Did you know you could reset your unusual sleep routine to the normal schedule without hurting yourself? Learn more here.
The circadian rhythm, otherwise known as your sleep clock, the body clock, or sleep-wake cycle, is a set of mechanisms that dictate to your body when to rest, sleep, and wake up.
This clock could be affected by a number of things, especially if you are stressed, an all-nighter, a shift worker, or a regular traveler across different time zones.
If this clock, just like a regular one, is, in any way, tampered with, your sleeping schedule will be affected, and this can seriously hinder you from having the quality sleep you need to boost your body system and your productivity level for every day's activities.
But, do not fear!
You can still adjust your faulty sleep-wake pattern and sleep well, too, as you should properly do.
In this article are all you'd need to know on how to reset your sleep schedule to earn yourself the quality night's rest your body needs to properly operate.
Related, How Much Deep Sleep Do you Need?
What Exactly is The Body Clock & How Does it Work?
As I mentioned earlier, “body clock,” scientifically referred to as circadian rhythm, is a term used in describing a body of biological mechanisms that control the waking and sleeping cycle in your mind.
This cycle is, otherwise, controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which, in an article by the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, are “clusters of thousands of cells” situated in the hypothalamus, a small section of the brain that stimulates hormonal release and regulates body homeostasis.
For most of us, the sleep pattern runs from about 15 to 17 hours of alertness, according to sleep.org, to about seven to nine hours of sleep. This means that, if your cycle functions properly as it should, you'll be sleeping in the evening, at about the same time, and waking up in the morning, also at the same time, every day.
This cycle varies in individuals and can be affected by some factors;
- Internal cues, such as genetic variation and hormonal neurotransmitters;
- The influence of what Osmun refers to as “external cues”: the exposure to light and temperature;
- And, to a large extent, behavioral control (like forcing yourself not to sleep, overthinking, and so on).
A misaligned sleep routine can leave your feeling extremely tired, wobbly, and can even affect your overall health if nothing is done to immediately correct it to its original settings.
In the next section of the article, we'll be examining some of the ways you can easily reset of sleep schedule to fix your internal clock or sleep clock.
Resetting Your Sleep Schedule
Avoid exposure to light
Light, if you didn't know, has a really powerful effect on your sleep clock. Exposure to it, when you're ready to sleep, can hinder the production of melatonin, a hormone required for sleep, in the brain.
Without the production of this melatonin, you'll be fully alert and might fight it quite difficult to sleep. This is why it can be difficult to catch yourself some sleep, even when you're extremely tired, during the day, especially when you're exposed to the natural lights.
So, this means that, whenever you're ready to sleep at night, you'd have to turn off all your lights, your lamps, your phone's screen, your TV, and any other sources of illumination to be able to have the quality sleep you need for the day.
Many people seem to believe blue lights are a better alternative to the yellow and white lights, but they're wrong. Any type of light, whatsoever, has the capacity to influence your sleeping cycle, so avoid them as much as possible.
Even when you feel like it, do not take a nap
If you can help it, avoid taking naps during the day. Sleeping during the day can affect your sleeping schedule and keep you up at night when you should naturally be snoozing and dreaming.
However, if you can't help it, keep your naps under 20 minutes. Set an alarm if you don't trust yourself. When it goes off, force yourself to wake up and do not snooze.
To reset your sleeping routine to the normal 24-hour day/night cycle, I'm sure you can sacrifice those sweet afternoon naps you take during your lunch hour. Trust me, it'd be absolutely worth the sacrifice in the end.
Regular exercise helps in keeping you physically fit and maintaining the great body metabolism. But, that's not all it does!
According to an article by Arlene Semeco on Healthline, regular exercises can also help you with relaxation and can boost your sleep quality.
Exercises increase your heart rate and use up all the energy (or part of) that you might have stored up in your body. This then forces you to sleep to recover that expelled energy.
However, one thing you might want to avoid is exercising right before bedtime. This is because mental activities like exercise can make you alert and also hinder you from getting the proper sleep you need when you need it.
Noise is another external factor that can seriously affect the way you sleep. Noises can distract your brain from causing you to sleep.
Avoid noises by switching off your phones, TV, and any other possession you have that produces loud noises.
If you live in a noisy neighborhood, you can use earplugs or just find a way to create white noise using the following things:
- A white noise machine
- Air purifier
- Air conditioner
Keep your room cool
Recent research has confirmed that high temperatures can also be a great hindrance to you getting the quality sleep you need at night.
Naturally, your body temperature goes down to prepare your mind for your night's rest. So, to help maintain this and prevent any distraction as a result of heat, you'd have to keep your room temperature between 15 to 19°C (60 and 67°F).
You can use a fan or, better still, an air conditioning system to achieve this temperature in your snoozing area.
Make your bed comfortable
“As you make your bed, so you must lie on it.”
This expression may sound cliche, but literally, it the whole truth. Comfortable sleeping space is an ultimate key to a quality night's rest.
If you want to enjoy your sleep, you must use great quality mattresses and pillows that won't cause you pain. The firmness of your mattress, however, completely depends on you
Before sleep, prepare your bed properly, keep your room temperature cool, and enjoy an energizing sleep!
Eat early, or fast if it's too late
If you're the late-night eating type, you must break yourself of this bad habit, as it can also affect your body clock, as well.
Nutritionists advise that you sleep two to three hours—which is enough time for your food to digest—after eating. And, if you're really hungry and would like to go to bed, you can eat a light snack or fast instead.
You must also avoid, alcohol, energy drinks, coffee, and some other drinks that contain caffeine, a stimulant that can take hours to buzz off your body, before evening time.
Stick to your new routine
It might seem hard at first but it'd definitely pay off later. Stick to your new sleep routine to reset your body clock.
- Choose a perfect time, that'll not affect your schedule the next day, for sleep. Make sure it's early so you can wake up early the next day.
- Stick to this new routine every day, even on weekends and holidays, too.
Over time, your body will adjust itself to this routine and your sleep clock will be also adjusted to its original alignment or pattern. This would even make falling asleep and waking up early in the morning easier for you than you might seem to think before.
Adjust your time across different time zones
As a regular traveler who travels across different time zones, probably for work or leisure, you'd need to also adjust your own time to fit perfectly across the different time zones. This makes it easier for you to catch your sleep and rest your body and mind, too.
Try using melatonin
Another great help for those that may extremely find it difficult to sleep at the right time is melatonin.
Naturally, this hormone is produced in the brain the pineal gland. It stimulates the feeling of peace and helps you to get the rest your body needs.
Melatonin is also available as supplements and is especially recommended for those with jet lag and sleeping problems. The proper dosage will get you to sleep and rest as you should normally.
However, do not use this drug without a proper prescription from your physician.
The following are the side effects of melatonin:
Combination with other drugs can also cause other symptoms, so consult with your doctor before use.
Consult a specialist
If you notice your sleeping problem is interfering with your productivity at work, you might want to consult the appropriate healthcare provider for the help you need.
Seeing a specialist will help with the proper diagnosis of the problem. They will also be able to help prescribe the right drugs you can use to fix your sleep clock.