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How to fix your sleep schedule: 8 powerful habits and how to implement them

March 27, 2024
8 minutes
Lifestyle Health & Wellness
Health tips
Sleep wellness strategies

Sleep struggles are very common; we’re living in trying times, and many of us bring home stress from work, school, and various social environments.

Maybe you work nights and struggle to catch up on sleep during the day, or you never seem to be able to fall asleep easily, even when your body and mind are exhausted.

Irregular sleep patterns can be detrimental to our overall well-being; sleep deficiency can lead to mental health problems, including brain fog, emotional management, focus, learning, memory, and more. Physically, a consistent lack of quality sleep can lead to many chronic health issues and an increased risk of disease.

You may be aware that your sleep schedule needs help, but where do you begin? Evidation is here to help! Evidation offers valuable insights and information relating to sleep habits, empowering individuals to optimize their sleep routines based on personalized data. Want to learn how to fix your sleep cycle with Evidation? Keep reading!

Understanding sleep

Before you can improve your sleep habits, it’s important to know what you should strive for regarding sleep duration and quality.

Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night so the body can rest, restore, and recover. While you sleep, your body moves through four sleep cycles; each has a unique purpose that aids in recovery and replenishment.

If you’re consistently getting less than 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night, you may experience various physical and mental side effects. The risks of sleeping less than what is recommended by sleep experts can be detrimental to your overall health.

Many factors in our daily lives can impact how well we sleep. These include stress, anxiety, health conditions, sleep environments, and our normal sleep habits. If any of these factors are present in your life, they may disrupt your sleep schedule.

Failing to prioritize and improve your sleep schedule can have negative impacts on both your physical and mental health and overall well-being. But not to worry — we’ve put together some tried and true tips and strategies on how to sleep better by making minor adjustments to your lifestyle and being intentional about sleep.

Let’s dive right in!

How to improve your sleep schedule

How can you tell if you need to improve your sleep schedule? If you regularly wake up feeling tired or groggy and often feel like you need a nap during the day, these are typical signs of low-quality sleep.

If your sleep schedule could use improvements, there are many tips, strategies, and habits you can implement in your daily life to make positive changes. Let’s discuss those here.

Limit screen time

We often hear that we should avoid mobile devices, TV, and tablets before bed — but why is that, exactly? The blue light emitted by smartphones can disrupt the circadian rhythm (your biological clock), which runs on a 24-hour cycle. When this cycle is disrupted, you may struggle to fall asleep even if your body and your mind are tired.

Exposure to blue light also suppresses the body’s secretion of serotonin, which plays a critical role in the circadian rhythm. Blue light tricks the brain into thinking it’s still daytime, so it tries to stay awake longer, rather than winding down. Most research shows that avoiding blue light for two to three hours before bedtime is ideal to avoid disrupting your body’s natural biological clock and to ensure you get the sleep you need.

Use technology to your advantage

In order to improve your sleep patterns, it’s important to understand them first. Many apps can help you understand your sleep patterns by monitoring how often you wake up at night, when you have interrupted sleep, how long you’re in a deep sleep cycle, or when you are tossing and turning.

Sleep trackers using the speaker and microphone on your smartphone can detect what time you fell asleep and when you woke up, which can provide insight into why you may be more tired some mornings, based on how long and how well you slept.

With Evidation, individuals can gain access to valuable information about their sleep patterns and quality of sleep to make changes as they see fit. Based on the personalized insights provided within the app, members can feel empowered to build healthy sleep habits to improve their wellness.

Incorporate regular exercise

Studies show a direct correlation between exercise and the quality of sleep, depending on how often an individual may exercise. Consistency is key when it comes to physical exercise. You don’t have to over-exert yourself; try to commit to getting some sort of cardio three to four times a week.

Sticking to an exercise plan that works for your lifestyle and goals centers on finding workouts you enjoy doing. Make the effort to find the activities you enjoy, whether it’s walking, biking, swimming, Pilates, or any other form of exercise.

Any form of exercise will raise your heart rate, stimulating the processes within the body and the brain that contribute to better sleep. When done consistently enough, exercise can also help decrease the risk of insomnia in some people.

There’s a reason a consistent workout schedule is highly recommended by healthcare professionals, doctors, scientists, and researchers across the board. The benefits of physical exercise on the human body and mind are undeniable.

From improving mental wellness, helping with sleep, promoting brain health, and reducing the risk of disease, building healthy habits around exercise will benefit your life in many ways.

Reduce anxiety

Anxiety can take a serious toll on the quality of sleep you get each night. Whether you have an anxiety disorder or you’re feeling stressed about something in particular, the amount of sleep (and the quality) directly impacts your ability to function.

Anxiety related to sleep can be a vicious cycle — when you’re feeling anxious about something, it can be more difficult to sleep. In turn, the less rest you get, the more anxious you may feel. Then, you may experience anxiety about how much sleep you’re getting, which will only exacerbate your symptoms. It can be overwhelming to get sleep anxiety under control, but there are a few things you can do to combat anxious feelings and general anxiety in your life.

Here’s how you can reduce anxiety and improve sleep:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Reduce or avoid caffeine consumption
  • Establish a healthy nighttime routine

Establish a bedtime routine

A bedtime routine can involve much more than brushing your teeth, using the restroom, and getting into bed. Bedtime routines train the brain through consistent habits that it needs to wind down, as sleep is on the horizon. Looking for some guidance and ideas on what a bedtime routine should look like? Here’s what we have in mind.

About 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime, try any (or all!) of the following:

  • Put away all electronics (even earlier, if possible)
  • Perform relaxation techniques like meditation or breathing exercises
  • Read a book
  • Drink herbal tea
  • Stretch your body
  • Take a bath

Create a sleep sanctuary

A sleep sanctuary is a calm, quiet place where sleep is easy to come by. Keep your bedroom at a cool 68 degrees, dim the lights for optimal sleep, and close the curtains. Some people enjoy using a diffuser with calming scents like lavender to help them wind down. Calm your mind in the bedroom by cleaning up any messes, putting laundry away, and straightening up so you aren’t distracted by what needs to be done once you get in bed.

Creating a sleep sanctuary takes time and effort, and it can be a part of your bedtime routine, as well. By taking extra care to create an environment that is calming and welcoming, you will fall asleep faster and wake up ready to take on the day with a clear mind.

Try sleep supplements

With the guidance of your healthcare provider, exploring sleep supplements and medications can significantly improve your quality of sleep over time.

You may have read about magnesium and its many benefits for the body; from blood sugar regulation to boosting moods, this mineral is commonly used to improve mental and physical health. Did you know magnesium can also improve your sleep schedule?

Scientists don’t have concrete answers (yet) as to why magnesium can be used as a natural sleep aid. Research indicates it may be due to magnesium’s muscle relaxant qualities, along with its ability to lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone.

Another sleep supplement worth exploring is melatonin. The body naturally produces melatonin on its own, and it is known to promote sleep. If you experience occasional insomnia, melatonin supplements can help in short-term settings to get you back on track with consistent, quality sleep.

Always be sure to speak with your doctor about trying new supplements or medications to aid and improve your sleep routine.

Explore natural remedies

Natural remedies take a holistic approach to sleep improvement and can be quite effective when used correctly.

Sleep meditation is a real thing, and it is a powerful strategy to calm your thoughts and prepare for bedtime. If you feel calm before bed but your mind races once you hit the pillow, meditation can be a valuable addition to your nighttime routine. Regularly meditating before bed will reduce your heart rate, encourage slower breathing, and even activate the parts of the brain that control your sleep cycles.

Aromatherapy is a very popular method of relaxation and is often used as a sleep aid. Did you know different scents can affect how well you sleep? By diffusing sleep-inducing essential oils (which are naturally derived from plants), you can create a tranquil, relaxing sleep environment. Common oils used for natural sleep aids include lavender, bergamot, clary sage, and cedarwood.

Try sleepy drinks, such as chamomile tea, warm milk, or cherry juice. There is limited evidence of whether these work, but it’s worth trying! Warm tea has long been associated with relaxation before bed; chamomile has many calming properties that are beneficial to winding down before sleep. Cherry juice is known to support melatonin production and promote healthy sleep cycles.

It’s time to take back your sleep schedule

Quality sleep is critical to healthy brain function, cell repair, and many restorative processes within the body. Sleep keeps us sharp, emotionally sound, and healthy.

Without the recommended 8 hours of sleep every night, our mental and physical health can be negatively impacted in many ways. To ensure you’re firing on all cylinders during your health journey, prioritizing sleep is mission-critical.

Whether you add more exercise to your daily routine, take intentional steps to reduce anxiety, or limit screen time before bed, these are small steps you can take to build healthy habits that support your sleep schedule.

With tools like Evidation in your back pocket, adjusting your daily routine and creating healthy habits is simple and empowering.

Sleep your way to optimal health with Evidation

No matter where you are on your health journey, Evidation is here to support you. From discovering healthy habits to adjusting your goals, the Evidation app provides a personalized experience to help you reach your goals.

We’re here to help you learn important information about your sleep patterns and to provide science-backed recommendations and insights for improvements. Learn more about Evidation and download our app.

Health tips
Sleep wellness strategies
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