1) Timed light Exposure
Do you like working in the dark? many people like to stay in the dark during the day, you close the curtains, switch off the lights, and enjoy the quiet comfort of your darkroom. But whenever you turn off the lights you are confusing your brain. day time light exposure has a huge impact on your sleep circle.
A 1993 study from the Journal of American Geriatrics Society found that timed light exposure significantly changes your sleep. Participants, who experience bright light during the day saw a huge improvement in their sleep efficiency, why? Because light is one of the many ways the brain governs your sleep cycle.
When the world is bright and sunny the brain feels awake and alert, your brain knows that it’s daytime, so your energy and productivity remain high. But sitting in darkness confuses your brain, it doesn’t know what time of day it is it loses track of your sleep cycle and that confusion leaves you feeling grungy and tired throughout the day.
So open the curtains in the morning, turn on the light during the day and keep your brain awake by saving the darkness for later.
2) Napping Routine
Do you Nap during the day? Napping seems like a great way to ruin your sleep cycle, but it’s not entirely true. studies have shown that napping helps you sleep better and wake up early too, but only if you nap the right way. many people nap whenever they feel tired.
If there is an irregular routine in your napping schedule that will ruin your sleep cycle. Let’s say today you nap at 4:00 pm and tomorrow you feel much more tired after the day’s work and nap around 2:00 pm the irregularity of your napping routine will hurt your sleep cycle.
Your sleep cycle follows a biological pattern called the Circadian Rhythm. The brain uses this rhythm to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day, that’s why it’s so much important to keep your sleep cycle on a consistent schedule, the more regular your sleep routine is the easier it will be for you to fall asleep every day. if you nap at different times every day, it’s going to throw off your circadian rhythm.
According to a 2011 study in the Journal Behavioural Neuroscience, irregular naps damage sleep quality, they also interfere with important cognitive processes like stored memories which happens during your sleep cycle. if you are going to nap during the day, it’s important to nap at the same time each day because consistency is the key here.
3) Afternoon Caffeine
If you are one of those who normally take coffee or energy drinks in the afternoon to boost your energy or productivity level, then you should consider switching to a better healthy solution, like walking around your neighborhood or eat energy-boosting snacks like almonds, apple, or banana 🍌.
Caffeine may be good to boost energy when you are feeling low but it will cost you your sleep when you take it at the wrong time. Caffeine stays in the bloodstream for 6-8 hours after consumption and if you are too sensitive to caffeine that number can climb even higher.
With caffeine in your bloodstream, your sleep suffers significantly. According to a 2013 study in the journal of clinical sleep medicine, researchers found out that caffeine damages your sleep up to 6hours after consumption. participants in this experiment experience trouble falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and grogginess after waking up, so relying on caffeine for energy-boosting might not just be the best option if you don’t want to find it difficult falling asleep.
4) Unravel Your Stress
Stress has a major impact on sleep quality and quantity. Before you can fall asleep your brain needs time to relax and settle down but stress usually stands in the way of this relaxation, it fills your brain with worries and doubts which keeps your brain tensed and wild, to overcome this, you need to engage in stress-relieve activities like, reading a booking, taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, meditate, do deep breathing, you can combine most of these things or do whatever makes you feel relaxed, the point is to relax your brain and remind your brain that it’s time to sleep.
5) Gradual Adjustments
Are you unsatisfied with your sleep schedule? We all know the countless benefits of waking up early, which includes higher energy levels and higher concentration levels because the brain performs at its best in the first half of the day.
If your goal is to sleep and wake up early let’s say waking up at 5AM or waking up at 4AM, then you need to adjust your sleep cycle by going to bed earlier so that you can wake up early too and to do this you need to adjust your sleep cycle gradually not at once.
Let’s say you normally wake up around 9 AM but you want to start getting up at 5AM the worst thing you can do is to switch your schedule all at once, many people make this mistake, they expect their brain to just adapt to a big change in their sleep cycle and this change backfires at them, instead of feeling energetic they end up feeling drowsy and tired.
The brain enjoys consistency in your sleep cycle, any huge sudden change will make the brain react negatively, instead, the best way to go about this is to adjust it gradually by 30 minutes then when it’s starting to feel normal you try 1hour, then 90 minutes until you have fully adjusted your brain to the timing that you want.
6) Avoid Your Bed
Do you do anything other than sleep in your bed? Many people watch TV, browse social media, check emails in bed, your mattress is comfortable, silky bedsheet, soft pillow, hence the temptation to spend the whole day in bed.
But this bad habit can hurt your sleep cycle. Your brain creates a kind of relationship between places and behavior, for example, you are more likely to be productive sitting at your desk than sitting on your couch, your brain associates your desk with work, so sitting at your desk improves your mindset, same way you would want your brain to associate your bed with sleep, if you build a strong mental association, simply lying in your bed would help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Each time you do anything other than sleep, like watching TV, browsing social media, or reading emails on your bed you are weakening that association, you are teaching your brain that your bed isn’t just for sleeping.
Try to avoid your bed throughout the day and save that feeling of comfort for later when you are about going to sleep. If you can do this, then whenever you lay on your bed you won’t find it difficult falling asleep.
7) Restless Breaks
Many of us have had problems at one point in time falling asleep at night a situation also known as delayed sleep latency.
Sometimes we lay on our bed for hours begging our brain to fall asleep, we check the clock over and over again, and the more we check the clock the more restless we become, if you find yourself in a similar situation, turning and turning around isn’t gonna help, the best thing to do in a situation like that is to find a relaxing activity to do, if you have a nighttime ritual as we talked about earlier, reengage with that routine, spend 10-15 minutes focusing on other things (things that can make you feel relaxed) other than sleep and make sure you don’t check the clock this time around. Your brain will get tired because you are not stressed about falling asleep.
With all this also make sure you dress your bed properly because that also can prevent you from falling asleep easily.