Tips To Fix Your Sleep Schedule
“If you’re going to do something tonight that you’ll be sorry for tomorrow morning, sleep late.” -Henny Youngman, English-American Comedian
Poor sleep is a bad thing, while healthy sleep positively affects many aspects of your lives. But why is maintaining the right sleep schedule vital for mental health? Its significance comes from studies that examine sleep disorders and their influence on mental health and cognitive function. Unfortunately, sleep disorders go hand in hand with mental problems.
Sleep disturbances lead to depression
Insomnia is a common symptom of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But can sleep disorders lead to mental problems? They absolutely can. Studies reveal that sleep problems often precede clinical depression and continue during remission periods. Worse yet, people with insomnia have 3 times higher risk of developing depressive disorders than healthy people.
The chain of events is evident: sleep deprivation ruins your life. If everything goes wrong, but you have no energy to fix it, anxiety, depression, and social disorders will knock on your door very soon.
Sleep problems affect cognitive function
Sleep disorders, especially abnormalities in sleep duration, reduce cognitive performance. Another study reveals that decreased sleep quality is associated with brain function impairment and Alzheimer’s disease development.
Sleep abnormalities worsen mental disorders
While sleep abnormalities may trigger mental and cognitive disorders, they also intensify existing mental states and interfere with treatment practices. Sleep disorders slow recovery of the following conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Anxiety disorders.
Related: How to relieve stress for bedtime
How to go to bed earlier?
At this point, it’s evident that maintaining a healthy sleep schedule will help you improve your life quality and avoid plenty of mental issues. But what are healthy sleep hours in the first place? Studies show that your body needs 7-9 hours of night sleep, and it’s better to go to bed before midnight.
So how to hit the sack before 11:59 and wake up refreshed at 7:00? Check this out below:
1. Reduce screen time
Medical studies show that excessive use of gadgets decreases sleep quality and prolongs sleep onset latency. How does this work? Consuming content isn’t relaxing – social media, TV, and video games stimulate your brain. But most importantly, light emitted from your smartphone signals to your brain that it’s daytime now while your clock shows 0:30. The matter is that gadgets reduce melatonin production. It’s the primary sleep hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
As a result, you can’t fall asleep even if you go to bed on time. So you should reduce screen time before bed as much as possible.
Related: Blue light has a dark side.
2. Resist the urge to nap
Having a hard time getting to sleep, you will wake up already exhausted. During the day, you will yawn, feel fatigue, and dream of hitting the sack. If you work at home, you will likely nap for 30-60 minutes.
But if you wish to reset your sleep schedule, you have to resist this temptation. Never nap during the day, even if you feel like a zombie. Instead, go for a walk, do some push-ups, squats, or jumps. Physical activity will refresh your mind since it increases cerebral blood flow.
3. Eat healthy foods
If you toss and turn all night, your diet might be the problem. Studies show that high-carb meals before bed keep you up during the night.
Also, you have to exclude or at least reduce alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine consumption, especially before bed. These substances overexcite your nervous system and result in sleep problems.
Spicy and high-fat foods consumed before bed are also associated with poor sleep quality. So the tendency is evident – the more junk food you eat, the more sleep problems you will have. So you can try the following:
- Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates (baked foods, white rice, and sweets).
- Eat more whole-grain foods.
- Eat more protein.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables.
- Not drink tea before bed – it stimulates your nervous system as well.
An important note: going healthy all at once is stressful. If you do so, you might fail. Make sure you substitute your daily foods with healthier alternatives gradually.
Studies suggest that moderate exercise may improve sleep quality. While further research on this topic is required, this assumption aligns with common sense: the more tired your body is, the better you sleep. So you can try jogging or gym training as another healthy way to improve your sleep.
However, it’s better to avoid exercising before sleep as training interferes with general relaxation. Make sure to finish training at least three hours before bed.
Related: Exercising for better sleep.
5. Try out supplements
Coping with sleep problems is an uphill battle. Sometimes, you will need medical treatment. But your doctor will likely prescribe you common antidepressants and sedative drugs that involve adverse effects in the long run. How to go to bed earlier without antidepressants then? Natural sleep-inducing supplements may come in handy:
Melatonin is commonly used as a sleep medication since it naturally regulates circadian rhythms. People take it to improve their sleep schedule during flights and cope with insomnia, hypersomnia, and other sleep disorders. Taking 3-5 mg of melatonin before bed will help your body understand it’s the right time of the night to fall asleep.
CBD is a non-toxic, non-addictive component of the cannabis plant with several therapeutic benefits.
CBD naturally calms your nervous system, relieves inflammation, pain, as well as anxiety disorders. All these therapeutic effects contribute to healthy sleep. Most importantly, CBD doesn’t involve adverse health effects in the long run.
GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid. Your body naturally produces this substance, which, in its turn, works as a neurotransmitter and soothes your nervous system. Studies show that GABA supplementation before bed helps patients improve sleep quality.
More tips on resetting your sleep schedule
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
- Relax before bed. Try meditation, for example.
- Shift your sleep schedule gradually. Just going to bed 3 hours earlier right away won’t help. Instead, you should go to sleep 15-30 minutes earlier each week until you return to healthy sleep hours.
The Bottom Line
Sleep disturbance comes in many shapes and dramatically reduces life quality, but you can defeat it with a systemic approach. For this, you should eat and drink healthily: avoid spicy foods, coffee, alcohol, and tea before bed. Furthermore, exercise, resist naps during the day, reduce screen time before sleep, and try sleep aid supplements. At the end of the day, these tips will help you bring your sleep schedule back to normal.
Guest Writer Bio
Jamie Taylor is a health expert with over 10 years of experience. He worked as a physician’s assistant and treated patients with neurological disorders, chronic pain, and systemic inflammation. Jamie established ValidCBDOil once CBD was legalized in the United States. Now, he helps CBD enthusiasts live happier lives, sharing his knowledge on this beneficial supplement and reviewing CBD brands like CBDistillery, CBD American Shaman, and others.