What Sleep Schedule Is Right for You February 25, 2019 Whisper Admin People are having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep. Long work hours, stress, and the side effects of various medications or sleep disorders can all contribute to sleep deprivation. Some people have a hard time falling asleep because their circadian rhythm or natural sleep-wake cycle has been disrupted. If you aren’t getting enough sleep because your sleep cycle is off, you need to find out how to fix your sleep schedule as soon as possible. What Is a Sleep Schedule? You’ve probably noticed that your body goes into sleep mode at a certain time every night and wakes up around the same time each morning. This is called your circadian clock. Your body has an internal rhythm that helps you fall asleep and wake up the following day. Your body’s internal clock allows you to go through the different stages of sleep, from NREM to REM, then slowly telling your body that it is time to get up from bed when the light starts to appear in the sky. However, there are factors that can disrupt one’s biological clock. These include working a night shift, taking care of a newborn, traveling to a different time zone, or drinking caffeine late in the day. These disruptions can take a toll on your body. What Affects a Good Sleep Schedule? Everyone’s circadian rhythm is unique. Factors that contribute to this are the environmental cues that surround us such as what time we set our alarm clock, our eating schedule, the hours when we’re most active in the day, and when we rest our head on our pillow. Since our sleep habits can be altered by the signals that we send to our body, we can adjust the time that we go to bed. However, experts recommend that we get a certain number of hours of sleep per night depending on our age bracket. For example, newborns and toddlers need up to 14 hours of sleep, while pre-school to teens need 10 to 12 hours of sleep, young adults and adults should get up to 9 hours of sleep while the older adults should get around 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day. Of course, there are many factors that can affect your body clock, but these recommendations should serve as a guideline for you so you can fall asleep when you want to. What Is a Bad Sleep Schedule? Our body follows its natural circadian rhythm daily. If your circadian clock is working normally, you will feel very sleepy around the same time every night and wake up around the usual hour too. However, not everyone has the same sleep patterns. If you are a night owl, you are most active at night and you sleep later in the morning. This usually happens to those who work graveyard shifts which can sometimes be dangerous to your health. A bad sleep schedule can also be defined as keeping an erratic sleep time. This can happen to new parents who have to follow the schedule of their newborn babies. Newborns follow a polyphasic sleep pattern where they sleep several times during a day. This can disrupt your own sleeping schedule and lead to sleep deprivation. Whatever the reason, if you are experiencing less than 6 hours of sleep, your circadian clock is not working properly. Of course, there are some who are exempt from this rule because their bodies allow them to function normally even after only a few hours of restful sleep. Causes of Irregular Sleep Schedules Once you start feeling the effects of sleep deprivation, you may start questioning how to fix your sleep schedule. First, you need to determine what is causing you to miss out on a good night’s sleep. 1. Travel Traveling to a destination that has a different time zone can affect your bedtime routine. This is true especially when you are traveling East to a time zone ahead of yours. You’ve probably encountered jet lag where your body feels tired and out of sorts because you haven’t slept well at all. How to fix your sleep schedule in one night? It may take a while for your body to go back to its normal sleep and wake cycle, especially when you have just gotten back from an overseas trip. However, this is not to say there’s nothing you can do about your sleeping pattern. 2. Sleep Disorders Aside from jet lag, another possible factor that can create chaos on your circadian clock are sleep disorders. The most common sleep disorder that many of us have is insomnia. We lie in bed tossing and turning until the morning. There are many factors that can trigger insomnia such as exposure to bright light while in bed, jet lag, and using your electrical gadgets that emit blue light before going to bed. Sleep apnea is another sleep disorder that can make falling asleep difficult for many suffers. This condition occurs when your throat muscles become so loose that they obstruct your airways. For the more severe types of apnea, your breathing stops for a few seconds up to a minute until your brain signals you to wake up because you are lacking oxygen. 3. Oversleeping There really is such a thing as oversleeping especially during the weekends when we are trying to repay the sleep debt from during the week. Unfortunately, sleeping for more than 10 hours on weekends is commonly referred to as social jet lag and is one of the causes that your body clock gets out of sync. How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule Now that you know how your circadian clock can get disrupted it is time to learn how to fix your sleep schedule. If you are one of those who can’t fall asleep easily at night, you can begin to reclaim your sleep by training your body to ease itself back into its natural clock. Here are a few tips on how to fix your sleep schedule: 1. Adjust your lighting Adjusting your exposure to light a few hours before bed may be an effective solution to correcting your sleep time. Sleep specialists often use light to treat those who are suffering from sleep phase disorders. The light-dark cycle can trigger your sleep clock as well as your circadian rhythm. By exposing yourself to natural light during the morning and the rest of the day then turning down the lights once the sun sets, your body will produce melatonin to help your body settle in when it’s time for bed. 2. Plan for camping Since sleep specialists use light to correct one’s circadian clock, you should consider camping as one of your solutions on how to fix your sleep schedule. Sleeping outdoors, exposed to natural light, can help your body adjust to its normal sleep cycle so that you will be able to go to bed on time. Camping also helps with keeping electrical gadgets at bay. 3. Adjust your sleep time The goal here is to get you to wake up without an alarm clock in order to determine and stick to your natural sleep rhythm. One way on how to fix a sleep schedule is to adjust your sleeping time slowly. If you want to move your sleep time from 11 PM to 10 PM, do it gradually by getting to bed 15 minutes earlier until you reach your desired bedtime. For early risers, start by determining your ideal waking time and counting backward five 90-minute sleep cycles (or 7.5 hours). That’s your starting bedtime. Try it, then see what happens, if you wake up within 10 minutes of your alarm going off for the next three days, you’ve found your schedule! If not, move your bedtime back by 15 minutes every three days until this happens. For night owls, we’re going to adjust this a bit. Think about when you would go to bed in your ideal world, then count forward by 7.5 hours to determine your wakeup time, and do the same process, shifting your wakeup time up by 15 minutes every three days until you wake up before your alarm. (Unfortunately, this time may not be realistic if you have to be at work by a certain hour, in which case, follow the process for morning people and set your waking time to the latest possible time you can wake up and make it to work on time.) More Ways On How to Fix My Sleep Schedule Nap correctly Since there is no one solution on how to fix your sleep schedule in one night, you can always make time to adjust your sleeping habits properly until your body goes back to its natural sleep-wake cycle. One method is to take naps at the right time Instead of napping for an hour, keep it to 20 to 30 minutes only. Sleeping longer can disrupt your sleep-wake pattern further which can make it difficult for you to go to bed on time at night. Write in your journal An overactive mind can prevent you from falling asleep at night which can be bothersome. If you want to fall asleep without any difficulty when you are in bed, why not jot down everything that is running in your head on a journal? Keep a journal by your bed so that you will be able to pour out everything that is bothering you. Then, promise yourself to look at it in the morning. Create an appropriate meal schedule Your eating schedule can also help you set your sleep and wake schedule back to normal too. If you’ve been eating way too late in the night, your body will have a tough time getting to sleep as it is working hard at digestion. A better approach to correcting your circadian clock so you will fall asleep at the right time is to set up an eating schedule and stick to it. Exercise at the right time If you want to be able to fall asleep at the right time every night, then you need to be active at the right hours during your day. Adding exercise to your day can help you go to bed on time without causing you to toss and turn in bed. Just make sure to time your exercise regime several hours before sleeping. Create an Optimal Sleep Environment It is understandable that you want to fall asleep on time but with the constant disruptions to your sleep, it can be difficult to get into bed and wake at your usual time. With that being said: Start a pre-sleep routine. For those who are wondering, “How to fix my sleep schedule?”, it is always a good idea to have a pre-sleep routine, so your body will know that it is almost time for bed. Parts of your pre-sleep routine can include taking a shower, reading a book, or listening to some soothing music so you can fall asleep easily. Darken your bedroom Another way for you to fall asleep effortlessly at night is to make sure that your bedroom is darkened. One reason why we have trouble falling asleep is too much light. If there is a street light near your window, you can use blackout curtains to darken your room and help get you back to your natural sleep and wake cycle. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy, about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night. Take a look at our WHISPER mattress if you have trouble falling asleep and need a mattress that eliminates many of the distractions keeping you awake such as heat, discomfort due to uneven pressure, and even electromagnetic waves in your bedroom. Reduce exposure to blue light Sleeping at night can be disrupted because of our use of our gadgets before sleeping. If you want to get a good night’s rest avoid using your favorite electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime so your melatonin production will not be disrupted. Once your schedule is all set, make sure you’re spending your time sleeping on the best mattress you can get. The WHISPER comes with a 100-night risk-free trial so give it a shot today!