Everybody has an inner schedule which is hardwired into them. Known as the circadian rhythm, it helps you go to sleep each night and wake up every morning. But, sometimes it’s possible for your sleep cycle to lose its normal rhythm. If you’ve ever traveled through different time zones, worked different shifts throughout the week or stayed up all night with a fussy baby, you’ll know how difficult it can be to get your sleep pattern back to its normal routine. Once you get out of sleep, it can be harder to fall asleep or wake up at your usual times again. We’ve put together some top tips to help you reconstruct your sleeping pattern.
Tip #1. Stick to a Routine:
Professionals advise that you should go to bed at the same time and try to do the same activities each night before bed. This gives your body a cue that it’s time to fall asleep and makes it easier for you to get back into a routine. It’s a good idea to prepare your body for bed by doing something to help you relax. This could be listening to your favorite relaxing playlist or taking a warm bath, for example.
Tip #2. Make Mornings Bright:
Brightening up your room in the morning will help you wake up naturally and reduce your risk of sleeping in late and carrying on with a disrupted sleeping pattern. Light tells your body’s internal clock when it is time to wake up, and you can do several things to help this process. In the morning, turn on bright lights, get thin curtains that the sun will shine through, or even go for a short walk in the sunshine once you’re awake.
Tip #3. Keep Nights Dark:
Additionally, just as you should make sure that your mornings are bright, it’s a good idea to keep nights dark. Darkness encourages your body to produce melatonin, which brings on feelings of sleepiness and helps you drift off into a healthy, refreshing sleep. Stick to a routine and make sure that you’re dimming the lights at the same time each evening so that your body knows that it is time to go to sleep. You can also use a sleeping mask to help block out the light.
Tip #4. Avoid Electronics at Night:
It’s tempting to check social media, fire off emails or read a good book using your Kindle before you go to bed, but the light from our smartphones, tablets, e-readers and laptops can mess with melatonin production and make it much easier for us to fall asleep at night. The blue light that these devices give off makes your brain too alert for sleep, even if you put the display in ‘night mode’. Give yourself at least an hour device-free before going to bed, to help your body wind down and get ready for sleep.
Tip #5. Work Out:
Exercise is great for your physical and mental health, and it can also help improve your sleep too. In addition to losing weight and building muscle, exercising regularly can promote a healthy night’s sleep every night. People who exercise for around 150 minutes per week tend to sleep better at night and feel more alert during the day. Bear in mind that the timing of your exercise can also make a difference. Working late at night can actually have the opposite effect and disrupt your sleep, so save exercising, particularly cardio workouts, for early or late morning when you can.
No matter how or why your sleeping pattern has been disrupted, allowing it to continue can have several negative effects on your health.