Once you get your body used to late nights and early mornings, it can be hard to get it on a decent sleep schedule. We are all creatures of habit (yes, even the most spontaneous among us) and we often have to warm up to new routines. It is my hope that this post can be a helpful mini guide for you to refer to for tips and methods on enhancing your sleep schedule. More sleep for you means a brighter, healthier, more energized and productive you and I for one am all about that!
I’m going to try to keep it short and to the point, but no worries I won’t skimp on the good stuff. (; Keep reading for the need-to-know info on making and maintaining a sleep schedule that leaves you feeling rejuvenated in the mornings and fast asleep at night!
Start by Inching Your Way Up the Clock
Getting that internal clock from where it is to where it needs to be is not going to happen overnight or even by tomorrow. The best place to start is by going to bed anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes earlier than you usually do. Consistency is key, so anytime you move up your bed time, try to stick with that bedtime for at least a week. Once that week is up, you can move your bed time up another 15-30 minutes. Keep this up until you’ve hit a time that gives you a healthy 7-9 hours of sleep!
( P.S. On the weekends, stay up no later than an hour passed your bed time. You can’t stray too far from the normal routine if you want to develop healthier sleeping pattern throughout the week. You’ll thank yourself on Monday and well, pretty much everyday after that.)
Don’t Take Naps (If You MUST, 30 Minutes Max)
Naps are teases. They tell your body “You’re tired, you should get some sleep! It’s only natural.” and then leave you staring at the ceiling all through the night until the morning hours. This isn’t good, and this is NOT the kind of sleep schedule anyone should be on! The more awake you are during the day, the more tired you will be at night!
I am not talking about doing the P90X everyday and I’m not even talking about daily thirty minute at-home workouts (although it’s pretty evident both would be extremely effective). Even if it’s right before you lay down at night, just stretching or doing a 5 minute yoga session could drain all of the excess energy you need in order to make you go to sleep. Time your small workout or stretch in accordance with your bed time by planning them an hour or two before it’s actually time for you to be in bed. That way you are SO tired when you hit the bed, you may actually fall asleep the minute you lay down.
Unwind and Relax
I am SUCH a big advocate for morning and night meditations. I’ve recently started meditating before bed and it always helps me to calm down and eventually soothes me to sleep. If you haven’t tried meditating before bed, I highly recommend it. If you’re not into that sort of thing, there are other methods that work straight from the bed as well! Reading or listening to soft instrumental music before bed helps as well. Doing something melodic and calming every night before bed and I mean every night (consistency is key, remember?) encourages your body to slip into rest mode. If you’re consistent, anytime you do these practices your body will recognize them as cues (almost like turning the lights out before bed) that it’s time to chill, be chill, and go to sleep.
Limit the Coffee and Caffeinated Drinks After Lunch
Okay, if you’re the type of person that is somehow magically unaffected by the caffeine in coffee; Firstly, I really want to be like you and secondly, you can ignore the coffee part. There is caffeine in more than just coffee though. The closer you get to your bedtime with caffeine in your system, the more likely you are to keep yourself up at night. It can be hard to fight the urge, but if you can hold out you’ll be doing your body a HUGE favor.
Let the Light In
If you have a window in your room, you are one lucky person. Seriously, I miss the mornings in which I could wake up and my bedroom would be illuminated by the ample amount of sunlight peering through my window. Even though the amount of sunlight I get now is nowhere near as bright as it used to be, a habit I’ve started to swear by is opening the blinds the minute I wake-up!
The light opens your eyes a bit and also gives you a little boost of energy so you can actually get yourself out of bed. Because our bodies are wired to fall asleep when it’s dark and to wake up when it’s light, setting the right tone in your room at night and in the mornings plays a huge role in how your body responds to your sleep schedule!
When you take care of yourself, you can take better care of others. Don’t be so comfortable not sleeping enough that you end up sleeping on yourself and on all of the things you are capable of accomplishing!
If you’ve been on a sleep schedule before, what kind of things tend to throw you off schedule? If you haven’t, what kind of things do you feel would throw you off of a sleep schedule?