Quality sleep is essential for your physical and mental health, and there are plenty of studies exploring the relationship and explaining how these aspects are closely connected. But you don’t even need to delve into scientific research to figure out that getting a good night’s rest matters, as you’ve probably experienced for yourself the negative effects of short- or long-term sleep disruption.
The consequences of insufficient sleep on the mind and body range from mild to severe, depending on how serious the issue is, and can include irritability, loss of motivation, forgetfulness, reduced ability to focus, performance deficits, increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, heart attack or stroke. Therefore, keeping a consistent sleep routine is as important for adults as it is for children.
Unfortunately, adult life often comes in direct contradiction with having a healthy sleep schedule. The numerous responsibilities and tasks you have to juggle and the stress you experience on a daily basis can get in the way of building proper sleep habits. And that’s how you end up with a chaotic sleep schedule, or no schedule at all, that has you nodding off in the middle of the day when you should be at your most productive, and staring at the ceiling for hours in the dead of the night.
The good news is you can get your sleep schedule back on track and create a healthy routine if you follow a few simple rules that we’re going to expand on in this short guide.
Factors that can disrupt your sleep routine
If you want to find a viable solution to a problem, you have to understand what caused it in the first place. So, here are the main factors that can affect your sleep routine and throw it off track.
Being a frequent traveler and switching from one time zone to another constantly is a sure way to get a serious case of jet lag. That means your normal sleep pattern is disturbed as your body’s circadian rhythm is struggling to adjust to the different time zones.
Working night shifts
Working night shifts forces you to stay awake when you should be asleep and get your Zs during the day, which obviously messes up your internal clock.
Exposure to artificial light
The body’s circadian rhythm is dependent on light. The daily light-dark cycle signals the brain when it’s time to sleep and wake up. But it appears that the brain reacts in a similar way to artificial light, so exposure to any source of artificial light can affect the timing of your internal clock.
The choices you make every day have a direct impact on your sleep routine. If you decide to study until late in the evening before exams, or party all night long from time to time, keeping a constant sleep schedule is off the table.
Daily stress is a sworn enemy of good sleep. Even if you do manage to get a shut-eye during the night, the emotional and physical tension caused by stress considerably affects the quality of sleep and disrupts your normal sleep schedule.
Certain dietary choices are also linked to poor sleep patterns. Eating heavy meals late at night or consumption of caffeine and alcohol throughout the day can keep you awake for longer thus leading to impaired sleep.
Inconsistent sleep hours
Sometimes it’s the inability to set a specific bedtime and wake-up time and stick to it that’s preventing you from finding a balance and creating a healthy sleep routine.
How to regain control of your sleep life
As you can see, there are many things that can mess up your natural sleep cycle and get in the way of having a consistent sleep schedule, but it’s also possible to restore order and create a sleep routine that works for you, as long as you are disciplined and committed to making a change.
Control exposure to light
Getting your daily dose of natural light and minimizing artificial light exposure in the evening is key to boosting energy levels during the day and getting better sleep at night.
Regular exercise can work wonders for resetting your circadian rhythm. Sustained physical activity is a great way to increase melatonin production and improve sleep quality.
Creating an adequate sleep environment that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed plays a crucial role in the equation. Things like investing in a good mattress, keeping your room cool, dark, and quiet, wearing comfortable sleepwear from This is J, or using soothing scents can turn your bedroom into a peaceful oasis, perfect for relaxation and sleep.
Skip daytime naps
As tempting as it may be to get into bed for a quick afternoon snooze, it’s best to leave daytime naps out of the picture. It’s true that a short shuteye session can help you feel refreshed, but this temporary benefit can disrupt your ability to fall asleep at night, so it’s not really worth it.
Late meals are detrimental to a healthy sleep schedule, which is why you should take into account what and when you eat. It’s best to eat dinner around the same time every evening, two to three hours before going to bed, and try to avoid heavy meals which take longer to digest.
Practice relaxation techniques
Sometimes it’s difficult to leave behind the stress and worries you’ve experienced throughout the day, so a few relaxation techniques such as taking a warm bath, listening to music, or reading a few pages can help you unwind and get you ready for slumber.
Rinse and repeat
While all the tips we’ve mentioned above are very useful and quite easy to implement, they’ll only work if you are consistent and repeat them over and over again until they become habits that will eventually serve as the foundation for a healthy sleep routine. So, try to be disciplined and follow these steps every day if you want to get your sleep schedule back on track.
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