleep habits back on track by following a few simple guidelines.
Avoid bright lighting and large meals before going to sleep. Make sure your bedroom is peaceful, quiet, and cool before you go to sleep. Stay active and avoid naps during the day to improve your quality of sleep at night.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you still can’t sleep.
Does pulling an all-nighter reset your sleep cycle?
- At your usual time, get up. It may be as early as 7 a.m. or as late as noon. In this scenario, it doesn’t matter.
- Stay up till the following night, and then go to sleep at your regular hour the following morning.
Say it’s Friday morning, and we awoke at 10 o’clock to start the day. We’ll remain up all day and night on Saturday, and then go to bed at 11 p.m., as planned. We’ll have been awake for 37 hours in total by the time we’re done.
Because you’ll be staying awake for more than 24 hours, this activity is going to be a challenge. Don’t get behind the wheel or engage in any other activity that could be risky while you’re mentally ill.
What are the symptoms of a messed up circadian rhythm?
- Inability to remember things.
- Metabolic syndromes and weight gain.