A disrupted sleep schedule can happen to anyone, but there are plenty of restful activities to try — here are five tips that can help you fix your sleep schedule and stick to a routine.
A consistent bedtime routine is important for your health and happiness, but there are lots of things that can throw off your sleep schedule. All nighters spent finishing your homework, waking up in the middle of the night to your baby crying, or working nights shifts are all factors that can disrupt your circadian rhythm. If your internal clock has fallen off track and you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, there are fixes: Here are five tips to help you reset your schedule and drift off to sleep — no counting sheep necessary.
Say No to Afternoon Caffeine
As we all know, caffeine is a stimulant found in many drinks like tea, coffee, and even soda, that give you a jolt of energy to help you through your day. Many people don’t realize how long it stays in your system — up to twelve hours, depending on the individual. Reducing your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon, can help your body wind down in the evening time so you can fall asleep more easily.
Create a Relaxing Environment
Your surroundings can play a big role in insomnia. Noisy and stimulating environments keep the brain active and awake, and because your body temperature falls as you drift to sleep, bedrooms that are too hot can discourage sleep, too. Luckily, you have some control over your environment; turn down the heat or remove a blanket layer, and don’t watch Netflix as you’re falling asleep. To set a snoozy mood after a long day, try sipping on chamomile tea, having a relaxing bubble bath, or going through a guided meditation to ease the nerves before bed.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Lots of people struggle to sleep because of emotional factors, like stress or anxiety that trickles from the day into the evening; your body will produce cortisol when stressed, which is a hormone that can keep you awake. Try activities like yoga or meditation to help shift your focus away from anxiety, and onto relaxing your body to fix your sleep schedule. If you’re someone who lays awake thinking of everything that went wrong during the day, remember, too, that we’re all just doing our best, and for whatever doesn’t get accomplished today, there’s always tomorrow.
Avoid Light Exposure Before Bed as Much as Possible
If your current bedtime routine involves catching up on social media before hitting the pillow, you might want to rethink that, as exposure to light at night can throw off your circadian rhythm. Blue light from your electronic screens has been painted as the main culprit, but a recent study found that this isn’t necessarily true and yellow light also impacts sleep. Using night shift on your devices isn’t a replacement for putting your phone down and doing a screen-free activity.
Talk to Your Doctor
If all else fails, or you can’t fix your emotional troubles alone, you should reach out to your physician, who can likely come up with a diagnosis and a game plan. They might suggest taking melatonin supplements, as for some people it can help establish sleeping patterns. Light therapy could be another option, where bright light exposure, usually in the morning, can help set a proper circadian rhythm and help you fall asleep earlier. Just don’t try any medical fixes before going through it with your doctor!
A disrupted sleep schedule can happen to anyone, but we hope that with these tips in hand, you’ll be able to fix it and create a bedtime routine that you can stick to, so that falling asleep on time every night will be easy, not a chore.
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