You know it will hurt, so you have to make a decision before you sit in the hay: do you want to keep going and wake up at your usual time, or do you go to sleep to make up for the missed sleep?
The first option, while difficult, is the best choice if you want to maintain a healthy sleep cycle that supports energy, productivity, and good mood. If you choose to sleep in, you risk pushing your bedtime back further and further until waking up at your usual time (such as before work) feels impossible and you spend all day fighting fatigue. If you are in this situation, you can try resetting your sleep schedule with these tips from sleep experts.
Why your sleep cycle is important
Having a consistent sleep schedule makes it easier to fall into a good sleep, Annie Miller, a therapist at DC Metro Sleep and Psychotherapy tells CNET.
“Our brains respond very well to routines,” says Miller. “Creating healthy bedtime routines for ourselves can dramatically improve our sleep. And as your brain associates bedtime with relaxation rather than stress, sleep becomes easier.”
When you fall asleep faster and spend less timeimprove your overall sleep time and quality, leaving you more rested and energized the next day. “Regular, consistent sleep is the first line of defense in fighting anxious or depressed thoughts or lack of energy,” said Dr. Max Kerr, sleep dental expert at Sleep Better Austin, on CNET.
In addition, sleep stages are time-dependent, says Dr. Kerr, so inconsistent sleep schedules can “shorten” your sleep stages and cause you to spend less time on the important ones..
How your sleep cycle is broken down
Miller says keeping it the same every day when you wake up – no matter what time you go to sleep – the key is to keep your body in rhythm (although ideally you’d have the same bedtime and wake-up time every day. ). “Typically, varying your wake times is more detrimental to sleeping than going to bed later. If you depress your wake time by sleeping late, we create a jet lag-like response,” Miller explains. “If you go to bed later and still get up at the same time, you sleep less, but it doesn’t interfere with your sleep cycle.”
Dr. Kerr states that you are reversing bedtime can ditch your sleep cycle. Scientifically, research suggests that varying your bedtime by more than 30 minutes each night can lead to less healthy behavior during the day, such as a lack of physical activity. Other research points to consistent wake times as a predictor of better sleep quality. It’s best to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day – but only you can know if waking up at 6am is feasible, whether you went to sleep at 10pm or noon.
Other things can also disrupt your sleep cycle. Working shifts, drinking alcohol, sleeping with a disruptive bed partner (such as children, your spouse or pets),or or can all disrupt your sleep cycle, says Dr. Kerr.
How to Reset Your Sleep Cycle
Dr. Kerr offers these tips for resetting your sleep schedule:
- Go outside and move. “Fresh air and exercise can help you calm down and get tired, while vitamin D from the sun helps regulate circadian rhythms to keep your sleep consistent,” says Dr. Kerr.
- Set up your bedroom for sleeping. Keep temperatures cool, electronics to a minimum, and bedding comfortable yet simple. to make sure they are right for you – should comfortably support your head and neck.
- Nix . “With extra time on your hands, or perhaps because you work from home, it can be easy and tempting to take a nap during the day,” says Dr. Kerr. “While the occasional nap can be a great reset for the rest of the day, it can rob you of the more important and restorative sleep your body needs at night.”
- Watch what you watch on TV. Listening to discouraging reports on the evening news before going to bed can keep your mind racing all night long, says Dr. Kerr. If you have to watch TV before going to bed, opt for shows that are lighter and more fun – and ideally stop watching all the TV an hour before bed.
- Take a melatonin supplement. If all else fails, you may have one to push your body back into your favorite sleep cycle or if you simply have a hard time falling asleep in general. Melatonin is a safe and should not make you dependent on it. can also help.
How to Control Your Sleep Schedule
Once you’ve reset your sleep cycle, the real hard work begins: keeping your schedule under control. Miller offers these few tips for making one:
- Create a “buffer zone” about an hour before bed. During that time, don’t work, watch the news, or do anything that could cause stress. The buffer zone is just for relaxing, Miller says. Stretch, listen to gentle music, , read a book or talk to your partner or roommate.
- Wake up at the same time every dayno matter what time you go to sleep at night. “We often think that we can ‘catch up’ on our sleep on weekends or that we have a bad night’s sleep,” says Miller, “but that can actually exacerbate insomnia by creating what’s called social jet lag.” It’s important to keep your wake-up time consistent and understand that you can be tired in the short term, but doing so will increase your sleep rhythm and eventually allow you to fall asleep faster at night, Miller explains.
- Only use your bed for sleeping. “This is one that a lot of people have heard before, but it’s really important,” Miller emphasizes. “When you create a conditioned response that the bed is only used for sleeping, you can make a connection between bed and sleep.” This means no reading in bed, no watching TV in bed, no tossing and snoozing in the morning.
- Stop trying to sleep. This sounds counterintuitive, but “[w]Too much effort to sleep is counterproductive, “Miller explains.” Spending time in bed trying to sleep can worsen insomnia. If you can’t sleep, get up and out of bed and do something restful until you feel really sleepy. Sleep should be effortless and we should spend as little time as possible trying to sleep, Miller says.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.