Tips to Fix Your Sleep Schedule

Let's talk about how to fix a seriously f** cked up sleep schedule.

We've all been there. It's way past midnight, you're scrolling through the Instagram explore page and you realise that once again, you've stayed up way later than intended. You wanted to make the most of your summer, but now, you’re in a seemingly endless cycle of sleeping in and losing half your day.

Here are some tips for things you can do, both during the day and before you go to bed, to help yourself get into a better sleep schedule.

 

  • Keep your blinds open

 

Let some light into your room so you can wake up the way nature intended. If you're me, this also lets in the light from my neighbour's headlights as they drive in and out at 3 am but hey- you win some, you lose some. 

 

  • Wake up early

 

It's brutal, but being exhausted and utterly sleep deprived for a day usually has you falling asleep at a reasonable time later that night. And it turns out when my mum saying that waking up at 10 am wastes half the day, it was pretty damn true. You can get so much done when you wake up at 7 am.

 

  • Say no to the nap

 

We all love a good nap. And I'm not saying that you shouldn't EVER take a nap, because that's just being cruel to yourself, but limit them to about a half hour. We've all woken up five hours later wondering where the hell we are and what year it is, but that 's not going to help you get your sleep schedule back on track.

 

  • Watch your caffeine intake

 

This one screams obvious, but most of us don't put it into practice. I'm not saying to cut caffeine out completely, but limiting it after lunch and definitely saying no to it after dinner will make a world of difference.

 

  • Make a to- do list

 

We've all laid in bed thinking about all the things we've forgotten to do that day, or what we need to get done tomorrow. Get those thoughts out of your head by writing them down in list form so you know that you're not forgetting anything. That way, you won't need to worry about them while you lie in bed. I mean, you'll probably think about that one thing you did when you were twelve that still haunts you, but it's fine, it's fine.

 

  • Exercise during the day

 

Exercise is weird. It gives you energy, but also uses up a lot of it. So it'll both help you with energy throughout the day and make you tired enough to actually fall asleep at night. Plus, I won't even get started about its many health benefits.

 

  • Stretch

 

Doing a quick stretch before you get into bed will help you relax. You can find quick tutorials on YouTube for plain ol' stretching or activities like pilates, and yoga. In my experience, they'll zen you out completely.

 

  • Make sure you're not too hot or too cold

 

During summer, the temptation to turn your aircon to freezing is strong, but research shows that the optimal temperature for sleeping is actually around 20 degrees Celsius/68 degrees Fahrenheit. So, set your aircon accordingly, or just stick one foot out of your covers. Whatever works.

 

  • Have a bath or shower

 

Our bodies naturally drop in temperature right before we fall asleep. Having a warm bath or shower before bed helps you sleep because after you get out, your body temperature will drop and this mimics that process. Hence why you feel sleepy after a warm bath or shower.

 

So get out your Lush bath bomb, it's time to relax. Too easily we can forget to take time for ourselves and relax, so make sure to do just that. Light a candle, watch some Netflix, and pretend you know what you’re doing after graduation. The same principle applies to a shower. Exfoliate your entire body and cover yourself in moisturiser, it's called self-care. I wouldn't take a bath bomb in there, though.

 

  • Take a break from technology

 

Everyone knows that looking at your phone just before you try to sleep isn't a good idea, but we all do it  anyway. That's why Apple created the handy night shift function. It changes the light of your phone so it's less harsh on your eyes and doesn't screw with your brain's sleep pattern as much. Set it up so your phone goes into night shift a few hours before you want to go to bed. Then, there's the big one. Try not to use your phone for half an hour before you sleep. I know, just try it though. I'd also recommend putting your phone on airplane mode when you actually go to bed. You can worry about those notifications in the morning. The group chat isn't that interesting.

 

  • Read something

 

My mum tells me to read something before I go to sleep every night and I never do, but I should. It's productive  in many ways. You're reading something that isn't a textbook which is always satisfying, and most people find they get a little sleepy after reading a chapter  or so. If you hate reading, even better. You'll probably fall asleep faster.

 

  • Listen to a soothing playlist

 

You can easily find a bunch of decent playlists on Spotify designed to relax you and help you sleep. If you're not a Spotify person, there are apps for that. I haven't used enough to give a recommendation, but there are a ridiculous amount of sleep noises or calming apps to choose from.

 

  • Do some breathing exercises

 

You can find a bunch of these on YouTube, and even if you think they're ridiculous, they're worth a try. Many people don't realise that they're used to their breathing being quite shallow. Shallow breathing means that you never really fill up the lowest part of your lungs. You might not even realise the amount of tension you're carrying in your body. You can read more about it and the effects it has on you (here) if you're interested. But trust me, do some breathing exercises.

 

  • Make sure you're not hungry or thirsty

 

No one enjoys lying in bed with tummy rumbles. There's conflicting information about whether you should let your food digest for a few hours before you sleep, but if you're hungry, you're hungry. Midnight snacks are great. Just don't go overboard. The temptation to pig out can be huge, but go for something small and easily digestible instead. A warm drink is always soothing, I'd probably just stay away from anything caffeinated. My go-to is herbal tea and a piece of toast. Also, drink water. Try not to drink so much that you’ll wake up in the middle of the night needing to go to the bathroom, though.

 

And there you have it, all my tips on how to fix your messed up sleep schedule. Good luck!