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How To Reboot Your Sleep Cycle
We all know how important a good night's sleep is for our well-being, but sometimes life gets in the way. Sleeping in on the weekends, work, stress, and traveling can impact our sleep cycle and throw it off its normal rhythm. Going days or weeks without a consistent sleep schedule can be detrimental to your health. When your circadian rhythm is out of sync, you may find it difficult to fall asleep and wake up at the right times. But like any clock, your circadian clock can be reset as well.
Here's a guide on how to fix your sleep schedule following a time change:
Following the guide above is one way to fix your sleep schedule. In fact, it can take 3 days up to one week to adjust to a new time. Beside changing your sleep and wake times slightly, you can also try these tips.
1. Turn on the lights
Your biological clock is mainly controlled by the daily cycles of lightness and darkness, and manipulating light exposure may help reset your clock. Turn on the lights right when you wake up. This is super helpful in the fall and winter because it's typically still dark in the mornings. We recommend syncing your Phillips Hue to your alarm so you wake up with sunrise simulating lights. You should start dimming the lights as the sun sets, and try to keep your bedroom as dark as possible. This means lights from screens should be reduced or fully eliminated.
2. Fast for 12-16 hours
Research from Harvard suggested that not eating for about 12-16 hours can quickly reboot the sleep-wake cycle. This is because our bodies also run on a "food clock," which takes over when we are hungry. If you are a jet lag, this technique is extremely effective. By fasting for 12-16 hours, you can trick your body that it's time to sleep. When you break the fast, your body will think it's morning. For non-jetlag disturbances, you could still try this fast. Eat an early dinner (around 4 PM), and then avoid eating until breakfast (8 AM). Once your sleep is back on schedule, stick to normal meal times.
3. Stay consistent
A consistent sleep schedule is the best way to achieve a good night's sleep. This means you need to go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday, including weekends. When you sleep in on Saturday and Sunday, it'll be much harder to wake up for work on Monday. Waking up late on the weekend produces something called "social jet lag" and is associated with poorer health, worse mood, and fatigue.
Want to change your sleep habits for the better? A healthy sleep schedule is the first step.