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How To Get A Better Sleep Schedule

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How To Sleep Well When You Work The Night Shift

How To Get Sleep Schedule Back On Track (Fast!)


The human body’s sleep-wake circadian rhythm helps us rise with the sun and fall asleep after sunset. Unfortunately, being on a shift work schedule can disrupt this system, making it hard to fall asleep on time and feel refreshed for work the next day.

Approximately 25% of people in the U.S. work evenings, nights, early mornings, or rotating shifts. Although maintaining a regular sleep schedule is more difficult for shift workers, they still need the seven to nine hours of sleep experts recommend adults receive each day.

How To Get Better Sleep At Daylight Saving Time

As a sleep-deprived nation, we love when daylight saving time ends in autumn: It gives us the gift of an added hour of sleep. Springing forward is somewhat less welcomethough its effects should be short-lived. Tips that can help when this sleep schedule change comes around:

  • Start shifting your clock a week early, and change wakeup time and bedtime by 15 minutes each day.
  • Cut off caffeine usage an hour earlier than normal, and avoid alcohol, smoking, and intense exercise after dinner.
  • Get up when the alarm goes off, even if youre tired. Your body will adjust quicker if you stick to the new sleep schedule.
  • Seek some morning sunshine to help yourself wake upit resets your internal clock.

Adjust Your Schedule Slowly

Your body wont be able to handle a sudden shift in your sleep routine. If you are trying to adjust your sleep schedule or you know you will be changing your wake-up hours dramatically, plan ahead and adjust your schedule gradually, moving toward your goal time in 15-minute increments. For example, if your normal wake-up time is 8 AM and you need to wake up a 6:30 AM to implement your new workout routine, it will take you seven nights to adopt your new sleep schedule. If you need to make a huge shift, it might take several weeks to get fully onto your desired schedule, but your body will have an easier time doing it than if you make the change abruptly. Tip: Adjust your schedule toward the desired wake-up time in 15-minute increments.

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Be Careful About Naps

Napping can have a similar effect to caffeine, making it harder to fall asleep when you’d like to. Our drive for sleep depends on how long we’ve been awake, and naps reduce that drive.

As with caffeine, the time of the nap is important a 7:00 PM nap is going to be a bigger problem than one at 2:00 PM. If you do nap, aim to keep it shortno more than 20-30 minutes. And again, nap for safety reasons when needed.

Ask Yourself: ‘are You Sleepy’

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This simple question is the best way to determine if youre getting adequate sleep. If you often feel tired at work, long for a nap or fall asleep on your morning or evening commute, your body is telling you that its not getting enough sleep. If youre getting seven or eight hours of sleep a night but still feeling tired and sleep-deprived, you may be suffering from interrupted sleep or a sleep disorder and may need to talk to a doctor and undergo a sleep study.

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Tips To Help You Fall Asleep

You may have heard about some tricks to help you fall asleep. You dont really have to count sheepyou could try counting slowly to 100. Some people find that playing mental games makes them sleepy. For example, tell yourself it is 5 minutes before you have to get up, and youre just trying to get a little bit more sleep.

Some people find that relaxing their bodies puts them to sleep. One way to do this is to imagine your toes are completely relaxed, then your feet, and then your ankles are completely relaxed. Work your way up the rest of your body, section by section. You may drift off to sleep before getting to the top of your head.

Use your bedroom only for sleeping. After turning off the light, give yourself about 20 minutes to fall asleep. If youre still awake and not drowsy, get out of bed. When you feel sleepy, go back to bed.

If you feel tired and unable to do your activities for more than 2 or 3 weeks, you may have a sleep problem. Talk with your doctor about changes you can make to get a better nights sleep.

Schedule An Evening Wind

An evening wind-down is essential to resetting your sleep schedule. If you donât mentally and physically decelerate before bed, you will likely not fall asleep. As you can imagine, the prolonged sleep latency may further throw off your sleep schedule. On top of that, an intentionally scheduled wind down before bed is an effective tool to prevent sleep procrastination from sneaking up on you.

RISE can help you customize your evening wind-down to become part of your bedtime routine based on your unique needs and preferences. Go to the âEnergyâ tab and add the âEvening Routineâ habit to your energy schedule. Choose between activities like:

  • Stretch or yoga
  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Watch videos or TV

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Sleeping Against The Clock

A main challenge of shift work is that it forces you to sleep against the clock. You have an internal body clock in your brain that produces circadian rhythms. The word “circadian” means to occur in a cycle of about 24 hours. These rhythms act like “messages” that regulate various body functions. They influence such things as the following:

  • Body temperature
  • Hunger
  • Hormone Levels

Your body clock uses these rhythms to signal to you when it is time to go to sleep or to wake up. This tends to occur at regular times every day. Among other factors, your clock is “set” by your exposure to sunlight. This keeps the clock’s timing close to the night/day cycle. In most adults, circadian rhythms cause your level of sleepiness to peak from aboutmidnight to 7 am. They can also make you mildly sleepy in the mid-afternoon between 1 pm and 4 pm. If you work at night, you must fight your body’s natural rhythms to try and stay awake. Then you have to try to sleep during the day when your body expects to be alert.

Some researchers think that it may take as long as three years to adjust to a shift work schedule. Others believe that you will never fully adjust to an unusual sleep/wake pattern. Even if this is the case, you can make the best of a bad situation to sleep better.

Are You On The Right Mattress For Your Needs

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Everything we mentioned above assumes you arent sleeping on a bed that is so uncomfortable you spend all night tossing and turning.

It may surprise you to know we can actually pinpoint the best mattress for you based on your factors such as sleeping position, weight, body shape, and more.

For example, side sleepers tend to prefer softer mattresses. The plushness of a soft mattress helps alleviate common pressure points on their shoulders and hips.

Finding the right mattress for you will help you practice better sleep habits and, once your clock is reset, keep up a consistent sleep schedule.

Have you ever had to reset your sleep clock before? What tricks worked for you when trying to reset your sleep clock?

About the author

Rosie Osmun regularly contributes to the Amerisleep blog writing about topics including, reducing back pain while sleeping, the best dinners for better sleep, and improving productivity to make the most of your mornings. She finds the science of sleep fascinating and loves researching and writing about beds. Rosie is also passionate about traveling, languages, and history.

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Optimizing Your Sleep Schedule

Taking control of your daily sleep schedule is a powerful step toward getting better sleep. To start harnessing your schedule for your benefit, try implementing these four strategies:

  • Set a Fixed Wake-Up Time: Its close to impossible for your body to get accustomed to a healthy sleep routine if youre constantly waking up at different times. Pick a wake-up time and stick with it, even on weekends or other days when you would otherwise be tempted to sleep in.
  • Budget Time for Sleep: If you want to make sure that youre getting the recommended amount of sleep each night, then you need to build that time into your schedule. Considering your fixed wake-up time, work backwards and identify a target bedtime. Whenever possible, give yourself extra time before bed to wind down and get ready for sleep.

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How Does A Sleep Clock Work

Before we start solving the problem, lets learn what the sleep clock is and how it works.

Our body has a master clock that controls the cycle of wakefulness and sleepiness it is known as the sleep clock or the circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm tells you when you will feel alert or tired and at what time every day. This 24-hour cycle is located in a part of our brain called the Hypothalamus.

Your environment, genetics, and habits all influence your sleep cycle.

Our sleep clock is influenced by internal signals and external signals . That brings us to the following question: how to reset the circadian rhythm?

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Consider These Other Supplements

Several supplements can induce relaxation and help you sleep, including:

  • Ginkgo biloba: A natural herb with many benefits, it may aid sleep, relaxation, and stress reduction, but the evidence is limited. Take 250 mg 3060 minutes before bed (

75 ).

Another study found that alcohol consumption at night decreased the natural nighttime elevations in human growth hormone , which plays a role in your circadian rhythm and has many other key functions .


Avoid alcohol before bed, as it can reduce nighttime melatonin production and lead to disrupted sleep patterns.

Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good nights sleep.

These factors include temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement .

Numerous studies point out that external noise, often from traffic, can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues .

In one study on the bedroom environment of women, around 50% of participants noticed improved sleep quality when noise and light diminished .

To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light, and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.


Why Should We Care About Good Sleep

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It is estimated that an average of 1.23 million working days are lost each year as a result of the loss of quality sleep. This is in the United States alone. Even more alarming is the trend that chronic sleep deprivation – anything less than 6 hours per night – is associated with an increased risk of death.

In his book “Why Sleep Matters,” leading sleep specialist Dr. Matthew Walker explains that sleep quality affects just about everything you might want your mind or body to do well:

  • Infection control and disease prevention
  • emotional trauma treatment
  • Digesting food and burning fat
  • Store memories and learn new facts
  • Ward off dementia or cardiovascular disease
  • Make logical and rational decisions
  • Even effective interpretation of facial expressions

That’s not all. Dr. Walker suggests that as a result of the sleep loss epidemic, millions of people around the world are working with the least optimal amount of sleep without even realizing it. As it turns out, we think about the time we sleep when we get poorly or when our performance is affected by a lack of sleep.

Well, these are all bad things. But there are good things to talk about, too. If you sleep well, you will experience an increase in energy, motivation, and productivity. You will find yourself stronger and healthier with an improved memory. You will look younger and more attractive according to some studies!

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Relax And Clear Your Mind In The Evening

Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax.

Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia (

122 ).

One study in older adults determined that exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep and provided 41 more minutes of sleep at night .

In people with severe insomnia, exercise offered more benefits than most drugs. Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30%, and anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18% .

Although daily exercise is key for a good nights sleep, performing it too late in the day may cause sleep problems.

This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.

However, some studies show no negative effects, so it clearly depends on the individual (

128 ).

Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.

Although hydration is vital for your health, its wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening.

Try to not drink any fluids 12 hours before going to bed.

You should also use the bathroom right before going to bed, as this may decrease your chances of waking in the night.


How To Sleep Better With Iphone Settings And Some Tweaks

It has become Improper sleep . People take pride in how well they can stay awake and tease others for going to bed early or for taking time to get out of bed. But the truth of the matter is: sleep is very important. And as a quality, we don’t get enough of it.

Fortunately, technology that may be the cause of our sleep problems holds many solutions. Using the settings we have put below, you can continue to Get the most out of your iPhone your, by using it to get the best sleep of your life!

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Making Your Sleep Routine Your Own

Experts acknowledge that most people find it difficult to follow all these recommendations however, they also stress that it isn’t typically necessary to do so. They suggest that individuals identify the factors that are most disruptive to their own sleep and then focus on altering particular behaviors and patterns to overcome these factors.Valerie, for instance, admits that she doesn’t follow all of the advice her doctor gave her. For example, she occasionally reads and does word puzzles in bed, which she knows sleep specialists typically discourage. “They help me take my mind off of the day,” she says. Otherwise, she says she heeds her doctor’s advice, which includes staying away from caffeine in the evening, avoiding stressful activities too close to bedtime, and keeping the television out of her bedroom. Knitting, reading, and listening to relaxing music and nature recordings are some of the activities she uses to transition to sleep.

Despite growing up with few bedtime restrictions, Valerie now keeps a very regular schedule. Even on weekends, she seldom wakes much later than her typical weekday wake time of 5:30 a.m. As a result, “It feels like my body knows when it’s time to go to bed and when it’s time to wake up,” she says. And unlike in her youth, waking has become much easier, despite the early hour. According to sleep experts, a regular schedule not only tends to increase the amount of sleep people get each night, it can also improve the quality of that sleep.

Circadian Rhythm And Sleep

How to FIX Your SLEEP Schedule in 5 DAYS or Less

Although quantity of sleep matters, Bertisch said, the timing of sleep is critical. And the timing of sleep hinges on our circadian rhythm. The 24-hour circadian cycle determines the timing of hormonal fluctuations and variations in alertness and body temperature that prepare your body for wakefulness or sleep.

When you wake up, light exposure triggers the release of cortisol, the alert hormone, Murray said. As the day goes on, your cortisol levels decrease. Meanwhile, your body releases melatonin , about 12 to 14 hours after that initial cortisol surge.

Because of circadian rhythms, you cant sleep on demand, Bertisch says. So if you need eight hours of sleep and you normally go to sleep at 11 p.m., youll rise around 7 a.m. But say one day you need to get up at 5 a.m. to make an early meeting. You probably wont be able to fall asleep two hours earlier than usual the night before, because your body wont be ready to sleep therefore, you wont get your usual eight hours.

Just like we generally cant fall asleep on demand, we struggle to wake before the circadian rhythm has prepared our body to do so. According to physician Brian Gotkin, a pulmonary and sleep specialist at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., rising body temperature and cortisol levels signal your body to wake up this process can be helped by light exposure. Then the longer youre awake, the more sleepy you get.

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