This post isn’t really for you. No offense. It’s actually for me. If you know me at all, you know that I’m a night owl. I joke that I work the 3rd shift because I get really creative around 10pm and can work non-stop (I’m talking quality work) until 4:30am no problem. Since I own my own business, I can then sleep for as long as I want. I usually get 7-9 hours daily even if it’s while the rest of the world is being productive. I do believe that my body has grown accustom to this type of schedule but I don’t think it’s best for me.
Benefits of a health sleep schedule
These are just my personal beliefs but I wanted to share with you why I want to re-sync my sleep schedule.
- A healthy marriage. I don’t think it’s best when my husband wants to go to bed before midnight and I convince him to stay up with me. Or when he does go to bed, I join him hours later.
- A normal social life. When I get productive, most people are hanging out. They’ve allotted a normal work schedule and after 5-6pm is a normal social time.
- Quality of sleep. There are many studies that show sleep is better before midnight.
- More DAY. When you sleep in super late and work into the night – you don’t really see much daylight (especially in the winter).
- A healthy and normal circadian rhythm helps prevent a sleep deficiency. Things like poor brain function and a weaker immune system are common consequences.
Admitting The Problem
In order to accommodate a new sleep schedule, you have to realize that your schedule might shift. Maybe you’re like me and your self-employment has given you a little too much freedom. Maybe you’re a parent (enforcing your child’s bedtime but not your own) wanting some late night alone time. Maybe you work 3rd shift so you don’t really have a choice. For me, it’s really an emotional issue. The idea of going to bed at 10am is completely unappealing to me. I actually would get defensive if someone told me that I needed to do it in order to be healthy.
While I might never embrace a 10pm bedtime, I do think it’s best that I start aiming at health sleep habits. Here’s what I’m going to do. I hope it helps you too!
I believe that our bodies are affected by everything we do. What we eat, how we move and how we spend our time. It all adds up. There are things that I need to do day-t0-day to work towards this sleeping shift in my life. Some of those things include:
- Consistent exercise: I tend to get on a good schedule and then something like travel or sickness totally kicks me off the bandwagon.
- Less screen time: I need to stop staring at a screen for hours and then expect to go to sleep. My brain thinks it’s day light!
- Less grain and sugar: I quit sugar/grains last fall and since then I’ve been worse about those two things creeping into my diet. Blood sugar spikes and crashes are bad. And grains cause stress in our bodies. I recently bought Against All Grain (cookbook) and am excited to start cooking things that will help this cause.
With some of those core issues addressed, there are also a few things that I plan to do (and things I already do!) to help with this sleep issue:
- Keep as much light out as possible. While it’s great to wake up to natural light, it can also disrupt your sleep schedule too.
- Take a hot shower, bath or use the sauna before you go to sleep. It causes your body temperature to rise and then cool (bringing on more quality sleep).
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom COOL. Like, under 65-70 degrees. Bundle up if you have to!
- Keep calm. Read a book that won’t get your heart racing, drink herbal tea or meditate/pray.
- Create an actual routine. Wash your face, put on your pajamas and pick up around the house/your room.
- Avoid sugar, alcohol and caffeine before bed! But feel free to eat a high-protein snack a few hours before.
- Use magnesium oil! This is new to me so I’m going to reference this article.
- Take a melatonin supplement if you still aren’t getting into the groove. It’s a natural way to reset your system. I take it when I travel into different timezones!
I hope to report back in a few months that my sleeping schedule is a little more under control. It’s not going to be easy but I know it will be for the best. What has helped you shift into different sleeping schedules?