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How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule: 7 Easy Ways

Do you often wake up in the middle of the night? Perhaps you toss and turn before bed for hours. Many people have a tough time getting adequate rest because of their schedules, stress, and much more (1).

Sleep is one of the most crucial elements of a healthy lifestyle (2).

Everyone needs adequate rest daily to maintain energy, give your brain a rest and support wellness throughout the entire body (3). Without rest, the body is not able to repair (4).

There are a variety of ways you can fix your sleep schedule, so you can feel rejuvenated every day instead of drained and exhausted, reaching for that third cup of coffee.

A plethora of habits can create an uneasy sleep pattern. If you have a hectic schedule, it can be challenging to get to bed at the same time, for example. If that is not possible, choose another one of these tasks to get more quality rest and start feeling better soon.

Summary: Sleep is a crucial element of a healthy lifestyle. It helps your physical body and brain rest and reset for the next day. Many habits can help support a healthy sleep schedule.

How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule?

Check out some easy ways to help fix your sleep schedule below and see where you can start these simple tasks today.

1. Keep a Nightly Ritual or Routine

How are you spending your night a few hours before bedtime? Establishing a nightly relaxing ritual or routine that helps you relax can make a significant benefit to help fix your sleep schedule (5).

That does not mean your routine has to be the same every night. Find a few things that help you relax more so you can get into a healthy ritual.

One example is to take a relaxing bath. For some, taking a bath can relax your muscles and mind allowing you to get into a deeper and more restful sleep. Not into baths? Some other rituals or routines can include choosing an activity that helps you unwind like reading, journaling, creative writing, or even coloring. Get creative with whatever calms you down.

 

Summary: To help you get ready for bedtime, try doing a nightly relaxing ritual or activity like taking a bath, reading, journaling or coloring.

2. Turn off All Full-Spectrum Light

Are you going to bed every binging on your favorite Netflix series or scrolling on Instagram or Facebook? These simple tasks can be negatively affecting your sleep schedule. Try to cut out any full-spectrum lights (from TV, phones, computers) at least 30 minutes or more before bed (6).

Limiting screens before bedtime can make a huge difference for many people. When it gets to be a particular hour, it is natural for the human body to need less light and prepare for sleep. But staring at screens can throw off your natural circadian rhythm (7), (8).

If you must go on your phone or watch TV, try to keep another light on while doing so. Staring at solely the full-spectrum light can be irritating and keep you up longer, too.

Summary: Try to avoid looking at any screens from televisions, phones and computers at least 30 minutes or more before bed.

3. Avoid Potential High-Stress Triggers Before Bed

Reading the news, managing money, paying bills, having intense conversations with a family member or spouse are just some examples of things that may cause high cortisol or stress levels. While stress is not always something in our control, it is best to avoid potentially stressful situations before bed.

The last thing you want before bedtime is to spike your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone produced during times of stress, and it decreases the chances of naturally producing melatonin (9), (10). Melatonin is a hormone that encourages sleep (11). Melatonin and cortisol compete, so if you are higher in cortisol before bed, melatonin does not stand a solid chance (12).

That is also why many people take melatonin supplements before bed, which can be safe for many people at the recommended dose (13).

Summary: Avoiding stressful activities before bed encourages the natural production of melatonin, a hormone that encourages sleepiness.

4. Look into Starting a Meditation Practice

Meditation can be one of the most powerful practices for relaxation, focus, concentration, and even improving sleep quality (14).

Having a daily or even weekly meditation practice may even help improve memory, mood, and further diminish symptoms of anxiety (15), (16), (17).

There are many ways to practice meditation, whether you are using one of several free phone apps to sitting in silence or solitude for a short period. While some enjoy sitting in silence, sitting up straight in a comfortable position, while others relax more deeply lying down flat. Sometimes silence helps, while others enjoy guided meditative practices with relaxing music.

See what style works best for you. Try out a daily meditation practice for your routine and start reaping the many benefits of this ancient Indian tradition and practice.

Summary: A daily or weekly meditation practice may also help to improve sleep quality.

5. Eat Earlier in the Night

Some research suggests that eating a big, heavy meal right before bed may disturb some people’s sleep schedules.

The circadian rhythm of sleep responds to digestion (18). If you eat a large, heavy meal too close to when you want to sleep, the act of digestion may keep you awake for longer. It can be helpful to at least eat your last meal of the day at least 1 hour or longer before you want to go to sleep (19).

However, completely avoiding eating before bed, and especially going to bed hungry, can also disturb sleep for some people (20). New research suggests that eating a small nutrient-dense snack with some protein, like cheese and crackers or fruit and yogurt, may be beneficial for health (21).

Summary: Eating a large, heavy meal right before bed can disturb sleep in some people. Try to eat at least 1 hour or more before bed to eat your last meal of the day. Going to bed hungry can also disturb sleep, and eating a small snack before bed may also be beneficial.

6. Mind the Temperature, Noise, and Bedtime

The temperature, noise, and bedtime are often crucial aspects of a sleep routine.

For the temperature, be sure that your bedroom is not too cold, but not too hot either. It can be difficult for many to sleep if body temperature is too hot or too cold (22), (23).

Too much noise is disruptive for most at night (24). If the noise is too much in your environment, try some soft earplugs. If you live in a noisy place or city, you can try to add some white noise from a fan, air conditioner, or air filter to drown out the noise in the environment.

Going to bed at or near the same time every night is also helpful to stay on a consistent sleep schedule (25). It can help ensure you get tired around the same time, keeping your sleep cycle in sync. Try to keep a consistent schedule, even on the weekends.

Summary: Keep a consistent temperature, noise level and time for bed every night to promote quality sleep.

7. Ditch Any Caffeine After 2 pm

Caffeine affects everyone differently, but for some people, too much caffeine too late in the day can throw off or disturb sleep patterns (26), (27).

It’s helpful to have no caffeinated food or drinks at all after 2 pm. That is because it takes the body anywhere from 6 to 9 hours to remove caffeine fully from your system (28). That means avoiding caffeine from tea, coffee, caffeinated-soda, chocolate, and more.

Keep in mind that everyone uniquely metabolizes caffeine (29). While some may drink coffee right before bed and sleep like a baby, it is because they have a different tolerance for it.

Summary: Avoid any caffeinated foods or drinks, such as coffee, tea, soda or chocolate, at least 6 to 9 hours before bedtime.

Conclusion

Sleep schedules vary per person, but there are many ways you can keep and even fix your sleep schedule for a more energizing day.

Having a good night’s rest and a regular sleep schedule can improve many aspects of your health, including providing more energy, better concentration, and enhanced physical healing (30).

Some things that can help include meditation, minding the temperature and noise, avoiding large late-night meals, and more. These are just a few things you can easily incorporate into your daily routine to see if you can get your sleep schedule on track.

Summary: If you continue to have difficulty keeping a good sleep schedule or you are concerned about your sleep, speak to your doctor about other ways you can improve sleep.

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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, and written, fact-checked & medically reviewed by health experts.

Throughout this article, you'll find scientific references (clickable links to highly trusted peer-reviewed scientific papers, links denoted by the numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3)).