Due to the huge number of people who don’t believe they get enough shuteye, the CDC has marked insufficient sleep as a public health problem. If you’re one of many people who can’t seem to catch some restful Z’s, learn how to get on a sleep schedule. One that you’ll actually stick to.
6 Ways to Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
1. Pre-Sleep Preparation
It’s just not possible for most people to go from full-speed to deep sleep in the blink of an eye without a bit of time to unwind. Experts recommend giving your body a little while to relax and allow your thoughts to stop racing and your adrenaline to stop pumping before you hit the hay.
Also, avoid any backlit devices, such as smartphones, computers and e-readers in the preceding 30 or so minutes before you get into bed. According to Harvard Health Publications, that blue light emitted from such devices can have devastating effects on your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s internal clock.
2. Gradually Adjust
You won’t be able to adjust your sleep schedule in just one night. If you usually stay up until 1:00 a.m. but would like to be asleep by 10:30 p.m., go to bed at 12:45 a.m. for a few days. Then cut it back to 12:30 a.m. and so on until you’ve achieved your goal. This gives your body time to adjust to the new regiment.
3. Avoid Stimulants Late in the Day
Not surprisingly, stimulating substances like caffeine and nicotine can shave a ton of time off your nightly sleep if you ingest them too late.
It’s recommended that you refrain from drinking caffeine six hours before bedtime. And, while it’s best to avoid nicotine entirely, at least abstain from it in the four hours leading up to bedtime so that it has no effect on your sleep.
4. Know the Golden Nap Rule
Many people just can’t get by without sneaking a midday nap for an extra energy boost. Brandon Peters, MD recommends that you limit your naps to between 15 and 20 minutes, once a day.
Anything more than that, and your body may confuse that power nap for your nightly sleep cycle, throwing off your circadian rhythm.
5. Associate your Bed with Sleep
An often overlooked cause of sleeplessness is the association of your bed with something other than sleep. The association of something like watching Netflix, or doing work in bed, rather than sleep, can cause restlessness.
Similarly, if you find yourself lying awake, unable to sleep, get out of bed after about 10 minutes. In the meantime, do something mildly entertaining, yet relaxing. Elements of Rockville Centre recommends activities such as:
- Listening to music
- Mindfulness exercises
Try and coax your mind back to sleep before you get into bed again, since lying awake and watching the clock for hours can cause anxiety and ruin your mind’s association of your bed with sleep.
6. Get a Massage
As a massage therapy company, we couldn’t resist adding a section about the benefits of massage for sleep. It’s been proven that regular massage improves the quality of your sleep, among many other things.
With a bit of patience and discipline, you can get on a regulated sleep schedule in just a few weeks’ time. Then, you’ll be able enjoy the benefits of increased energy and focus!