I have messed up my sleep schedule many times, so that is why I wanted to find a good solution to fix it. Luckily, the fix is quite simple, if you’re going to take this challenge and follow it strictly.
So how can you fix your sleep schedule? You can fix your sleeping schedule using a step-by-step process. It means that you have to take some strict actions to get your sleeping schedule on the track again. It is essential to understand how much the changes of light and darkness, as well as eating and exercise, affect your sleep.
Unfortunately, nowadays more and more people feel that they have problems with keeping up a good sleep schedule. Using the methods described in this blog post, you can quickly fix your sleep schedule, and then benefit from a stable sleeping schedule.
To get straight to the point:
How to fix your sleeping schedule step by step?
You might be able to change your sleeping schedule little by little. How is it possible?
Let’s say you would like to go to sleep at 10 pm every night. But lately you have been going to sleep around 12 pm. How to change the schedule, so that you can fall asleep at 10 pm?
First, it might not be good to try to make radical changes and just go to sleep at 10 pm the next evening. Instead, do it step by step. So, for instance, if you want to change your sleeping time from 12 pm to 10 pm, you should try to:
- Go to sleep the next night at 11:45 pm.
- When you succeed to fall asleep at that time, the following night you can change the time to 11:30 pm.
- Again, when you succeed to fall asleep at that time, change the sleeping time to 11:15 pm.
- And so on, change your sleeping time a little bit earlier until you get to your goal, like 10 pm in this example.
It might not be easy to follow such a specific schedule, but there is something that can help you with this. If you want to be very specific with the time, you can use your smartphone or just a usual alarm clock and set a “reverse alarm.” That means that you should set your alarm at the time when you want to sleep.
This tip works even better if you need to wake up the same time every day. And even if you don’t have to, try to wake up the same time. If you wake up at the same time every morning, it will also get much more comfortable to go to sleep earlier.
Why is it so hard to change your sleeping schedule?
When you notice that your sleeping schedule is out of control, you probably feel that you can’t do anything about the issue anymore. It’s so frustrating! No matter how hard you try, you might feel like you have no idea what to do and where to start.
There might be some days when you need to take care of so many things that you need to stay awake longer than usual. Or there might be some other reason why you can’t get to sleep early. The following days you might notice that your sleeping schedule is getting worse again.
Often when you travel a long distance to a different time zone, you will suffer at least some jet lag, which causes you some problems, as your internal clock is out of tune with the local time. You want to get it back on track as soon as possible and try to minimize all problems caused by the jet lag.
What actions can you take to change your sleeping schedule, and not bust it anymore?
Fixing your sleeping schedule – What to do first?
Before you try any of the advice given in this post, you should make the answers to these questions clear to yourself:
- What is the main problem with your sleeping schedule?
- Why do you think that your sleeping schedule is out of control?
- What kind of sleeping schedule would you like to follow?
- How determined are you to make the changes?
For example, when thinking about the reasons why your sleeping schedule has fallen out of control, you may think:
Is it because you can’t fall asleep so easily anymore, even though you used to be able to?
Or is it maybe because you use your phone or other electronic devices late at night?
Maybe it’s just that you have once or twice stayed awake very late, and now you would like to go to sleep much earlier, but you feel like you can’t do it anymore.
So, in other words, if you can find the reason that causes these problems, you can try to do something about it. It might be just one little detail what you haven’t noticed earlier. Or sometimes there is a need for more significant changes.
And yes, there is something that you can do about it!
Why are the times of sunlight and darkness crucial when planning the sleeping schedule?
It is surely essential.
What is the point of getting enough light during the daytime?
There is a perfect reason why you should stay in the light in the daytime. We need to stay awake, and of course, we need to see in order to do things in the daytime.
Your biological clock tells you that when there is light, you should stay awake. Also, when you get natural sunlight, your melatonin production is activated at the right time in the evening.
What was it like a few hundred years ago?
At that time there were no electric lights. The only way to have some light during the nighttime was to keep a fire.
Nowadays, all kinds of artificial lights might cause problems with our natural day and night cycle, including the light of your mobile phone and for example TV.
Does this mean that in the past, everyone slept absolutely well?
Not necessarily, BUT nowadays it is much harder to keep up the regular sleeping schedule for so many reasons. And one reason is that we have so many devices that we can use even during the night.
Just think about this: How many hours per day do you use each of your electronic devices? Then, count how many hours you use all of them in total. And then ask yourself, how many hours do you have time to sleep after all this?
You need sunlight
In order to get enough sunlight, go outside during the daytime as much as possible. But what if you need to be inside during most of the daylight time, maybe in the workplace?
If there is a window, stay close to it.
When you wake up, open the curtains straight away and stay close to the natural light.
If it is still dark outside when you wake up, turn on the lights. Even if the day is not sunny, it is better to get natural light than just artificial light. Why? Simply, it’s more natural for your body, and also cheaper!
What happens when you get natural light?
You have a circadian rhythm. Natural light regulates your circadian rhythm. It means that your sleeping schedule should be in sync with the natural light.
When it is daytime and light outside, you should be awake, and when it is dark, you should sleep. Even though you will probably not go to sleep right away when it gets dark, the darkness will prepare you for your sleeping time.
What more benefits are there?
You are more happy, more productive, and you can focus much better when you get enough natural light. A study shows that office workers whose workplace has windows enjoy a much better quality of life than those workers who don’t get any natural light during the workday.
How to get more natural light during the day?
- Do your morning routines near the window, or if possible, outside.
- If possible, walk to work or school.
- Do some outdoor activities every day. You don’t even have to have a dog to do so!
- At lunchtime, if possible, go out to eat.
- Go out with your family regularly.
So, try to get as much natural light as possible during the daytime. But, how about the time of darkness?
Why do you need darkness to keep up your sleeping schedule?
We need darkness when it is time to sleep. In the time of darkness, your brain notices that it is time to sleep and rest.
Melatonin is a hormone that is needed to sync your sleeping schedule. It is produced in the pineal gland at night and during the dark hours.
Melatonin gives your brain the signal to fall asleep. That is why melatonin acts a crucial part of fixing your sleeping schedule. In a typical situation, it keeps up your normal daily cycle.
But what if you feel like it is not working correctly?
Many people feel that when they use natural products that include melatonin, they can get to sleep much easier. I have tried it sometimes, and I feel like it helped me.
Should you use this kind of products? It’s entirely up to you. However, there are a lot of studies which clearly show the benefit of melatonin products when facing sleeping problems.
How to get refreshing light if there is dark outside?
In some parts of the world, at least for part of the year, the time of natural daylight is very short. If you feel that it is tough to stay awake, or you feel like your sleeping schedule is totally wrong, you can try to use a light therapy pad.
When you are using the light therapy pad, it can keep you fresh and might help you to follow a good sleeping schedule. For example, you can use it when there is a dark season in the area where you live. Here is an excellent example of the Therapy Light pad.
How to keep dark, when you want to sleep?
You might need good curtains that block all light from outside. On the other hand, you will need natural light in the daytime, so keep the curtains open during the day. Don’t use electronic devices, which emit blue light, late at night.
If you can’t find good enough curtains, or you can’t sleep in a totally dark room for some other reason, you might need a sleeping mask.
There are tons and tons of different kinds of sleeping masks. But we can make things much more comfortable: if you need a good sleeping mask, you can check out these. An excellent sleeping mask like this one feels natural, blocks the light well, and won’t chafe or feel uncomfortable.
Why is it crucial to avoid blue light when you want to sleep?
Blue light gives a signal to your brain that it is daytime. It is what you want to avoid in the evening. If you have to use the mobile phone or other devices that emit blue light in the evening, you can use blue light filters. There are many good apps to filter blue light from the screen of your mobile device.
You might want to get a free screen dimmer app, and actually, there are some good free ones. But I have found that with some of these free apps, there are some problems with reliability.
One of the most significant issues that I have found out is that when you are using this kind of screen dimmer app in the evening, it might suddenly stop working and your mobile device screen turns bright in an instant. Not a good call.
That is why you want to make sure that your app has all the functions you need, and it really keeps your mobile device screen dimmed when you wish so. You may check out these apps and see which one fits for your purposes.
How can routine help you to keep up your sleeping schedule?
I hate the word “routine”! Do you feel the same? If so, I can understand you.
But if you want to keep up with a stable sleep schedule, you will have to establish some routines.
Try to go to sleep at the same time every night. At least try it. It might be very hard, but remember; do you really want to solve this problem? If so, it would be better to try to follow the routine.
Of course, there are probably some things that you must do in the evening, and sometimes you just can’t avoid those things, and that is why you can’t always go to sleep early enough. Maybe you have some extra work to do, or you want to celebrate some night and go to sleep a little bit later. But if possible, try not to stay awake for longer than you have decided. That includes weekends and holidays.
How much sleep do you need?
You might need to find out how many hours you need to sleep each night. Is it 8 hours for you, or more, or even less? Actually, every one of us needs a different quantity of sleep each night. 8 hours is just the average, but it doesn’t work for everyone.
So, how much sleep is enough for you?
It is possible to test it out when you don’t need to wake up the next morning, for example during a holiday. Keep a sleep journal during that time, and see how long you sleep naturally, when you are not sleep-deprived.
To keep up the proper routine, you can set up your alarm clock to the same time every morning. If you have a digital alarm clock or if you use a mobile phone as the alarm clock, you can set your alarm time just once, and you won’t have to set it every night when going to sleep.
If you use a snooze with your alarm clock, things might get worse. It will disturb your sleeping schedule more and doesn’t really help with your sleeping quality. Actually, it might feel even more terrible after waking up, if you use the snooze function of your alarm clock.
Keep a record of your sleeping
When you feel that your sleeping schedule is out of your control, it might feel hard to find the time and energy to keep a sleep journal. But you can also do it in an easy and straightforward way. Just write down what time you fell asleep and what time you woke up. Why should you do so?
That is how you can quickly figure out what you need to do with your sleeping issues.
You can track how many hours you actually sleep and how many hours you probably need to sleep. With this information, you can decide what time you should go to bed every night, so that you can get enough sleep.
Another benefit from keeping a sleep journal is that you can notice the time when you fall asleep. Then you can make some adjustments, if needed, and change your sleeping schedule, as described earlier.
You should keep a record of your sleeping time as long as you have any problems with sleeping. That will also help you, in case you find out that you face such severe sleeping problems that you need to see a doctor.
In this situation, it is good to have some information about your sleeping and present your documents to the doctor so that he or she can help you.
How long does it take to adjust to a new sleep schedule?
It depends on how determined you are, and also it depends on your individual circumstances.
But for most of us, it is possible to do in around one week, if the sleeping schedule is pretty badly out of control. However, in some rare cases, it is possible to do in just one night, but this depends on your situation.
Is staying up all night a good way to fix your sleeping pattern?
Staying up all night and getting good sleep the following night is one possible way to try to fix the messed-up sleeping schedule. However, many people get serious side effects when trying to stay awake needlessly. Therefore, it is not recommended to do so. But if you feel that you can do it, you need to consider it carefully beforehand.
How does eating affect your sleeping schedule?
For some of us, it is not a problem to eat anything we want, any time we want, and sleep any time.
But, if you are like me, you might feel that you are such a sensitive person that many small things can affect your sleeping and make it very hard to fall asleep.
Actually, eating is not just a small thing! It might very well affect our sleeping.
So, how should I eat?
At least, don’t eat too much. Why not? If you overeat, especially in the evening, you can realize that it’s tough to sleep because your body needs to keep processing the food, and that might cause some hyperarousal.
Also, the great question is: When to eat?
Many say that it’s not good to eat just before you are planning to go to sleep. Your body keeps processing food and that keeps you from getting relaxed.
Should you schedule your eating times during the day? Yes, if you want to fall asleep at a specific time. What are the best times to eat?
The basic rule is this: Eat more during the daytime than in the evening. Breakfast should also be filling enough, as well as healthy. When the evening comes, you probably aren’t so hungry anymore.
If you need something to eat before to sleep, eat lightly. Healthy snacks could fulfill that need. Sometimes just drinking water can be the solution. And here we already have the next question:
How about does drinking affect your sleeping schedule?
Yes, drinking also can affect your sleep. If you drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks, you might found out that is very crucial to avoid to drinking them too late at day.
When is it too late? Some say that after 6 pm is too late to drink caffeinated products.
But, if you have found out that you are very sensitive to caffeine, it might be better to stop drinking coffee even earlier. You need to make a rigorous decision to not drink coffee too late, even if you love to drink it.
Remember, this will affect your sleep the following night, and the following day you will probably feel horrible if you didn’t get enough quality sleep.
So, even if your very best friend wants to offer you a coffee and you know that it is too late, be determined!
Alcohol can also affect your sleeping. If you drink alcohol, the quality of your sleep might get worse. When people drink alcohol too much and too often, it can cause dangerous problems with the quality of sleep.
Alcohol stimulates you, and even if you might feel that you can fall asleep after drinking alcohol, your sleep quality is much lower.
But water is the best drink.
Or is it?
What are the benefits of drinking water?
It is said that water purifies your body, so your body doesn’t need to do extra work to remove toxins. It means that when you want to sleep, your body is relaxed and not working whole night processing the food.
But, don’t drink too much water! Even though water is healthy to drink, too much water can cause harmful effects. Just one example is that if you drink too much, you will probably need to wake up during the night to go to the bathroom. Also, if you always drink too much water, it might even cause problems with your normal body functions.
How to fix your sleeping schedule when you have a jet lag?
What is jet lag? When traveling by an airplane from one time zone to another time zone, you will usually suffer some jet lag, because this change happens so fast. Usually, it takes a few days to get back on track when you suffer jet lag. And this happens almost automatically.
If you feel like you want to get your sleeping schedule normal much faster, there are some tips that you can try.
Melatonin, which we mentioned earlier, can help with jet lag too. Then changing your sleeping schedule to the local time might go a little bit faster and smoother.
When do you need professional help?
If you feel that any of these tips, or any other advice that you have read, won’t help with your problem, it might be better to seek professional help.
There are probably some things that you can’t do by yourself, if you have suffered from this problem for a long time. So, don’t hesitate to ask help when you feel that your sleeping schedule has been out of track for too long.
Professional help might always be needed when sleeping issues are affecting your life too much. If you notice your personal life getting out of control, or if your friendships or marriage are in danger because of this kind of issues, or you just can’t take any actions to fix the problem, you should seek professional help. Don’t give up hope – there is surely something that will help you!
To fix your sleeping schedule, you need to be very determined. You need to take strict actions to set your sleeping schedule on the right track and keep it up.
Keep up the good routine. You need the natural light during the day, and you need to be in the dark in the evening.
Eat healthily and drink the right kind of drinks and with the right balance.
It is so easy to read guides that offer strict advice, but it might be much harder to apply them. But, if possible, try to apply at least one of these tips if you suffer from problems with keeping a sleeping schedule.
If you find out that it doesn’t help you, then you can pick up the next tip and try that. Do your best to apply it, because it is for your own best.
If you find even better ways to fix your sleeping schedule, don’t hesitate to share your experience with others who have similar problems!