Did you know that one in three adults don’t get enough sleep each night?
When you consider how important sleep is to our overall health, this is an especially alarming statistic.
Getting adequate sleep helps us to reduce stress, manage weight, feel happier, and think more clearly. And, sleep helps ward off serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
So, if you’re not getting enough sleep each night, (7 to 9 hours is what’s recommended for adults) it’s time to get back on track.
Check out this guide to learn how to fix your sleep schedule.
Manipulate Light Exposure
Manipulating light exposure may help you reset your internal clock. This can be especially helpful if your poor sleeping habits are due to jet lag.
Basically, what you should do is expose yourself to natural sunlight and bright light in the morning. When you hop out of bed, the first thing you should do is open the curtains. Or, do yourself one better by getting automatic curtains that open at the same time the sun is rising.
Then, when nighttime rolls around, start to dim the lights. And, this doesn’t just mean the lights in your room and the lamps. About an hour before bedtime, you should shut off all electronic light. This means no watching TV, checking your phone, or playing with your iPad.
Instead, wind down with a crossword puzzle, book, or light yoga session.
Normalize Your Meal Times
Our eating and sleeping habits are intertwined, so it should come as no surprise that fixing your meal schedule can also help fix your sleep schedule.
In fact, Harvard researchers found that circadian rhythms actually switch to match food availability. These researchers also found that a 16-hour fast can help to reset your sleep clock and reduce jet lag.
If your sleep hasn’t been disturbed by jet lag, you can still try the 16-hour fast method. Eat an early dinner- around 4 or 5 pm- and then don’t eat again for another 16 hours.
This should help to get your sleep back on track, and once it is on track, you can stick to regular breakfast and dinner times to help keep your circadian rhythms going.
Also, some research suggests that eating saturated fats near bedtime, especially those found in meat in dairy, can be detrimental to your sleep schedule.
So, we suggest eating a light meal that’s low in saturated fats for dinner and saving your heavier meals for the morning.
Sometimes, a trip to the great outdoors is all you need to get your sleeping schedule back on track.
As we mentioned earlier, waking up and going to sleep according to the cycle of natural light can help get your sleeping back on track. And, if you’re camping in a tent, your schedule is pretty much dictated by the cycle of natural light.
A research journal actually put this theory to the test by taking eight participants camping in the wilderness. During the camping trip, the participants didn’t have any access to phones, laptops, or any other artificial light source that could impact their sleeping patterns.
At the end of the study, they found that the natural light pattern helped to sync participants’ biological clocks, and participants were starting to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.
So, why not take a weekend to go camping in the woods? At the very least, you’ll get a break from the stresses of daily life.
Pull an All-Nighter
If you’re desperate to get back on a normal sleep schedule, this tip usually does the trick for most people.
Basically, what you’ll do is stay up all day until your next bedtime. What you’re doing is essentially planned sleep deprivation, so make sure you don’t have anything big planned the next day or that you don’t need to drive anywhere, as sleep deprivation can actually be a bit dangerous.
So, if you don’t go to bed until 4 am but wake up at noon, try pushing past the noon hour and instead of going to bed later at night. We bet by the time 9 or 10 pm rolls around, you’ll be more than ready to hit the hay.
Just remember to set your alarm for a reasonable hour the next day, as you don’t want yourself sleeping double the hours and waking up at noon again to make up for the lost sleep.
Take Baby Steps
If the time you wake up and go to sleep is all over the place, then this tip may not work for you.
However, if you find that your waking up and falling asleep at the same time each day (just not the same time you’d like to) then it’s worth trying this trick.
Instead of attempting to change your sleep schedule in one night, slowly adjust it over time. You should adjust your sleep schedule by no more than 30 minutes at a time, and make sure you give your body ample time to get used to the new schedule before you adjust it again.
For example, if you regularly go to bed at midnight and wake up at 8 am, try adjusting it to going to bed at 1130 and waking up at 730 am. Once you’re used to this, move it back another half hour. Keep moving your sleep schedule back until it’s at the ideal time.
Change Your Mattress
Sleeping on the wrong mattress is like trying to cut a knife with a plastic fork. Basically, it’s a bad idea.
If you can’t remember when the last time you bought a new mattress was, then it’s probably time for a new one.
And, make sure you choose one that fits with the type of sleeper you are. You can check out this article to learn more about what type of mattress to get.
See a Doctor
If you’ve tried all of these methods to no avail, then it’s likely time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
It may be that there is an underlying cause that’s affecting your sleep schedule, and only a doctor can help figure this out.
How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule: Are You Ready to Get Back On Track?
Now that you know how to fix your sleep schedule, it’s time to put these tips to good use. Before you know it, you’ll be falling asleep and waking up like clockwork.
If you liked this article, be sure to check back in with our blog for more health-related tips and tricks!