Struggling with getting a good night’s sleep and don’t know how to fix your sleep schedule? Check out these helpful tips to correct your sleep schedule so you can reap the benefits of quality sleep!
In this article:
- Lack of Sleep Can Cause Weight Gain
- Research Supports Sleep-Weight Connection
- Why Does Sleep Loss Make Us Gain Weight?
- How to Fix Sleep Schedule: 9 Ways To Get To Dreamland
How to Fix Sleep Schedule for Quality Slumber
Lack of Sleep Can Cause Weight Gain
You toss and turn, and you count sheep until the cows come home. But, did you know that getting insufficient shut-eye may be helping you pack on the pounds?
You are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35% of us are sleep deprived.
Not so coincidentally, 35.7% of Americans are considered obese. With two such similar statistics, it’s not difficult to come to a reasonable conclusion: the less we sleep, the more we weigh.
According to the Huffington Post, the increase in body weight in the U.S. population has been paralleled by a reduction in sleep time.
“The researchers concluded that sleep loss may increase hunger.”
“For the past four decades, daily sleep duration has decreased by one and a half to two hours, and the proportion of young adults sleeping less than seven hours per night has more than doubled, from 15.6 percent in 1960 to 37.1 percent in 2002,” the online news source states.
Research Supports Sleep-Weight Connection
There are numerous studies that have cemented the link between sleep and weight. Large studies have revealed that adults are more likely to be overweight and obese the less they sleep.
The New York Times also reported on smaller studies in which scientists found that when people are allowed to sleep eight hours one night and then half that amount on another, they end up eating more on days they’ve had less shut-eye. In yet another study at the University of Colorado, researchers determined that losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row caused folks to pack on an average of two pounds.
Another study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, attempted to get to the bottom of this weighty equation. The researchers concluded that sleep loss may increase hunger and affect the body’s metabolism, which in turn makes it tough to maintain or lose weight.
Why Does Sleep Loss Make Us Gain Weight?
We can probably all come up with our own opinions on why sleep loss makes us gain weight. However, scientists have drilled it down to two basic theories.
The first one is based on the fact that sleep loss has been shown to affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite. Then what happens?
These sleep-deprived folks continue to feel hungry despite adequate food intake.
The other theory is that sleep loss increases fat storage. It seems sleep deprivation interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates, which in turn leads to soaring blood sugar levels.
This excess blood sugar promotes the overproduction of insulin, which can lead to the storage of body fat and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
How to Fix Sleep Schedule: 9 Ways To Get To Dreamland
Daily habits put up roadblocks to your journey to dreamland. Here are a few tips to help you get back on track and of how to fix sleep schedule.
1. Nix Afternoon Caffeine
Everyone knows drinking coffee or tea before hitting the hay won’t help you get to dreamland. But, you also need to monitor those caffeinated afternoon beverages that can sabotage sleep later.
Avoid going for that second cup before 2 p.m. (or even earlier) and instead take a short energizing walk to help you get over your mid-day slump.
2. Drink Alcoholic or Hot Beverages Earlier
Sure, a nightcap might seem like a good way to relax and fall asleep faster. But, here’s the thing: it won’t help the second half of your sleep cycle, as it decreases deep sleep and increases midnight wake-ups.
If you enjoy a glass of wine, it’s wise to imbibe at dinnertime, rather than bedtime. Always drink in moderation, so the effects wear off before you slumber.
3. Take an Earlier Bath
There’s nothing like a hot bath to help you unwind and prepare for sleep, right? Yes and no.
Researchers have now found that raising your body temperature too close to bedtime may actually hinder you from falling asleep. Here’s why: your body needs to cool down to a certain temperature in order to reach deep slumber.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still soak after a rough day; just do it earlier in the evening, not right before bedtime.
4. Ditch the “Blues”
“Blue light prevents the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.”
According to the Washington Post, cell phones, laptops, and tablets emit light of all colors, but it’s the blue lights in particular that pose a danger to sleep. Blue light exposure prevents the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
In a perfect world, melatonin is released a couple of hours before bedtime. It’s not a knock-out hormone, but it does reduce alertness and makes sleep very appealing.
But, the blue light can prevent the release of this hormone, thus warding off sleepiness.
Can’t part with your bedside electronics? There are a few possible solutions for reducing your exposure to blue light at night.
One is a program called f.lux. The program makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night, and like sunlight during the day. This program can be installed on computers, iPads, and iPhones, and may have a significant effect on your melatonin production.
The best part? It turns on automatically in response to the daylight in your particular time zone, so there’s no need to remember to make any adjustments to the screen.
5. Set Your Internal Sleep Clock
Learning how to fix your sleep schedule should include setting a regular sleeping schedule as it helps to ensure better quality and consistent sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the body’s “internal clock” to expect sleep at a certain time night after night.
So, try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on weekends to avoid a Monday morning sleep hangover. Waking up at the same time each day is the very best way to set your biological clock, and even if you did not sleep well the night before, the extra sleep drive will help you consolidate sleep the following night.
6. Do Not Take a Nap During the Day
Although taking naps in the day can help you re-energize to continue your daily tasks, mid-day snoozes can interfere with your natural sleep patterns.
If you feel sleepy during the day, you may want to stretch a little bit or go for a brisk walk to refuel your energy instead.
7. Create a Mood That Promotes Sleep
There are tons of sleeping habits you can follow before your bedtime to help you fall asleep more quickly. You can read a couple of chapters of a good book or write in a journal while allowing your mind and body to relax and calm down before you feel sleepy.
You can also play soft music as part of your bedtime routine as it can help prepare your mind and body to relax and may help reduce stress, allowing you to fall asleep faster. Just make sure you maintain good sleep hygiene by making your bed comfortable, reducing any distractions, and maintaining the right temperature conducive to slumber.
8. Exercising Too Close to Your Sleeping Time
How to fix a sleep schedule also includes not working out too close to your bedtime.
Many individuals may want to perform their daily exercise routine during day time, or even in the morning, primarily because it can help wake you up. If you prefer doing your exercise at night, try scheduling it earlier so you have time to let your body relax from the physical activity.
9. Eat Foods That Help Promote Sleep
Your diet can also help you achieve restful sleep. Try adding the following foods to your everyday meals:
- Passionflower tea
- Fatty fish
- Tart cherry juice
- Chamomile tea
Almonds, for example, are a great source of many nutrients, such as manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. A study showed that almonds and some other types of nuts also possess melatonin, which aids in sleep.
Passionflower tea is rich in antioxidants like apigenin, which can provides a calming effect by binding together your brain’s receptors.
How to fix your sleep schedule naturally deals with tweaking your habits and creating a lifestyle that supports quality sleep. A little discipline in your waking hours will guarantees you some solid shut-eye come night time!
What other natural ways to promote healthy sleep can you share with us? Let us know in the comments section below!
- Seniors and Sleep: How aging changes your ZZZZ’s
- Diet-Induced Inflammation/Weight Gain, and Prevention by Berberine
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 16, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.