Fix your sleep schedule: how to restart you internal clock

In the past 6 weeks, I’ve been staying home all the time because of the Coronavirus lockdown. Even though this meant I had total freedom over how to use my time, it had its negative effects. I was staying late at night watching movies and series, and the next morning I wouldn’t wake up before 10 am. At first I was happy with my new lifestyle, but this happiness didn’t last. I noticed a drop in my productivity and an increase in my procrastination. That’s why I started working on restarting my internal clock to boost my energy, and I noticed a great improvement! If you want to fix your sleep schedule, here are some of the tips that I followed and found really helpful.

The essentials to fix your sleep schedule

There are two things we do that are inseparably tied to our sleep schedule: going to bed and waking up. In order to fix your sleep schedule, you’ll need to make modifications to these two things. However, it’s not enough to just make these modifications: you have to strictly stick to them. When it comes to restarting your internal clock, consistency is the key. Being consistent is what helps your body to build a sleep pattern. It may be hard at first, but after a while your body gets used to it and it gets much easier and natural. Once you reach a workable bedtime and a consistent wake up time, don’t allow yourself to stray from it. Even one late night can ruin the progress you’ve made. Predictability is key.

Going to bed

The first step to fix your sleep schedule is having a consistent bedtime. If your body gets used to going to bed at the same time everyday, it will become easier for you to fall asleep when you go to bed at that time. There are many things you can do to adjust your bedtime, but I’ll focus on the most important ones.

Adjust your bedtime gradually

If you used to sleep at 1 am every day, don’t expect that if you decide to go to bed at 9 pm one day you’ll be able to sleep directly. You need to get there gradually. Try to go to sleep half an hour earlier every couple of days until you reach your desired goal, then stick to it. It may take some time to get there, but that’s the best way in order to ensure consistency. Some people try to stay up all night so that they go to sleep early next day, but this technique isn’t effective for a simple reason. If you stay up all night you’ll have sleep debt and you will end up requiring more sleep in the following days to pay back that sleep debt. To get long-term results, you need to be patient.

Avoid eating or exercising close to bedtime

Another factor that can help you sleep easier is having your body ready to sleep when you want it to. Working out can increase your body heat and boost your energy, making it much harder for you to fall asleep. That’s why it’s recommended that you don’t workout close to your bedtime. As for food, some of them can induce heartburn which can also keep you up at night.

Waking up

Waking up at the exact time everyday (even on weekends) is essential in order to have a good sleep schedule. However, this can be very challenging especially if you’re trying to wake up earlier. You’ll feel a strong temptation to go back to sleep, and you’ll need some tricks to overcome it.

Build a morning routine

No matter how hard I tried before, I was always failing to wake up consistently every day. The missing secret ingredient was having a morning routine. Starting your day with a predictable set of habits can make it easier for you to get out of bed. It doesn’t even have to be complicated at all. Here’s my morning routine that I’m following nowadays:

  • Drink a cup of water right after I get out of bed.
  • Go outside for a couple of minutes to have some fresh air and see some light. It helps me signal to my brain that the day has started.
  • When I go back inside, I have breakfast.
  • Finally, I prepare a todo list for the day. It helps me be more productive.

Your morning routine is up to you, and you should build one that makes you comfortable and works for you.

I hope these tips can help you get a better sleep schedule. And remember that no matter when you go to sleep or wake up, always make sure that you’re having enough sleep every day!