We all have a an innate mechanism that controls the physiological activities that change on a daily, seasonal, yearly, or other regular cycle. This mechanism is termed as biological clock. Our biological clock is also greatly affected by our sleep wake cycle. People who complain of being unable to sleep have usually developed bad habits that their body has adapted too. The fact of the matter is that the more you push your body, the more you expand it’s limits.
So how do you maintain a consistent sleep schedule and why should you even maintain a constant sleep schedule? Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.
Here are five tips for maintaining a consistent sleep schedule:
It is not a matter of just one night’s good sleep. You want a pattern that can help you everyday. If you want sleep to truly and completely benefit you, you must be consistent in your daily routine. You may make your mind up and even devise a plan. Here is when the hard part comes in. The hard part is actually sticking to the plan. You must be determined to actually develop a change in your sleep pattern. Try to sleep and wake at the same time everyday, even the weekends!
Avoid drinking caffeine past noon. We all need the caffeine to wake us up in the morning, but make sure it is not the reason you can’t fall asleep at night. For alcohol drinkers out there, be cautious not to drink in the evening time because that can prove to be a hindrance to blissful sleep. What you can drink is milk or cherry tart juice. These beverages help produce melatonin which help with sleep. Another good tidbit is to avoid eating heavy and larger meals near bedtime. Small changes can help you in a big way.
You may need to make changes to adapt your room to a beneficial sleep-wake cycle. Make sure you are exposed to light when you wake up and that your room is dark before it is snooze time. Temperature plays a crucial role when it comes to sleeping. Your bedroom should be cool at night time (preferably between 60–67 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Make sure your bed dressing, pillows and mattress are comfortable. Also be mindful of your own body comfort. Be sure that your position is a relaxing one. Once you are tucked in, try not to have any reason to get up again. Reasons may include potty breaks, to turn off lights or to run a quick errand. Also try practicing a relaxing bedtime ritual. Avoid any stressful conversations which may trigger anxiety before you try to catch some zzz’s.
Exercise lifts mood and reduces stress. It can strengthen circadian rhythms, promoting daytime alertness and helping bring on sleepiness at night. Exercise has been shown to improve sleep for people with sleep disorders, including insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea. A recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that regular exercises were significantly more likely to report sleep well on most nights than people who were not physically active. Exercise can help improve not only the quantity of sleep but also the quality. Daytime physical activity may stimulate longer periods of slow-wave sleep; the deepest and most restorative stages of sleep.
Here is your simple guide for a healthier lifestyle. You have the choice to make the changes you and your body deserve, so chose wisely.
Originally published at medium.com