How to Reset Your Body Clock for Better Sleep
Each of us has a programmed body clock that our body adapted depending on the consistency of how and when we do things. This is the reason why we tend to feel more awake or sleepy at specific times than others. The pattern is recognized by our body, familiarizes it, and before you even know it - you are making a lifestyle out of it! So if you find yourself not being able to sleep at 10:00 PM after days of pulling all-nighters, then you might want to consider getting back on track!
Aside from building the right sleep environment or taking medications, there are easier ways to reset your internal clock and get better sleep. These tips specifically help people whose sleep clock fell out of sync and are experiencing the hassle of daytime sleepiness. Or if you see yourself in a schedule that does not work for you, try these tips to reset your body clock:
Adjust your bedtime schedule.
According to Rafael Pelayo, MD, clinical professor at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, “As a general rule, it’s easier to push away sleep than to advance sleep... So you could stay up later an hour at a time, but going to bed earlier is hard to do.” This strategy can help your body gradually and consistently adjust, as opposed to quickly shifting to a schedule that your body is yet to familiarize itself with.
For example, if your target bedtime is at 9:00 PM and found yourself sleeping at 1:00 AM, start by going one hour earlier every day until you are at the desired hour.
Light remains one of the factors that experts pay close attention to with regard to sleep. During the morning, taking advantage of sunlight, which is a great source of our sleep-inducing hormones, will help boost our energy, reducing the need to fall back to sleep or take naps. In the evening, it is important that we use dim lights in our sleep environment and avoid blue light exposure emitted through our devices. This is because the longer the exposure to this light in the evening, the longer melatonin production is delayed, which makes it harder for us to fall asleep.
Manage your daytime naps.
Daytime naps are not essentially bad as long as you do not oversleep or nap later than 2:00 PM. Once you do, it can interfere with your nighttime sleep. In fact, a 2014 study found that those who are self-reported as frequent, long, and late nappers may have a higher risk of poor night-time sleep quality and more severe sleep deprivation.
Pull an all-nighter.
Each of us has different schedules, and it is almost impossible to be consistent at all times. Once you see yourself in a bad sleep-wake pattern, one strategy you can use is to pull an all-nighter or all day-er for one day to get back to your usual sleep-wake time until the next day comes. Although you should expect to feel groggy and exhausted, it will help in getting you aligned on your normal sleep.
Don't lie in bed awake.
Even the activities we do during the time we are in bed are adapted by our brains and can associate them with sleeping. If you are the kind of person who hops into bed to watch Tiktok videos or binge-watch Netflix movies, you may have noticed that it becomes difficult to fall asleep without doing those activities. When this happens, consider going to a different room if you can’t go to sleep within 20 minutes, and instead do non-stimulating activities. Studies suggest that it is better to only associate bed with sleep to easily induce sleepiness the moment you lay down.
A normal sleep routine can be disrupted by many factors - may it be the environment, shifting schedules, stress, workloads, etc. But the good thing is, you can always create habits that will get you back on track!
It may also surprise you to know that aside from the tips mentioned above, wearing comfortable pajamas can trick your brain that it is time to go to bed. It has also the same effect as cozy beds on your body - they make all-night tossing and turning relaxing and make you feel like sleeping on cloud 9!