A Step-by-Step Guide to Fix Your Sleep Schedule - MedCline

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December 01, 2023 5 min read

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. isn't getting enough sleep. Over time, sleep deprivation can seriously affect a person's mental and physical health. Despite this well-known fact, many people struggle with fixing their sleep schedule and don't even know where to begin. 

If this is you, keep reading. Our step-by-step guide will walk you through resetting your sleep schedule to consistently get a good night's sleep. 

Identify the Causes of Your Disrupted Sleep Schedule 

The first step in fixing your sleep schedule is identifying the root cause. The first step in fixing your sleep schedule is identifying the root cause. Common factors include the following: 

  • Bad sleep habits like eating before bed or exercising, napping, and drinking caffeine too late in the day can all get your sleep cycle out of whack. 
  • External factors such as a work schedule that has you on the night shift or jet lag from travel can disrupt your sleep schedule. 
  • Stress has a significant impact on your circadian rhythm. When stressed, your brain triggers a fight-or-flight response that releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, making it harder to fall asleep at night. 

Set a Consistent Sleep and Wake Time

Once you know what’s disrupting your sleep cycle, you can start taking steps to get it back on track. The first step is to decide what time you want to go to sleep and what time you want to wake up. 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all schedule for everyone. While you'll want to factor in seven to nine hours of sleep and stick as closely to day and night as possible, the most crucial factor will be staying consistent. 

Gradually Adjust Your Bedtime 

To ease yourself in, you can start adjusting your sleep-wake schedule in small increments of 15 to 30 minutes over a period. Or you can set a fixed wakeup time and gradually use good sleep habits until you start falling asleep at your goal bedtime . 

Try not to hit the snooze button in the morning and follow your new schedule every day — even on the weekends. Be patient. New habits and routines take time to build but are powerful once they solidify into a pattern. 

Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment 

Transforming your bedroom into a calm area at night can also help you reset your sleep schedule. Here are a few tips on how to create a sleep-friendly environment

  • Declutter and organize your room to help decrease stress.
  • Block outside noise with white noise machines, earplugs, or a box fan.
  • Reduce light exposure with blackout curtains or a sleep mask.
  • Ensure humidity levels stay between 30% and 50%.
  • Keep things cool. The ideal temperature for sleep is 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Invest in a good mattress, quality bedding, and pillows that support your neck and spine

Develop a Relaxing Bedtime Routine 

Once you’ve created a zen den, bedtime rituals help signal to your brain that it’s time to get ready for sleep. One of the most important routines you can implement is to turn off your electronics (phone, laptop, TV, etc.) at least an hour before bed, as research shows that blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm. 

Instead, use the time before bed to unwind by reading, stretching, meditating, and listening to calming music. 

Manage your Exposure to Light Throughout the Day 

According to the sleep experts at Healthline, being smart with your light exposure is one of the best ways to fix your sleep schedule. That’s because your brain stops making melatonin when exposed to light and starts again when it’s dark. 

To take advantage of this natural cycle, try and get more natural light in the morning — open the curtains, sip coffee on the porch, or go for a walk. In the evenings, do the opposite — dim bright lights and close the curtains to prepare for sleep. 

Get Regular Exercise and Maintain a Healthy Diet 

Exercise can help you fix your sleep schedule by releasing endorphins that reduce stress and help you feel alert and energized during the day. Conversely, your body will be more tired and ready for rest in the evening. Just be sure to schedule your workout for earlier in the day. 

Maintaining a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water throughout the day are essential in getting your circadian rhythm back in sync. Research has also shown that improving your eating habits by making simple changes, like upping your fruit and veggie intake, can reduce sleep apnea symptoms, which can also be detrimental to your sleep-wake cycle. 

In the evenings, experts recommend waiting at least three hours after eating to go to bed. It’s also advised to avoid consuming certain foods and drinks before bed, like fatty, sugary, and acidic foods and alcohol and caffeine. 

Seek Professional Help if Necessary 

If you continue to experience significant sleep issues, it's time to talk to a doctor. There might be an underlying issue, like an undiagnosed sleep disorder, requiring specific medical treatment – such as cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia or continuous positive airway pressure therapy for sleep apnea. 

How to Fix a Sleep Schedule - Final Thoughts

Once you’ve identified what’s disrupting your sleep schedule, you can start your journey of resetting it. This consists of sticking to a sleep-wake schedule, creating a sleep-friendly environment, and developing a relaxing bedtime routine. Managing your light exposure throughout the day, getting regular exercise, and eating a nutritious diet can also support your sleep cycle. Above all, staying consistent will be the most important factor in fixing your sleep schedule. 

For sleepers suffering from medical issues and sleep disorders, it’s critical to seek medical advice immediately. From there, your doctor can find the right therapies and sleep aids to help you find relief. 

At MedCline, we offer science-backed sleep solutions clinically proven to ease symptoms of chronic health issues and sleep disorders. Our patented line includes the following: 

No matter which you choose, our sleep solutions are well-positioned for your best sleep yet.

Resources

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“How to Tell if Stress is Affecting Your Sleep.” Medical News Today, 5 Sep. 2018, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322994#stress-and-sleep

Colten, Harvey R., and Bruce M. Altevogt. "Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem." The National Academies Collection: Reports Funded by National Institutes of Health, 2006, https://doi.org/10.17226/11617.

"Mold Course Chapter 2." United States Environmental Protection Agency, 6 Jul. 2022, www.epa.gov/mold/mold-course-chapter-2.

Pacheco, Danielle, and Heather Wright. “Best Temperature for Sleep.” Sleep Foundation, 16 May 2023, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/best-temperature-for-sleep

“Blue Light Has a Dark Side.” Harvard Health Publishing, 7, Jul. 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

Nunez, Kirsten. “12 Ways to Fix Your Sleep Schedule.” Healthline, 12 Feb. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/how-to-fix-sleep-schedule

St-Onge, Marie-Pierre, et al. "Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality." Advances in Nutrition, vol. 7, no. 5, 2016, p. 938–949, https://doi.org/10.3945/an.116.012336.

Suni, Eric, and Heather Wright. “How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule.” Sleep Foundation, 23 Jun. 2023, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/how-to-reset-your-sleep-routine

Miller, Mira. “How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule in 2023.” Verywell Health, 12 Jan. 2023, https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-fix-your-sleep-schedule-in-2023-7092970