Have you noticed how we feel sleepy around the same time each night? There is a reason behind that. There is also a reason behind why we tend to wake up at the same time each morning if we forget to set up an alarm. It all has to do with your sleep schedule.
A sleep schedule differs from person to person, and it depends a lot on the environmental signals we give to our bodies, such as setting an alarm, daily activities, when we eat, and when we lie down to sleep.
In this article, we will look at why sleep is essential for your overall health and how to improve your sleep schedule to enhance your quality of sleep and feel better upon waking each morning (furry bunny slippers are optional).
Let’s jump into it!
Why Is Sleep So Important? How Much Sleep Is Enough?
A good night’s sleep is profusely important for your overall health. It is as critical as eating or exercising. Sleep is essential for several brain functions, such as how neurons (nerve cells) communicate with each other – which, as you can imagine, is crucial.
Here’s a fun fact for you… Your brain and your body actively stay awake when you are asleep – they don’t completely shut down like many assume. Sounds sort of funny, right? Additionally, recent studies have shown that the brain can even flush out harmful toxins when you are sleeping.
Adults are recommended to get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep on a regular basis to develop and maintain optimal health. If you sleep less than 7 hours, it may result in adverse health issues such as abnormal weight gain or obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, depression, stroke, and more.
Today’s generation is unaware of the importance of sleep and how necessary it is to fix your sleep schedule. Below, we point out some reasons why getting enough sleep and why adjusting your sleep schedule should be a priority of yours.
More Productivity and Better Concentration
Many studies have linked getting enough sleep to improved productivity, concentration, and cognitive enhancements.
Lower Risk of Weight Gain
Poor sleep is linked to an increase in weight gain and fat storage. Having a short sleep duration often leads to obesity in both children and adults.
Better Athletic Performance
If you are an athlete, it is imperative to maintain a proper sleep schedule to improve your athletic and physical performance.
Improved Calorie Regulation
Same as weight gain, there is evidence suggesting a good night’s sleep can help a person consume fewer calories throughout the day by properly managing ghrelin levels (a hunger hormone).
Low Risk of Heart Disease
Not getting enough sleep often leads to the risk of heart disease. According to studies, getting enough sleep each night will help your body’s blood pressure regulate itself.
Ways to Fix Your Sleep Schedule
If you follow a sleep schedule that makes it difficult for you to wake up early in the morning or make you feel depressed and demotivated throughout the day, it is time to reset your schedule.
Here are some effective and practical tips on how you can fix your sleep schedule.
Lights Play an Important Role
One of the most effective ways to fix your sleep schedule is to limit your exposure to light – especially while in bed trying to sleep.
If you are exposed to light, your brain will stop producing melatonin, which is also known as the sleep hormone. When your production of melatonin stops, it can keep you awake and alert.
At night, turn off the lights or make it dim. You should also avoid looking at glowing electronic screens such as smartphones, laptops, and television, as they may stimulate your brain, and the blue light emitted could cause you to have a poor sleep cycle. It may be wise to turn your electronics off an hour before planning to go to bed to help your brain and body calm down.
Should you have a light that shines through your window at night, block it out with some thick shades such as “blackout shades,” which can effectively block out all light coming from outdoors.
Avoid Taking a Nap
Avoid taking naps even if you are feeling tired. Napping can interfere with sleeping at night. If it’s the middle of the afternoon and you think it’s a good idea to lay down for a quick nap, think again.
Push through the temptation and stay busy, which can take your mind off how tired you may be.
Stick to Your Sleep Schedule
No matter what, once you have reached a workable bedtime, stick to it! Do not stray away from it at any cost. Your goal is to be consistent with your sleep schedule.
You may find it helpful to set an alarm on your phone for when you need to start getting ready for bed. This will help you stay consistent and hit the sheets at the same time each night.
Regular physical activity is excellent for improving your sleep – besides it being commonly thought of as a means of enhancing cardiovascular health. Exercising every day can help you to fix your sleep schedule.
That said, there are some cases where people who exercise at night find it challenging to fall asleep shortly after completing a grueling workout. If you’re in that camp, try to fit your workouts in during the morning or in the afternoon to allow yourself plenty of time to come down from that workout high and allow you to fall asleep quickly at night.
A good night’s sleep requires a quiet sleeping environment. Loud, distracting noises can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. This can come from a snoring sleeping partner, traffic outside your home if you live on a busy street, and even noisy neighbors who talk loudly or watch tv with the volume cranked up.
White noise such as the sound of the fan, air conditioner, air purifier, or even a dedicated sound machine can help you lull to sleep. It may be a wise investment into something if noise is a major issue.
A comfortable and cozy bed will help you get a perfect night’s sleep. If your mattress or pillow is old or not ideal for how you prefer to sleep, it can hinder your sleep and throw off your sleep schedule. Head to a mattress retailer and talk with a sleep specialist who can help you choose the right mattress and pillows to suit your needs.
Additionally, look at the temperature of your room. If your room is too hot, your body will have a hard time relaxing. Cooler temperatures can help ease your mind and body. In order to accomplish this, look at what you wear to bed, if you need to turn a fan on, or if you need to lower the air conditioner temperature.
Don’t Eat Late at Night
Food can result in heartburn which isn’t ideal if you eat too close to your bedtime. In addition, you want to try to take in the majority of your calories earlier in the day when you are more active and can better use and burn those calories.
At night, you tend to be less active, and you risk overconsuming on calories late at night which can be stored as body fat and cause you to gain weight. Try to maintain a decent break between eating your last meal of the day and when you plan on going to sleep.
Have a Relaxation Plan
You may want to develop a personal relaxation plan to help you get back on track and improve your sleep schedule.
This can be anything from meditation, turning on soothing sleep music, doing yoga, reading a good book in a quiet room, etc. The key is to find what you enjoy and what helps you relax and utilize that protocol and technique to calm your mind and body.
Try to make it a daily habit or ritual, which can also help set the tone before bed and help with adhering to your sleep schedule.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine Late at Night
Alcohol and caffeine can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Alcohol will make you sleepy but will mess up your sleep schedule and can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Caffeine will keep you wired and alert.
When you consume alcohol or caffeine before bed, many have difficulty achieving REM and deep sleep. This affects your overall sleep quality and can cause you to wake up feeling tired and exhausted in the morning.
Consult With a Physician
Sleep problems and insomnia are pretty typical these days, as many Americans suffer from them on a nightly basis. If changing habits and implementing some of the strategies mentioned in this article does not restore your sleep schedule, you may want to consult with a doctor and seek professional help.
There is good news if nothing seems to help you naturally fall asleep from what was mentioned above. Sleep disorders can be diagnosed and treated. While seeking a professional’s help may be your last resort, don’t dismiss the option and think things will get better on their own. Your sleep and health are too important not to want to fix the issue sooner rather than later.
Have You Tried a Sleep Aid Supplement?
If you have your hand raised that you have trouble falling asleep each night, try some of the tips above and possibly throw in a sleep aid supplement. At NutraBio, we have a bunch of different sleep aids that you can choose from. Everything from Glycine, Melatonin, 5-HTP, ZMA, GABA, and L-Theanine, to name a few.
You don’t have to toss and turn all night and suffer from sleep deprivation. If you can’t get in a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night, how do you expect your immune system to function optimally to protect your health? Additionally, do you really think your muscles are going to be able to recover following intense training sessions if you aren’t sleeping properly? Furthermore, with a lack of sleep comes a drop in performance. It doesn’t matter if you’re an elite athlete or an avid exerciser, a decrease in performance will stall your progress and results.
Change your sleep schedule, add a sleep aid, and improve your health. You’ll thank us when you wake up the next morning fully refreshed!