With many of us having interrupted sleep at the moment through worry or just not being tired enough, it’s time to learn how to fix our sleep schedules.
Learning how to fix your sleep schedule is especially important at the moment as life changes day-by-day, so many of us believe that sleep should be the last thing on our minds. But as it's been proven time (opens in new tab) and time again (opens in new tab) that without sleep, we can't function in our daily lives.
Our sleep schedules have been disturbed, that much is for sure. Many of us are feeling tired all the time and continuously not meeting the recommended amount of deep sleep (opens in new tab) needed. Even if you don't think that you're sleeping any differently, the change from your regular day to how you're functioning now will likely be impacting your sleep in some way.
Sleep Behaviour and Environment Expert, James Wilson AKA The Sleep Geek (opens in new tab) knows all about this. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have a working day that’s like a normal working day. And while it’s good to have a normal routine, the routine has to be fit for now not based on what you used to do.”
He suggests, “It’s about working out the new normal for you and taking the stress out, because you can’t force sleep and at the moment we’ve got so much time on our hands people are trying to force it. The one thing that will stop you from sleeping, as we all know, is worrying too much.”
With that in mind, James tells us how to fix a sleep schedule and the best to make it work for you.
This is how to fix your sleep routine…
Exercise and eat at the same time every day
James says, “Natural light helps set our bodies, like ‘this is daytime’ and ‘this is night time’. Because of the way our body clock works, if we get light exposure at roughly the same time every day, have our meals at roughly the same time every day, and exercise at the same time every day, we’re more likely to feel tired at the same time every day." But he stresses, “That doesn’t mean trying to stick to the same routine that you had previously.”
So if you’re used to heading to the gym or out for a run and that doesn’t fit your lifestyle now, we suggest grabbing your yoga mat (opens in new tab) and heading outside for some light exercise in the garden. As well as getting a dose of vitamin D and some fresh air, yoga has been proven to decrease stress and alleviate anxiety.
Avoid naps during the day
“Napping during the day makes it harder to get good sleep at night.” James says, “Because is a bit like hydration, you built up a thirst for sleep during the day.
“If you have a nap, that relieves the thirst a bit. That’s part of the reason why people are going to bed later because they’re having a nap during the day, so they’re not going to bed at their normal time, so their not getting much sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.”
Instead, keep yourself busy at home with projects (opens in new tab) that will keep you from wanting to doze off.
Improve your sleep environment
As we head into the summer, the warmer weather creates more problems for sleep. According to Soak & Sleep, one in three of us are struggling with consistent sleep because we’re too warm at night. So eliminate that problem with the right bed linen and sleep environment for you.
Sleep & Soak have a great range of products to help you cope with the warm weather (opens in new tab), as well as with other classic problems like allergies (opens in new tab) and snoring (opens in new tab). Their memory foam mattress topper (opens in new tab) is especially perfect, if you're struggling with an uncomfortable bed.
Be careful of what you watch before you sleep
While we might love to watch our favourite drama before we head to bed, James says this is not a good thing to do if you’re already struggling to sleep. Instead he suggests, “Watch something funny, trashy or repetitive like your favourite rom-com.” Don't have to tell us twice!
The popular films you can find on streaming sites like Disney+ (opens in new tab) are perfect for this, as they'll have collections of films you've definitely seen before - perfect for relaxing and calming down before bed. He also advises, “We often see our devices as being the enemy and say we need to leave our phones downstairs before bed, but this works for very few people. There’s good stuff on your phone – there’s Headspace (opens in new tab) for example. Many people find mindfulness and meditation (opens in new tab) very useful [for sleep].”
Create a nightly ritual
“When we talk about routine, we talk about time. But the most important part of routine is the process.” James says, “I would think ‘I feel sleepy about 11.30pm, so at 10.30pm I’m going to have a bath or shower, I’m going to make sure I get ready and then I’m going to make sure that whatever I’m doing is about dropping my heart rate.”
He emphasises, “Before you go to bed, you need to drop your heart rate and drop your core temperature. A bath or shower helps with [this].”
If you love a soak in the bath before bed, bring these lavender and camomile bath salts (opens in new tab) in with you. Their calming scent and moisturising properties provide the perfect environment for you to relax and wash the day off.
Many people prefer to read before bed to bring their heart rate back to resting and get ready for sleep. A pillow mist like this one (opens in new tab), which is specially designed to help you drift off, is a good accompaniment to help you be calm when you get into bed.
James stresses that although you don't need to have the same routine as before, it is important to have a new routine to fix your sleep schedule and get the best night's sleep possible.
Other sleep products we love
We know that everyone sleeps differently and gets to sleep in different ways. That's the brilliant part a sleep schedule - it's tailored to your needs. So here are some other products that you can use to ensure you're settling down in the best way possible for you...
For the light sleepers: NEOM Organics Time to Sleep Kit
If you struggle to stay asleep, this dynamic duo should help. Magnesium body butter and pillow mist, made from a blend of pure essential oils will prepare you mind and body for a deep, peaceful sleep.
For the deep sleepers: Teapigs Snooze Herbal Tea
If you're already a good sleeper and just need a little push, this sleepy tea from Teapigs is perfect. A mixture of chamomile, apple and lavender tea leaves in ready-to-go tea bags, these are perfect if you're just feeling a little restless.
For the self-care enthusiast: The White Company's Sleep Candle
There nothing more relaxing than a low light when you're trying to get to sleep. Combined with the soothing scent of lavender, chamomile and clary sage it's sure to help you drift off.
For the fitness fanatic: Fit Bit Charge 3
If you want to know EXACTLY how well you're sleeping every night, then a Fit Bit will tell you. Along with recording your heart rate and letting you know all your workout credentials, a Fit Bit will analyse your sleeping patterns and let you know how many hours of uninterrupted sleep you're getting each night. This will help you work out how to fix your own sleep schedule.
Buy now: Fit Bit Charge 3 (opens in new tab)
For the little ones: Oh So Sleepy Hair and Bath Milk
Small ones can also struggle with drifting off, even if they are waking up in the middle of the night. With extracts of lavender and chamomile oil, this silky cream offers dreamy sleep for your baby.
Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics. She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.
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