What to do if your sleep schedule is thrown out of whack

What to do if your sleep schedule is thrown out of whack

It’s not surprising if you or someone in your family is experiencing sleepless nights lately. Bedtimes and wake-times may be different as you resume your office commute and kids return to school. Days are getting shorter. It’s still dark in the morning when the alarm goes off. And we’ll soon be turning back the clocks. 

Following basic sleep hygiene guidelines will help you to reset your sleep patterns. These include keeping the bedroom cool, using comfortable bedding and leaving your electronics in another room. Here are some lesser known strategies that may also help you get consistently restful sleep. 

  • Design your ideal sleep routine and stick with it. We are creatures of habit. Our bodies learn to respond to certain cues, even when we may not be aware of them. Teach your body to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep by creating your ideal bedroom environment. Set the thermostat so it automatically adjusts to the perfect temperature by bedtime. 
  • Choose practical bedtimes and wake-up times. If you can’t stick with them long-term, you may be piling on more stress. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to wind down. Relax using the same pre-bedtime routine each night. This may involve reading a book (not a tablet, because the blue light it emits can disrupt your melatonin production); or listening to soft music.
  • If you have trouble relaxing, take Suntheanine 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep. Suntheanine is scientifically proven to be a safe way to support relaxation and high-quality sleep without sedation. You may have an easier time letting go of whatever is stressing your mind, plus you won’t wake up feeling groggy.    
  • Give yourself time to adjust. Almost any new routine takes time to become a habit. Your body and brain need time to grow accustomed to your routine. If you are dramatically changing your sleep times, you may want to do so gradually by adjusting your sleep/wake times by an hour or two at a time. Reinforce your new sleep patterns by following the same routine daily, even on weekends. 

And take advantage of cooler fall temperatures to participate in outdoor activities. Exercise is a proven way to enhance sleep, and exposure to sunlight helps manage the circadian rhythm responsible for quality sleep.