When you think about prioritizing your life, you probably think of all of your responsibilities. Hopefully, you also think about your health, but most of us forget to include our sleep schedule (or sleep cycle), which helps keep our internal clock in check. Getting enough rest can make or break your attempts to stay on track in other areas of your life, so it’s vital to take care of your sleep health.
If you can’t remember the last time you got a full eight hours of sleep or woke up feeling rested, it might be time to fix your sleep schedule and get in a good routine. But, why is a sleep or bedtime routine important? Is there any benefit to making a consistent sleep schedule? Where do you even start?
Why Is a Sleep Routine Important?
Establishing and maintaining a healthy sleep routine can help your body find a restful rhythm. The routine of going to sleep at night and rising in the morning at regular intervals (AKA your sleep-wake cycle) makes both falling asleep and waking up easier tasks to do.
Setting a schedule for sleep and sticking to it is beneficial to your sleep hygiene in the same way that regular exercise is essential to your physical fitness or brushing your teeth regularly and consistently is essential for oral hygiene.
Making sleep a regular part of your day helps you to prioritize and normalize getting proper sleep. Your sleep habits lead to a rested mind and body, which is a building block to a healthy mind and body. Sleep deprivation can throw a wrench in your plans for being healthy.
Benefits of a Sleep Schedule
A better night’s sleep is a highly motivating reason to establish a sleep schedule, but if you’re interested in the benefits package that comes with prioritizing getting regular sleep, here are a few of the benefits of having an established sleep schedule.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, there are plenty of benefits to getting enough sleep on a regular basis:
- Get sick less frequently
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Decrease some health risks
- Improve your mental wellness (like depression) and reduce stress
- More mental clarity for work and school
- Less irritability
- Clear thinking to avoid accidents and injuries
- Improve sleep disorders
- Fix jet lag
- Set your body’s alarm clock
Conversely, you may want to look at the impact a lack of sleep can have on your body if you’re still not convinced that a sleep schedule can help you. Sometimes the bad we can avoid is more important to us than the good we could do.
Negative Effects of Poor Sleep
Some negative effects of poor sleep, which could simply mean not sleeping enough on a regular basis, are:
- Decreased alertness
- Increased or excessive sleepiness during the day
- Memory impairment
- Messed up body clock
- Increased stress, particularly in relationships
- Decreases in other activities that promote a good quality of life
- Impaired cognitive functions
- Premature skin wrinkling
- Weight gain from an increase in the stress hormone cortisol
- Impaired immunity
- Instability in mental wellness
If thinking about the negative impact of poor sleep quality has you reaching for your pillow, then wait just a minute. The best place to start repairing your sleep schedule is at the beginning. Now, what does that mean?
The Best Place To Start Is at the Beginning
One habit of the famous Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is to “Begin with the end in mind.” Our day and our sleep patterns can benefit from implementing this habit. If you want to end your day with restful sleep, then you should begin your day with things that will help you achieve that goal. This isn’t exactly medical advice for sleeping, but it’s definitely applicable and helpful.
One important morning routine addition is to step outside into the sunlight for a walk or pull back the shade to let light in as you enjoy your breakfast or other activities. This tiny step can signal to our brains that it’s time for the awake cycle of the day. This helps our circadian rhythms get in sync with our day, and when you reach the end and you’re ready to sleep, your circadian rhythms will help your brain signal to the rest of your body that it is time to rest.
You can also cut back on screen time in the daytime, avoid taking naps, and stop pushing the snooze button when your alarm goes off in the morning.
Establishing a Nightly Routine
When you’ve started making the sun a part of your morning routine, it’s important to start focusing on establishing a nightly routine to complement your circadian rhythms and their effort to keep you on track.
One of the first steps to establishing a nightly routine is making sure you’re scheduling enough time to sleep. If you sleep soundly but still don’t get enough hours of sleep regularly, you’re still sleep deprived. For adults, we should aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. We’ve been hearing the median number of eight hours of sleep per night for years, but everyone’s body is a little bit different.
One person can function on just seven hours of sleep and feels groggy with anything more, and the next person may need every second of a nine-hour block of sleep. Listen to your body, and make time for enough sleep to do your body good.
Just remember to schedule time to fall asleep too. If you struggle to fall asleep quickly, it’s beneficial to look into natural supplements that can help you ease into sleep.
After allotting enough time for sleep, try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day. Yes, even on weekends, waking up and going to bed at the same time helps your brain stay on track for keeping you in a rhythm. Your brain’s quoting Downton Abbey when you sleep late just because it’s Saturday, “What’s a weekend?”
Consistency Is Key
Of course, life happens, and things get in the way of our best-laid plans. The key to success as with other habits is consistency. You may not be able to avoid that late flight or celebrating late for a friend’s birthday. You can’t wake up extra early every day just because you get up really early on the day of a race, and you can’t plan for those times your sleep is interrupted by a sick child, spouse, roommate, or pet.
What you can do is go to bed and wake up at relatively the same time every day. When those unforeseen events put a kink in your routine, you’ll fall right back into it with ease when things return to normal because you have a pattern of success on your side.
Remember that part of a good routine is ensuring your success throughout. Set up your sleep space with the right lighting and the right temperature of around 67 degrees. Also, try to find a white noise that you can tolerate to help you avoid any distractions and disturbances as you sleep.
Before you go to bed, make a routine of habits that put you in a relaxed state of mind. For many, ideal habits include a warm bath, a hot cup of relaxing tea, turning off screens a while before bed, and reading a book. Some other options could be a calming yoga routine, meditation, methodical breathing techniques, or jotting down your to-do list for the next day to get it out of your mind. Here are some other tips and tricks:
- Limit caffeine
- Put down all blue light electronic devices (including your pesky cell phone and laptops)
- Take some melatonin supplements
- Limit light exposure
- Use a white noise machine
- Try blackout curtains
- Use a floor fan
- Wear ear plugs
- Wear an eye mask
- Find the best mattresses for comfort
Lastly, as part of your routine, find a stopping point in the day for caffeine and alcohol. Both of these can contribute to sleep disturbances or prevent you from falling asleep quickly at all.
Fixing your sleep schedule may take time and a real examination of your current practices. Consider tweaking your routine overtime to make the best practices stick for you.
Boost Your Efforts
Sometimes, even with our best efforts, our minds and bodies are resistant to the good changes we’re making for ourselves. If you’ve ever argued with yourself to go to the gym or stick to your diet, you know how stubborn we can be in our own self-sabotage.
Thankfully, there are natural supplements you can incorporate into your routine that will help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed. In addition to helping you stick to your attempts at progress, Complete Calm Sleep Gummies offer a reward to your mind and taste buds in the form of a bedtime treat to incentivize you more while helping you naturally drift off to sleep quickly.
Additionally, if you work nights, it may be harder to establish a good routine that’s as natural as rising with the sun and sleeping at night. It’s nice to know that there are options out there that can help give you the restful sleep you need when you can get it while you work hard during the shift the world depends on as it sleeps.
Sleep can and should be a priority when it comes to leading a full and healthy lifestyle. Like with diet and exercise, there are benefits to making sleep a priority and there are drawbacks to neglecting it.
Learning the importance of a sleep routine and establishing a sleep schedule to keep you on track as much as life allows will help you achieve more restful sleep and see the results in your daily life. When you’re doing all you can do to have a good habit of sleeping, remember to seek out help or just boost your efforts with natural supplements like Complete Calm Sleep Gummies.
Meet our Experts
This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Former Olympic Athlete, Founder, B2ten Foundation (coach to multiple Olympic Champions)
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