Your body and brain thrive on routine, and one crucial factor that helps set your routine is a consistent sleep schedule. Sleep is a vital part of one’s overall health, and the best way to get quality sleep is to have a regular sleep schedule. The more you stick to a regular sleep schedule, the stronger your sleep and wake signals will get, meaning you will spend less time tossing and turning before sleep and will feel more alert when it’s time to wake.
Ideally, adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep at night. However, your current life circumstances might sometimes make that a challenge. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to work towards this goal.
A solid sleep routine doesn’t happen overnight (pun intended). You need to allow yourself enough time to sink into the right sleep schedule slowly. If you want to change the hours you sleep by more than an hour, adjust incrementally. Adjust the hours over time until you have the sleep schedule you want.
Create a Comfortable Environment
The next step is to cultivate an inviting sleep environment. You want your bedroom to be dark and quiet, making it devoid of distractions and optimal for relaxation and comfort. Light a candle or incense to fill the space with relaxing aromas. Alongside a comfortable temperature, soothing smells like lavender can promote relaxation and offer cues for sleep.
Furthermore, sleep experts at SleepMoment recommend identifying the type of sleeper you are and purchasing a quality mattress, pillow, and bedding that will offer the proper support you need, thereby turning your bed into a haven for comfort and rest.
Food for Thought
Eating a healthy diet not only helps you stay energized during the day it also enables you to sleep better at night. Ideally, you should stop eating three hours before bed. This will ensure your body is focusing on sleep rather than digestion.
Additionally, both alcohol and caffeine are said to be detrimental to a healthy sleep routine. While alcohol makes you sleepy initially, it also negatively affects your sleep cycle, making you more susceptible to awakening and lower-quality sleep. On the other hand, caffeine makes you alert and wired, hindering your attempts to fall asleep. As a result, it is best to reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption, especially late in the afternoon and evening.
Exercising regularly is great for both physical and mental health. What’s more, it is even better for quality sleep. Workouts wear your body out, making it crave a rejuvenating night of sleep. They also help regulate hormone levels that support circadian rhythms.
Consider practicing breathing exercises, like the 4-8-7 method. This will help you fall asleep quickly while promoting calmness and helping your brain relax.
Good Light and Bad Light
One of the best ways to stick to a regular sleep schedule is to plan your exposure to light. When you are exposed to light, your brain stops melatonin (the sleep hormone) production, making you feel awake and alert. On the other hand, darkness promotes melatonin production.
At night, turn off or dim bright lights to prime yourself for sleep. Avoid glowing electronic screens from smartphones, computers, or televisions leading up to bedtime as they produce blue light that will make your body think it is still daytime.
Similarly, exposing yourself to as much sunlight as possible in the morning helps the body to wake up and become adjusted to these waking hours. Open the curtains, take a walk, or relax on the porch. If the sun isn’t up by the time you wake up, expose yourself to other light.
Stick to It
If you wish to fix your sleep schedule, you should first make one and then stick to it. Pick a bedtime and wake-up time, then avoid hitting the snooze button and do your best to stick to the routine you’ve created, even on weekends or days off. Additionally, try not to stay up or sleep in for more than one to two hours.
If your sleep routine gets thrown off, remind yourself that it’s okay, and work on getting back on track as soon as you can. Remember, consistency is key to building new habits. By following a regular schedule, your internal clock slowly develops a new routine. Over time, you will be able to fall asleep fast and wake up with ease.
Forget Tossing and Turning in Bed
Avoid bright lights and heavy meals before bed. Also, ensure your sleeping environment is quiet, comfortable, and cool. During the day, skip naps and stay active so you can sleep better at night. Things like all-nighters, variable work shifts, stress, and jet lag can all mess with your sleep schedule. But luckily, practicing good sleep practices can help you get on track.
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