Master Your Sleep Schedule In 7 Easy Steps

America has a problem with sleep.

35 to 40 percent of this country has issues either getting to sleep at night or feeling too tired during the day, which matches up nicely with a Gallup poll that found that 40% of all Americans get less than seven hours of sleep each night.

You know that can’t be healthy!

Getting more sleep can work wonders on your overall quality of life, which is why we decided to put together this helpful guide to some of our top tips for getting the best sleep possible.

Don’t let late bedtimes wear you down.

Be good to your body, and your body will be good to you!

Hold Yourself to a Regular Sleep Schedule

Coming up with a regular schedule and forcing yourself to stick to it is often one of the best ways to improve both your quantity and your quality of sleep.

This isn’t just for weeknights, either.

Your body needs consistency, and you really want to get in sync with your body natural waking and sleeping cycle.

Alarm clockDon’t let yourself sleep in on weekends, no matter how tired you might feel.

The more your sleep schedule on weekends differs from your schedule the rest of the week, the worse jetlag-like symptoms are going to get.

Ever wonder why you feel so tired on Monday mornings, even though you told yourself you were “catching up on sleep” during the weekend?

It’s because you threw your body’s cycle off!

We’re not built to have two different cycles, on for the weekend and one for the week.

It just confuses your body, so it doesn’t know when it’s supposed to be feeling tired and when it’s supposed to be feeling awake.

Don’t do that to youself.

 How You Should Be Catching Up On Sleep

Now, make no mistake here—you do need to somehow make up for all that sleep you didn’t get last week.

It’s just that you shouldn’t try to do it all in one sitting.

Instead, try adding on an extra hour or two of sleep each night this coming week.

It might be tough to find the time for that, but your body’s going to thank you.

It’s the only way to catch up on lost sleep without throwing off your body’s system. 

Get a Comfortable Mattress

A quality mattress is crucial for a good night’s sleep—and no, we’re not just saying that because we’re mattress-guides.net!

Seriously, just think about it for a second.

How are you supposed to get a good night’s sleep if it’s impossible for you to actually get comfortable?

It’s just not going to happen.

Is your mattress too hard or too soft?

Is your partner restless, and you keep waking up whenever they do?

Is your mattress simply past its prime, and it’s taking you way too long to get into a comfortable position?

Is your mattress the right size for you and your partner?

We mean it—check out some of those links.

Your mattress can have a major impact on your sleep quality.

Don’t Want to Spring for a Mattress Just Yet?

If you’re not in the financial situation to buy a new mattress right now, there are still a few options you can try out for making your sleeping conditions as comfortable as possible.

For instance, you can try investing in a good mattress topper for the time being.

This can make even the most uncomfortable mattress at least a little more bearable (although remember, it should really just be a temporary measure).

You might also consider trying out a better pillow for a little while, especially if you’re waking up with neck pain in the middle of the night.

There are a lot of options for getting a healthy sleeping situation.

Don’t lose sleep over a bad mattress!

Avoid Bright Lights and Electronics When Sleeping

Your body’s sleep rhythms are designed to follow the rising and setting of the sun.

That’s the kind of environment humans lived in for almost all of history until the invention of electricity.

Sun’s down?Sunrise over water

Time to sleep.

Sun’s up?

Time to get up!

The one exception to this was firelight, since our ancestors often liked to sit around the campfire at night before heading off to bed.

Electronics and other modern forms of light mess up this system in two ways.

First of all, they create artificial light, which tells your body it’s still daytime and it’s time to be awake.

Second of all, modern LEDs emit blue light, which is very different from the red firelight we’ve adapted to get tired to.

Both artificial light and blue light have been linked to increased alertness and wakefulness—the exact opposite of what you want if you’re trying to get to sleep!

Give Yourself Time to Wind Down Before Going to Bed

If you’re not feeling tired at night when you lie down, the last thing you want to do is to try and force yourself to get to sleep.

Trust us, it’s just not going to work.

You’ll either find yourself lying there for hours thinking about sleeping (which is, by the way, one of the worst ways to actually get to sleep!), or you’ll just give up and end up scrolling through your phone (another terrible idea).

Man reading a bookInstead, it’s a good idea to just try and build in some healthy sleep-time habits to give your body the chance it needs to relax before bed.

Remember, your body thrives on routine.

 Try creating nice, relaxing ritual for yourself.

Some ideas include taking a warm bath, reading, listening to soothing music, stretching, or going through relaxation exercises.

It doesn’t really matter what it is, it just needs to calm you down and not break any of the other rules on this list.

(Remember, electronics are usually off the table because of all that wake-time blue light!)

Your body will start to realize that this ritual means it’s time to settle down for sleep, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to hit the hay.

What If Electronics are Part of My Nighttime Routine?

So, we just said that electronics are bad for sleep.

That’s generally true—however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to entirely give up your phone or laptop at night if you want to get a good night’s sleep.

There are some applications out there—Nocturne is a good one—that will actually change the coloration of your screen to get rid of all that blue light that keeps us so energized.

You’ll be able to turn your screen entirely red and black, which will help you better slow down for rest.

It’ll look a little weird, but it’s a good workaround if you want to, say, read in bed without having to turn the light on.

Limit Your Bed to the Two S’s

Your bed should really only be used for two things: sleeping and sex.

Don’t read, watch TV, use your laptop, look at your phone, or do anything else on your bed during the day unless it’s part of your nighttime routine.

This is the only way to hammer it into your head that the bed is for sleep.

Your brain is great at making associations, so by limiting your activity in bed to the two S’s, your body will always know when it’s time to catch some Z’s.

Think About What You Eat and Drink Before Sleeping

The things you put into your body can have a major impact on your sleep, as well.

Obviously, you want to avoid things like nicotine and caffeine in the hours before bedtime.

The effects of caffeine in particular are pretty tricky, since it takes your body 3 to 5 hours to get rid of just half of the caffeine from your bloodstream.

You also want to avoid too much alcohol before bed.

Even though it makes you drowsy right now, it can mess with your sleep cycle and have you waking up at odd hours throughout the night.

Eating, on the other hand, is a little bit more complicated.

In some people, eating before bed can bring about indigestion and hinder sleep.

In others, though, you won’t be able to sleep at all if you’re going to bed hungry!

If you fall into the second category, helpguide.org suggests trying a moderate serving of the following foods:

  • A turkey sandwich
  • A small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal
  • Milk or yogurt
  • A banana

Be sure to keep whatever you’re eating healthy—foods you know are bad for you (like carbs or sugary drinks) will often lead to bad sleep.

How Exercise During the Day Can Help with Sleep

Exercise is another great way to get your body slowing down for sleep.

Getting the right amount of exercise during the day can lead to greater alertness and more consistent tiredness at night.

Be sure not to exercise right before bed, though, since this can wake you up.

Also don’t sacrifice your sleep for exercise (unless it’s the only thing that works for you).

Conclusion About How to Master Sleep

With these easy tricks, you should be well on your way to getting a better night’s sleep!

Always remember to take time for your sleep.

It’s a big time commitment, it’s true, but you know you need it.

With better sleep, you’ll be happier, healthier, and more productive than ever.

So put down the laptop, pull up the shades, and get yourself some much-needed rest.

You can thank us in the morning.

 

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