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How To Manage Your Sleep Cycle

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Creating A Sleep Promoting Evening


For most people, the hours after work involve a combination of family, dinner, and plenty of screen time. While theres nothing wrong with unwinding while reading a good e-Book on your tablet or watching some YouTube, the bright light that youre exposing yourself too may be keeping you up for hours longer than healthy for a balanced sleep schedule. Electronic devices emit blue light, which heavily influences your circadian rhythm. Night-time exposure to computer screens, fluorescent lights, and LEDs is typically more disruptive to circadian rhythms, sleep hormone secretion and sleep quality than incandescent lighting. If possible, replace the lightbulbs in your bedroom with incandescent lights, use real books or non-backlit e-readers. If you simply must use your phone or computer, install a blue light filter like F.lux and enable the night settings on your phone . These steps can drastically improve your ability to fall asleep on time.

Whatever evening activities you do, make sure to keep most of them out of the bed. Your bed should be reserved for three things only: sleeping, relaxing and making love. If you are doing work on your laptop while sitting in bed, your subconscious will link your bed with a state of wakefulness and attention. This may make it harder to fall asleep.

We Are Not Sleeping Enough

More than 40% of Americans sleep less than the ideal amount, which makes sleep a hot topic among doctors and sports scientists. Seven of 10 adults experience so much daily stressthat it disrupts their nightly sleep.

Getting enough sleep is not just an issue for the adult population the American Academy of Sleep recommends teens ages 13-18 get 8-10 hours of sleep each night. However, these recommendations can be confounded based on current research that suggests teens as well as shift workers, travelers, and night-time users of hand-held electronic devices have a circadian rhythm that runs longer than 24 hours.

Light exposure from hand-held devices can push the normal sleep cycle back, which may cause the onset of nighttime sleepiness to delay. Although these individuals go to sleep much later, the hourly need for sleep remains the same. Unfortunately, social cues to wake up such as school, work, or training further shorten the sleep cycle.

This problem doesnt only plague average Americans. In fact, up to 75% of student athletes report less than 8 hours of sleep, while two-thirds of athletes studied report they get worse than normal sleep the night before a competition, while an evaluation of professional hockey players shows that the number of players who report sleep disturbances will double during the season compared to off-season. Student-athletes who sleep less than eight hours a night are twice as likely to suffer an injury.

Dont Be A Nighttime Clock

Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep. Turn your clocks face away from you. And if you wake up in the middle of the night and cant get back to sleep in about 20 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet, restful activity such as reading or listening to music. And keep the lights dim bright light can stimulate your internal clock. When your eyelids are drooping and you are ready to sleep, return to bed.

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Culprits Of Circadian Misalignment That Upset Your Sleep Schedule

As much as your circadian rhythm tries to guide your sleep schedule, life and other factors often get in the way, causing circadian misalignment. Working against your internal clock not only leads to a high sleep debt but also predisposes you to lower energy levels during the day and even chronic health risks over time. Below, we share the top causes behind circadian misalignment that are upsetting your sleep schedule.

A Bright Morning And Waking Up Right


During the first few nights of attempting to fix your sleep cycle, you may find that youre still having a bit of trouble sleeping. Being strict with your wakeup time and waking up routine can quickly remedy this and help you get on the right track. Having a good wakeup routine can help solidify your cycle.

When you wake up, have a large and healthy breakfast. Include plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates, and exclude sugar. A good option could be oatmeal with yogurt or eggs with sautéed spinach. This will help your body recognize that its time to wake up and give you a sense of energy and readiness to start the day.

Try to get some direct natural sunrays first thing in morning as well. This could be as simple as stepping outside your door or on your balcony for a few moments, or walking part of the way to work. In some countries, the sun rises very late in the day during winter months, and many people are at work before the sun comes out. In that case, you can buy a natural sunlight emitter lamp. These lamps mimic the suns wavelength, which your body uses as an indicator that its time to start moving. Your body will release hormones that cause the sensation of wakefulness. Boost these feelings of wakefulness by going outside for short breaks during the day, or by using your natural light lamp.

Eventually, youll just naturally fall asleep and wake up at the time you intend, feeling completely refreshed. Good luck, and sweet dreams!

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Sleep And Other Key Reproductive Hormones

Just how much sleep truly impacts our health remains somewhat of a mystery, but more information continues to unfold that links sleep quality to a variety of hormonal changes and health conditions.

As we mentioned earlier, TSH is one of the hormones most impacted by sleep. When youre dealing with sleep deprivation, TSH may drop and too high or too low TSH levels can interrupt your menstrual cycles and make it harder to time sex or insemination around your most fertile days when trying to get pregnant.

While insulin a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps control the amount of glucose in your blood isn’t exactly a reproductive hormone, insulin resistance is linked to challenges with fertility. When you’re resistant to insulin, your body has a harder time managing your blood sugar levels and a lack of sleep can be a risk factor forinsulin resistance. Night shift workers, who often report sleep issues , also tend to have reduced insulin sensitivity .

If You Are Having Trouble Sleeping At Night Then Try Not To Drink Coffee After Noon Or Alcohol After Five In The Afternoon

If you do drink caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime, then try not to go to bed within two or three hours of drinking them because if you do that they can keep you up all night long.

3.5% of Americans suffer from insomnia every year, which means they have problems sleeping for at least one month out of the twelve-month period in any given year. That is about one out of every sixteen people in America who have insomnia every year! That is a lot of people who are having trouble sleeping!

This means that there are many employers who are probably having problems getting their employees their work done because they are too tired from not getting enough sleep! That is not fair for employers!

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How To Find The Best Mattress For Your Needs

As we mentioned above, your bedroom should be a sleep haven. However, adequate sleep can be hard to find if you are resting on a bed that is too firm or too soft for your needs.

Your body type and sleeping position can help determine the firmness level right for you. Below, we break down how to choose the right mattress based on your body type and preferred sleep style.

How To Reset Your Sleep Schedule The Natural Way

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Do you find it hard to fall asleep at night and even harder to wake up when the alarm clock goes off? Are you battling sleepiness and lower energy levels during the day? If you’re nodding your head, then you might be struggling with an out-of-whack sleep cycle, a high sleep debt, or a combination of the two.

We all have a central biological clock that regulates the circadian rhythm dictating our natural sleep and wake preferences. When your sleep-wake cycle is running smoothly, you have no trouble entering dreamland and getting the amount of sleep your body needs. Unfortunately, modern life tends to mess up your sleep patterns and incite circadian misalignment.

Understanding the relationship between your internal clock and sleep-wake cycle is the first step to acknowledging your sleep problems. Only when youâve understood the root causes behind your circadian misalignment will you be able to learn how to reset your sleep schedule.

Please note: This post is meant for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from a health care professional. While the RISE app is designed to support natural sleep and better sleep hygiene, it does not treat health problems like sleep disorders.

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Review Your Sleep Environment

An optimal sleep environment will help you meet your sleep need when resetting your sleep schedule. Use this checklist to make the necessary adjustments to your bedroom:

  • Keep it cool: Your core body temperature naturally drops during sleep. As such, a cool bedroom can help simulate this biological change to bring about more restful sleep. If youâre away from home, adjust the thermostat in your hotel room to the right temperature, which should read 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep it dark: Relating back to our earlier point on light exposure, you want to keep your bedroom dark â pitch-black is best. Turn off all light sources and invest in blackout curtains and an eye mask .
  • Keep it quiet: You canât fall asleep if your surroundings are too noisy. Complete silence is golden, and you can achieve this with soundproof windows, curtains, and carpets at home. If thatâs not possible or youâre sleeping away from home, opt for earplugs. RISEâs in-app Relaxing Sounds can also double as white noise to help you drift off more easily.

How To Reset Your Sleep Cycle

Dr. Kerr offers these tips for resetting your sleep schedule:

  • Get outside and get moving. “Fresh air and exercise can help calm and tire you out while vitamin D from the sunshine helps regulate circadian rhythms to keep your sleep consistent,” Dr. Kerr says.
  • Set up your bedroom for sleep. Keep temperatures cool, electronics to a minimum and bedding comfy yet simple. Check your pillows to make sure they’re right for you — pillows should comfortably support your head and neck.
  • Nix daytime naps. “With extra time on your hands, or perhaps because of working from home, it may be easy and enticing to sneak in a daytime nap,” Dr. Kerr says. “While the occasional nap can be a great reset for the rest of the day, it may rob you of the more important and restorative sleep that your body needs at night.”
  • Watch what you watch on TV. Listening to discouraging reports on the evening news before bed might keep your mind racing throughout the night, Dr. Kerr says. If you must watch TV before bed, opt for shows that are lighter and more entertaining — and ideally stop watching all TV an hour before bed.
  • Take a melatonin supplement. If all else fails, you might need a dose of melatonin to push your body back into your preferred sleep cycle or if you’re just having trouble falling asleep in general. Melatonin is a safe sleep supplement and shouldn’t cause you to become dependent on it. Magnesium may also help.

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How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule After It’s Been Thrown Off

A consistent sleep cycle improves sleep quality.

Maintaining a sleep schedule makes waking up easier.

After a fun evening of binge-watching reruns of your favorite sitcom, you look at the clock to see if you can squeeze in another episode and — oh, crap — it’s already three hours past your usual bedtime!

You know it’s going to hurt to wake up at 6 a.m. tomorrow, so you have to make a decision before hitting the hay: Will you push through and wake up at your usual time, or will you sleep in to “catch up” on missed sleep?

The first option, though tough, is your best bet if you want to maintain a healthy sleep cycle that supports energy, productivity and good moods. If you do choose to sleep in, you risk pushing your bedtime back further and further until waking up at your usual time feels impossible and you spend the day fighting fatigue. If you find yourself in this situation, you can try to reset your sleep schedule with these tips from sleep experts.

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How To Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

How To Manage The Sleep Cycle Of Your Children

This article was co-authored by Alex Dimitriu, MD. Alex Dimitriu, MD is the Owner of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, a clinic based in the San Francisco Bay Area with expertise in psychiatry, sleep, and transformational therapy. Alex earned his Doctor of Medicine from Stony Brook University in 2005 and graduated from the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Sleep Medicine Residency Program in 2010. Professionally, Alex has dual board certification in psychiatry and sleep medicine.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 491,112 times.

The sleep schedule is one of the most important rhythms in the human body. Our body needs anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of sleep every day in order to repair itself and refresh itself for the next 24 hours. Unfortunately, events outside of our control may interfere with our sleep patterns and it may be necessary for us to change sleeping habits, whether temporarily or permanently. As long as you take the time to understand your sleeping habits and practice discipline, you can learn how to adjust your sleep schedule.

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Setting Up An Optimal Environment

Setting up an optimal environment for sleep ensures the efficacy of the next steps.

To optimize your bedroom for sleep, you want to make sure the lighting and temperature of your bedroom are adjusted for sleep when it comes time to settle in. There should be as little light as possible in your bedroom. Get light blocking curtains and remove light-emitting alarm clocks and cell phones from your room. If possible, keep your phone outside your bedroom, or at least place it on sleep mode so that you are not disturbed.

A slightly cold temperature is conducive to sleep, so if you have an air conditioning unit, tune the temperature slightly downwards to ensure the room is a bit cooler.

How The Sleep Cycle Works

Your body cycles through four stages of sleep throughout the night. One cycle takes about 90 minutes.

During a typical nights sleep, youll cycle through each stage four to six times. If youre limiting yourself to 4 hours of sleep, youll only have time to cycle through these stages twice.

The sleep stages are:

  • N1. This is the lightest stage of sleep, lasting 1 to 5 minutes. During this stage, your breathing and heart rate slow down and your muscles relax.
  • N2. This stage lasts about 30 to 60 minutes. Your breathing and heart rate slow down even further and your body temperature drops.
  • N3. The third stage of sleep is also known as deep sleep. This period, which lasts about 20 to 40 minutes, is when your body repairs damaged tissues and cells.
  • Rapid eye movement . REM is the stage most associated with dreaming. Your first REM cycle lasts about 10 minutes and your last one can last up to 1 hour.

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Why Does A Sleep Routine Matter

Humans are often described as creatures of habit because we become conditioned to distinct patterns of behavior through repetition of certain cues and responses. Routines can make actions nearly automatic in numerous aspects of daily life, including sleep.

Actively cultivating a healthy sleep routine makes it easier to get the sleep you need on a consistent basis. By creating habits and cues that promote sleep, the norm becomes falling asleep quickly and staying asleep through the night. With more repetition, the routine gets reinforced, facilitating increasingly stable sleep patterns over time.

Tips For Resetting Your Sleep Schedule

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If you have fallen into a sleep schedule thats not working for you because youre having trouble getting up in the morning, staying up later than you want, or whatever the case, what can you do? Try taking these steps to get your sleep patterns on the track that works for you:

How long it will likely take to reset your clock depends on whats causing you to be off. If youre simply adjusting after being in a different time zone, the rule of thumb is that it usually takes one day per time zone, Pelayo says. But some people take two weeks to adjust, if its a really long trip.

For people with a condition like DSPS, getting back on track depends on how long the pattern has been entrenched. We tell people to wait one or two months, says Pelayo. If people have had poor sleep for years, theyre surprised when they start getting better. And when youre surprised about your sleep getting better, that wakes you up, because youre not sure its going to keep working. It takes maybe two months for the novelty of sleeping well to wear off.

Changing your sleep schedule isnt easy, but with the proper discipline it can be done. Dont get upset with yourself, because it just makes the problem worse, Pelayo says. Know that sleep will always come eventually.

With additional reporting by Deb Shapiro.

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