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Staying Awake At Work: Fix Your Sleep Habits!

24 May 2023

We all sleep every day and have been doing so since the very start of our lives. Sleep is an important part of our mental and physical well-being, though we rarely take it as seriously as we do other things.

In fact, for optimal health, adults need to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night. The best way you can do this is to stick to a healthy sleep routine, but unfortunately, with the number of distractions we have around us today, it's quite difficult to do that.

From screen time right before bed to the never-ending list of chores that need to be done, and the amount of time we spend at work, it's no surprise that we end up sacrificing some of our sleep time to make sure everything else is in order.

But once your sleep schedule is disrupted, it's very difficult to bring it back on track. As a result, we end up sleepy and lethargic during the day and barely get any work done. Not to mention, being sleep deprived also makes us tired and affects other aspects of our health as well.

But the good news is that even though it's difficult, it's not impossible to fix your sleep schedule. Here are some tips for healthy sleep habits that can help you get back on track.


How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule

Before we go into how to sleep better, we should be aware of the circadian rhythm and how it affects your body. Our body has an internal clock that looks at external cues to tell the body that we have to go to bed.

The circadian rhythm will thus take into consideration the fact that it's dark outside to tell you that you're tired and you will start feeling sleepy. But this can be thrown off sometimes by things like all-nighters, moving through time zones, jet lag, and other such factors.

If this happens, you'll find yourself feeling sleepy during the day, but wide awake at night. Don't worry, there are ways to fix it. Let's look at some of them.


Use The Light

One way to fix how well you sleep is to control how much light you're exposed to and when. Your body is smarter than you think - when there is light, your body's melatonin production goes down. Melatonin is the sleep hormone, so when there's less of it, you feel a lot more awake than otherwise.

In the dark, your brain produces melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy.

Therefore, even something as simple as opening the curtains in the morning can help you wake up in time because you're exposed to the light. At night, turn off any bright lights, and put your phone away. Blue light can affect your body's melatonin production, so using your phone right before bed would mean that you'd be awake for several hours, even if you were planning on going to bed.

Even if you do manage to sleep, it'd affect the quality of sleep and you'd wake up feeling tired and drowsy.



Meditation

Meditation and engaging in relaxing activities before bed can help you sleep better. This is especially true if you're kept awake due to stress or anxiety about anything. When you're stressed, your body produces cortisol, which makes you feel alert.

Instead of giving in to that, opt for something that helps you relax, such as meditation. You can also try deep breathing exercises or yoga, which can help you calm down and reduce stress levels.



Skip The Naps

While naps can be good, most of us don't go for naps as much as we go for mini-sleep sessions. If your sleep schedule is already wacky, you want to avoid daytime naps. Yes, you will feel sleepy, especially if you haven't had enough sleep, but if you want to be able to sleep at night, you'd have to push yourself and stay up.

If you do choose to nap, make sure not to let it get too long. Aim for a short one - less than 30 minutes is ideal, and should be before 3 pm so it doesn't affect your nighttime sleep.



Minimize Noise

If you can, look for a quiet sleeping environment. Even when you're asleep, your brain is processing sounds in the environment, which is why loud noises can wake you up. Loud noises can thus also keep you from being able to sleep.

Minimize the noise as much as possible by turning off the TV, switching your phone off, or turning it on silent.

Sometimes, noisy neighborhoods can keep you from falling asleep, but you can use white noise to help create a better sleeping environment. The sound of the fan, air conditioner, purifier or humidifier, etc. can act as white noise and help you sleep. Because they have a steady sound, it masks any sounds in the environment and keeps you from focusing on them too much.

That is also why too-quiet rooms bother many people, because every little sound is just as apparent as the next, and your brain focuses on them too hard to let you sleep.



Fix the Temperature

When you're going to sleep, your body temperature drops.

This means that the temperature of the environment can affect you and keep you from falling asleep. A good temperature for your room is anywhere between 60 and 67 degrees. You can be comfortable and thus fall asleep faster and have a better quality of sleep too.

If your room is too hot or too cold, you'd be restless before you fall asleep, and will probably wake up during that as well.

It's best to adjust the thermostat before you go to bed, but you can also use an air conditioner or fan in the summer, or extra blankets in the winter.



Get a Better Bed

Sometimes, even when everything else is perfect, your bed can affect how well you sleep. Your bed has to be comfortable if you want to get any amount of sleep on it.

For example, if your mattress is too old, or your pillows too hard or soft, they can be uncomfortable and can cause pains and aches. As a result, you don't get to sleep very well.

In some cases, existing bodily problems can also affect you! If you've been struggling with back or neck pain, you'd find that even lying on a good mattress with good pillows can be painful.

Flexispot's Adjustable Bed Base can be useful in such cases. By adjusting the angle of the bed, you can make sure your body is supported and you're not in pain while you try to sleep. This way, you get the sleep you need and you don't have to wake up with aches and pains.



Eat Dinner Earlier

Your circadian rhythm is also affected by your diet and eating habits. You should be eating lighter meals before you go to bed and put a few hours between dinner time and bedtime. Late dinner can cause you to feel less sleepy, so make sure you get at least 3 hours to digest it properly!

If you feel hungry again before bed, go for a light snack that is fat-free. Carbs and proteins can help you with feeling asleep!

You should also avoid any caffeinated drinks before you sleep! Caffeine is a stimulant, so it can take a few hours for the effects to wear off. In fact, caffeine can swim around in your system for up to seven hours! It's best to avoid anything containing caffeine starting mid-afternoon.

You should also avoid alcohol before bed. While alcohol can make you drowsy, it also disrupts your circadian rhythm.



Be Consistent!

For any of these things to be useful, you need to be consistent about them! Of course, there are always going to be circumstances where your sleep schedule gets thrown off, but you shouldn't deliberately stay up just because you can.

Pick a bedtime and go to bed then. Even if you're not sleepy, just go to bed and try to sleep. Do the same for your wake-up times. By following a schedule, your body gets used to the routine and you'll find that you start feeling sleepy at the time you decided, and you'll be wide awake before your alarm even rings the next morning.

Even on weekends, don't stray from the schedule too much. A single weekend can completely throw off your schedule if you're not careful!

As time goes by, you'll find that you don't feel as tired as you did, and you'd be a lot more productive and energetic during the day.

It's quite doable to fix your sleep schedule, though it does take some effort. If you've tried everything on the list and still can't sleep, you may want to visit your doctor! Some people suffer from sleeping disorders and need some extra intervention to help fix their schedules.