We all know how important a good night's sleep is for our well-being, but sometimes life gets in the way. Sleeping in on the weekends, work, stress, and traveling can impact our sleep cycle and throw it off its normal rhythm. Going days or weeks without a consistent sleep schedule can be detrimental to your health and well-being. Being aware of your current sleep schedule and circadian rhythm is the best place to start in order to best understand how to improve your sleep patterns. When your circadian rhythm is out of sync, you may find it difficult to fall asleep and wake up at the right times. But like any clock, your circadian clock can be reset. Here’s a guide on how to do just that.
Following the guide above is just one way to reset your sleep cycle. In fact, it can take more than 3 days to adjust to a new time. If you need a little extra help, try these tips.
1. Turn on the lights
Your biological clock is mainly controlled by the daily cycles of light and darkness, and manipulating light exposure may help reset your clock. Turning on the light right when you wake up is super helpful in the fall and winter because it's typically still dark in the mornings. If you have an Eight Sleep Pod that’s connected to the Philips Hue, sync it with your alarm so you wake up with sunrise simulating lights. You should start dimming the lights at the same time that the sun sets, and try to keep your bedroom as dark as possible. This means lights from screens should be reduced or fully eliminated. Reducing or eliminating the lights from screens will let your body adjust to the actual darkness surrounding you, in order to let you know when you are tired and ready to go to sleep.
2. Fast for 12-16 hours
Research from Harvard suggests that not eating for about 12-16 hours can quickly reboot the sleep-wake cycle. This is because our bodies also run on a "food alarm clock," which takes over when we are hungry. If you are a jet lag, this technique is extremely effective to help your body effectively readjust to the proper time of day. By fasting for 12-16 hours, you can trick your body into falling asleep sooner than if you were to eat. When you break the fast and finally eat, your body will think it's morning. For non-jetlag disturbances, try this fast. Eat an early dinner (around 4 PM), and then avoid eating until breakfast (8 AM). Once your sleep is back on a consistent schedule, stick to eating during normal meal times.
3. Stay consistent
A consistent sleep schedule is the best way to achieve a good night's sleep. This means you need to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. Everyone likes to let loose on the weekends and stay out later than usual, but this often results in you oversleeping the next morning. When you sleep in on Saturday and Sunday, it will be much harder to wake up for work on Monday. Waking up late on the weekend produces something called "social jet lag" and is associated with poorer health and well-being, worse mood, and fatigue. A great way to monitor all factors that affect your sleep is through “Sleep Fitness Score” from the Eight Sleep Pod. By measuring this you’ll be able to identify common patterns and make the necessary changes for better sleep.
Want to change your sleep habits for the better? A healthy sleep schedule is the first step.