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How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule 

How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule 

How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule 

Are you a night owl or an early riser? Sleep-wake cycles can differ between individuals, but in general, most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, while most teenagers need 8-10 hours per night, to maintain optimum function and good health. 


Issues occur when our sleep-wake cycle becomes disrupted. Signs you need to reset your sleep schedule can include;


- You have trouble concentrating

- You’re more forgetful

- You’re less alert

- Slower decision-making 


Crossing time zones, changing shifts at work, or welcoming a new baby into the home can all have a major impact on our sleep schedule. 


Staying up too late, or lying in too long, can also disrupt your circadian rhythm, making it harder to get to sleep at night or get up in the morning. 


We can all handle the odd late night or very early start, however longer-term impacts can take their toll. 


The most common influences on our sleep schedule are;


- Travel

- Work or school hours

- Shift hours

-Medications with adverse side-effects

- Sleep disorders such as insomnia

- Streetlights, artificial light and blue light from phones and screens

- Hormonal changes (pregnancy, premenstrual, menopausal) 


How to change or reset your sleep schedule?


When we have to adjust to a new routine, it can sometimes be harder to get up in the mornings, or fall asleep easily at the end of the day. 


To adjust to a new sleep schedule more quickly, the following strategies, techniques, and habits can help get your sleep schedule back on track; 


- Set a consistent routine, getting up and going to bed at the same times every day

- Try not to lie-in at weekends

- Exercise earlier in the day

- Try to eat your last meal or consume alcohol no later than three hours before bed

- Avoid drinking caffeine after 12pm

- Exposure to natural light helps us to wake with the sun rise and sleep with the sundown

- Light therapy lamps can mimic the increase in light from the sun rising

- Black out blinds or a sleep mask can minimise light interference

- Create a healthier wind-down routine to prepare for bedtime by banning screens one hour before bed, practicing meditation or taking a bath

- Optimise your immediate sleep set-up by choosing a responsive, breathable mattress that offers full body support, and an adjustable pillow that can offer the best support for your head and neck

- Turn down the heating to make your bedroom slightly cooler 

- A digital sleep app like the Simba Sleep Coach can offer prompts, alerts, and alarms to support the transition to your goal sleep schedule and create healthier sleep habits

- A weighted blanket can help you get to sleep more easily 


The 12-hour night shift sleep schedule 


Whether you work nights, or just have a tendency to stay up all night, you can use the same strategies to help get your sleep schedule back on track;


- Consistency is key so stick to getting up and going to bed at the same times -

- Wake up as close as possible to the start of a night shift but don’t go to sleep as soon as it ends

- Drink caffeine at the beginning of the shift but cut off 3-4 hours before it ends 

- Use a biphasic or split sleep pattern by sleeping in two segments, so sleeping as soon as you get home from work, getting up, and then taking a longer nap before the next shift starts

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