Discussions on good health usually include proper diet and exercise, but one factor that many overlook today is quality of sleep. Sleep gives your body the rest it needs after a long day, making sure that you have enough energy to meet the demands of the next day. However, sleep can only accomplish this if you are getting enough of it at the right hours.
A healthy sleep routine does not just involve the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. It also means having a consistent bedtime every night.
Poor sleeping habits are harming your health and well-being more than you may be aware. Still, there are simple, doable methods to allow you to reset your sleep schedule and live a healthier and more productive life.
How to Reset Your Sleep Schedule
Conditioning your body to follow a healthy sleep routine involves more than just going to bed at a certain time. You can adopt practices throughout the day to prompt your body for good rest at night.
1. Set the appropriate atmosphere for bedtime
You can help yourself fall asleep at a consistent time every night by having a bedtime ritual. One factor to consider is the darkness of your bedroom. Your brain responds to light—even artificial light—which means that too much exposure to light at night could disrupt your circadian rhythm.
Before you sleep, turn off the lights and draw your curtains. If you need a lamp, use a nightlight or smart lighting that lets you dim lights as needed. To make your sleep more comfortable, you can also use a fan under your blanket that warms and cools air according to your preferences.
Aromatherapy is also helpful in ushering you into a good night’s sleep. Use a diffuser to release the scent of your preferred essential oils in your room. Another effective method is to leave a few drops of the oil on your pillowcase before you sleep.
2. Avoid excessive screen time at night
Your devices, such as your smartphone, TV, and tablet, are also all sources of artificial light. Are you the type of person who usually browses social media, plays video games, or watches videos to “get sleepy” before bed? Unfortunately, this could be doing just the opposite.
Devices emit blue light, which makes you more alert and attentive. This gets in the way of your body clock as it triggers your mind to wake up instead of going into rest mode. Should you need to pick up your devices in the middle of the night, make use of blue light-limiting functions that will keep your eyes comfortable.
3. Get a good dose of natural light daily
In the daytime, make sure that you receive enough sunlight. Open your windows and pull your curtains aside to allow natural light into your desk area during work hours. Getting a lot of daylight is particularly important because it has a positive effect on your circadian rhythm.
Since exposure to blue light suppresses melatonin and makes you mentally sharper, it offers more benefits during the daytime. Blue light can help you be more productive with work and other responsibilities. Try to keep much of your device usage during hours when there is still a lot of daylight.
4. Stay physically active
Exercise offers numerous benefits for everyone. It reduces the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and more while keeping bones and muscles strong. Additionally, exercise also improves sleep.
Firstly, working out increases your natural light exposure when done during the day. One indirect way that exercise also helps sleep is that it decreases the possibility of weight gain and obesity, which could cause insomnia and daytime fatigue. Studies also suggest that working out before going to bed can make one sleepier and promote deep sleep.
Physical fitness has indirect positive effects on the body, which allows you to get better quality of sleep at night.
Are Poor Bedtime Habits Upsetting Your Sleep Schedule?
In the same way that there are many simple ways to improve your sleep routine, plenty of bad practices can throw you off a healthy sleep schedule.
It is a good time to reassess your current habits, especially the consistency of your bedtime and the number of hours you usually get in one day. When you mindlessly go back and forth on your sleep schedule, your body has a harder time adjusting. Not to mention that irregular sleep patterns increase your risk for many health problems.
The next time you want to forego a good night’s sleep, remember its long-term effects on your health.