Once you start getting into the habit of staying up late at night and sleeping in during the morning, it can be hard to get back to a healthy sleep schedule. In fact, most of us don’t even get the luxury of sleeping in, and having your sleep cycle cut short by a morning alarm is even worse for your mental and physical health than a late sleep schedule. Trying to get by on coffee, energy drinks and bars, and other stimulating snacks may give you a temporary boost, but the crash that comes afterwards will only make your situation worse. While it can seem like you’ll be stuck dreading your alarm forever, with just a little self-discipline and a good outlook, you can break the habit and start getting your restful nights back.
Cut Off Food Early
When you stay up late, it’s tempting to head to the kitchen one last time before bed for a snack, or even a second dinner if the mood strikes. Negative effects of eating before you sleep include heartburn, weight gain, and insomnia. Even if you do get to sleep after eating a large late-night meal, chances are your sleep will be less restful. Dinner should be finished at least an hour before you head off to sleep, and an exceptionally large or heavy dinner like steak, creamy pasta dishes, or rich casseroles, should be consumed two hours before lights out.
Turn Off Electronics
The last thing you should do before trying to sleep (besides pouring yourself a big mug of coffee) is browse the Internet. As much as you may want to take the downtime before you go to sleep as time to scroll through your newsfeed, doing so can drastically affect how well you sleep. Finishing that last episode on Netflix or scrolling through your Pinterest one more time is a prime way to get your brain fired up when it needs to be winding down. About an hour before bed, but at least thirty minutes, switch over to more restful activities like making a cup of a calming tea, reading, journaling, or if you have a partner, talking about each other’s days.
Know When to Go to Sleep
For some people, going to bed at 10:00PM is the best time to sleep, but others may need to go to bed earlier or later. No one but yourself can determine what your prime sleep schedule is. Pay attention to your body and when you begin to feel tired in the evening. If you start to feel like you could rest around 8:30PM, that’s what time you should start preparing for bed. Unfortunately, no matter what may the ideal time for you to sleep, you may have to make adjustments for work. Instead of strictly sticking to when you should sleep, figure how long you need to sleep and work backwards from the time you have to set your alarm for.
Don’t Be Deterred by a Missed Day
If you are working to get back on track with a healthy sleep schedule and slip up on a weekend or day off of work, don’t beat yourself up over it. At the same time, don’t use that as an excuse to slip up again… and again. Just take each day as it comes and try your best to stick with your plan for better, more restful sleep. Eventually it will become just another part of your routine.