Sorting Out Your Sleep Schedule
Today I want to talk about the most important habit to form if you want…
- To get better sleep
- Fall asleep fast
- Fix your sleep clock
- Get into a great sleep cycle AND stay there..
This habit is maintaining a good nighttime routine.
The Best Way To Fix Your Sleep Schedule
After having had trouble with not being able to sleep/ maintain a regular sleep pattern for years…
I can say that in my experience this has hands down been the most important aspect to getting a normal sleep pattern or beating “insomnia”.
The reason I have insomnia in quotes there is because I’m talking about people who claim to have insomnia but do not actually have it…
I am fully aware that insomnia is a very real condition.
However many of the people I talk to cry insomnia when actually they are lying in their
bed at night with the lights on sitting on facebook, or binging on a tv show on netflix.
That isn’t insomnia…
That is bad sleep hygiene…
Here is how to improve it.
Fix Your Sleep Clock Through Proper Sleep Routines
If you want to get into a regular sleep routine I strongly recommend you have a set routine for 1 hour prior to the time you go to bed.
Usually people who struggle with sleeping badly (me included) have horrendous sleeping habits. They do not do anything to aid themselves in falling asleep.
A solid nighttime routine has been the most effective thing I have ever implemented when it comes to sleep.
This routine should consist of things that help you get into a calm and relaxed state to make it easier to go to sleep when the time comes.
Tip: If possible you should also try to go to bed at the same time every night. Obviously you don’t need to do this every night, we need to live a little after all. However having a set time will make it easier to establish the habit and get into a regular routine. Some doctors recommend
that the optimal time to go to bed is 10:30pm and to not go to bed any later than midnight.
So What Do You Put In This Sleep Routine?
In this article we are going to discuss:
- What NOT to put in this sleep routine
- What you SHOULD put in this routine
- A few tips to help you fall asleep fast once you hit the pillow
To Start Lets Go Over What Should NOT Be In This Routine
Within The Hour Before Bed You Should Not Be:
Eating Before Bed
Eating before bed keeps you awake. Unfortunately it’s just that simple…
While you do not want to eat or drink within the hour before you go to bed. You want to make sure that you have eaten enough so that you will not be woken up by hunger
during the night.
You also want to avoid drinking too much fluids of any time as this will increase the chance
of you having to make bathroom trips when you go to bed.
Tip: If you find that you didn’t eat or drink enough earlier and are thirsty or hungry during the hour before bed. Stick to water to quench your thirst.
For hunger foods that can help promote sleep contain tryptophan, examples of these are:
Netflix is awesome and it’s just filled with tv shows that you can binge
watch all at once….
Unfortunately not only does the “just one more episode” excuse keep you awake glued to a series.
The device you are watching it on is keeping you awake as well…
Tablets, phones, tvs, laptops, anything with a screen should be avoided completely….
Melatonin is what helps the body get sleepy.The screens on technology give off blue light which actually prevents the body from producing melatonin.
Therefore making it harder for you to go to sleep.
This was the biggest thing that prevented me from getting into a normal sleep schedule. As soon as I stopped using tech, I started falling asleep faster.
If you could only avoid one thing on this list. I think I would choose this one. Cutting out technology an hour before bed
Tip:If you use your phone for an alarm clock. I strongly recommend you turn notifications for texts, instagram etc off on your phone. This will stop you being woken
up/ tempted by the sound of your phone receiving notifications.
Performing regular exercise is actually seen to improve the quality of your sleep. Therefore it is something that you may want to incorporate into your life.
Exercising too close to when you to bed, can mess up your sleep habits by keeping you awake.
When you exercise you often feel pumped up afterwards which keeps you wide awake. This is due to our bodies have a fast increase in stress hormones….
…Although it keeps our muscles going its not good if you want to go
to sleep after.
I’m all for training hard, but keep it away from your bedtime.
Bathing is similar to exercise, in the sense that having a shower or taking a bath can help you relax.
According to sleep experts, it actually works against you when it comes to sleeping…
This is because your body temperature will naturally cool down in the evenings.
This acts as a signal to get your body ready for sleep.
Bathing will raise the temperature again meaning your body will not receive the signal that it is time to go to sleep.
So if you want better sleep, keep the bathing out of your nighttime routine.
Work is something that you want to keep away from this time as well…
If you are working it keeps your brain active and prevents you from being able to wind down in order to go to sleep. Take some time away from the desk for the sake of your sleeping habits.
If you are a smoker this is something you definitely want to resist before bed.
As an ex smoker myself I know this can be hard.
There are so many negative effects that smoking has on your sleeping that I could write a whole article about it.
Here are just a few of the effects:
- Waking up more frequently
- More likely to develop sleep apnea
- Disrupts natural sleep cycle
- More likely to have insomnia
If possible cut them completely. If not keep them away from your 1hr bedtime
Sort Out Your Sleep Clock By Putting These In Your Nighttime Routine
You do not to include all of these into your night time routine even doing one of these consistently will help.
Meditation is an excellent habit to form. Mediation has a massive list of benefits.
I think it is one of the simplest and best practices you can incorporate into your life.
Doing meditation before bed (even if it’s only 5 minutes) is a great way to help you get into a
more relaxed state.
In my opinion it is the most effective way to get rid of any tension built up throughout the day and wind down.
The Pew Research Center said that one quarter of adult Americans did not even read one book the year before.
This is such a shame because Reading is one great option to fill your time with.
A good book is one of my favorite ways get myself into relaxation mode.
For me personally I like to stay in the fiction category when I’m reading before bed and stay away from non fiction.
Particularly anything in the self help genre as this can sometimes get you fired up. This is great, but not so good when you are trying to fall asleep.
It’s not just my opinion…
Researchers at the University of Sussex carried out a study in 2009.
It showed that reading for only 6 minutes reduced stress by 68%.
Also people who read a lot are shown to have a lot better mental abilities and memory at all of the different stages in life.
So it’s an all round win as far as I’m concerned.
Tip: If you like to read off your kindle or equivalent reading tablet. I recommend purchasing a blue light filter so that you can read from a screen without it giving off blue light that keeps you awake.
Listen To Music
If you don’t feel like reading, listening to music can be a good alternative.
In the same study at the University of Sussex, it was found that after 6 minutes reduced stress by 61%. This makes it great alternative for reducing stress if you don’t feel like reading.
Dim The Lights
Dimming the lights is something that I highly recommend because it simulates the light outside.
As it gets darker our body produces hormones that prepare us for sleep.
However if we have a bunch of lights turned up full blast our body will think it is still daytime. This could negatively effect your internal sleep clock and the quality of sleep.
So turning down the lights or turning most of them off is definitely something worth doing.
Stretching before bed is a great way to relieve tension built up throughout the day.
Particularly if you have a job where you have been been sitting at a desk, or you have been driving a lot.
Tip:If you want to really go for it this can be great to do before
or after meditation, since meditation is, you guessed it more sitting.
Tips To Help You Fall Asleep Fast
Finally here a just a few tips to help you get to sleep once you actually hit the pillow.
I found these particularly useful when establishing my bedtime routine as I was not used to going to bed so early.
After you are used to going to bed at the same regularly, you will find it easier and easier to fall asleep quickly.
Slow Breathing Down
Some people have a bad habit of breathing too quickly when they are in bed.
People are not exhaling enough.
I find myself doing this quite often and I like to breathe in for 8 seconds and then breathe out for 8 seconds.
You can do this for longer or shorter breaths but make sure you are inhaling and exhaling for the same amount of time.
Also I would not recommend you go below 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out.
Sleep On Your Right Side
This one applies to people who have a fatty liver or a congested liver.
Sleeping on your right side is a good idea.
The reason for this is that the liver is on the right side of your body while your heart is on
the left side of your body.
If you sleep on your left side the weight of the liver will press down onto the heart.
If you sleep on the right side, the heart will be on top of the liver.
This will give you better breathing and a better nights sleep.
Trying To Stay Awake
This is an odd one but I found it a surprisingly effective way to fall asleep.
Sometimes we try so hard to go to sleep that we only keep ourselves awake for longer.
It’s sort of like the monkey trick (if you ask someone to think about anything
but a monkey, all they can think about is a monkey).
So if you flip it and try not to fall asleep when you’re lying down in bed you might find
yourself feeling very sleepy, very quickly.
Getting Into A Normal Sleep Cycle: In Review
To round it all off lets break it down to the essentials.
Establish a time that you will go to bed at
One hour before that point..
Eat or drink
Do that could cause extra stress
Use technology with screens of any kind
Unless its a kindle with a blue light filter
Dim the lights 1 hour before you go to bed
Listen To Music
Follow these and with persistence you can transform you sleep schedule.
If you are looking for something to aid you on your journey, check out my review of melatrol, the all natural sleep pill. Read the Review here.
If you are looking for more tips to help you fall asleep you can read all about it here.