How To Change Your Sleep Cycle For A More Productive Day
Today is the day. You are pitching your project to the CEO of the company. Your notes and presentation are ready. But you feel sleepy and groggy thanks to your baby crying all night. Or maybe you have travelled abroad for a business meeting and due to jet lag you are devoid of any energy. Or due to a late night shift you are failing to perform the tasks assigned to you at your brother’s wedding. This happens due to lack of sleep.
Like your body, your mind needs to get the adequate amount of rest to function optimally. Thus you need your required quota of sleep each night. The biologocial clock inside us, also known as the Circadian clock, helps us maintain the sleep cycle. Basically it makes us sleepy at night and helps us get up refreshed in the morning.
Anything that messes up with this clock causes disruptions in your sleep cycle. And you find it hard to sleep properly. Certain situations are unavoidable, but to keep staying productive you need to reset your sleep cycle. Here are a few tips to help you do exactly that.
1. Lead A Routine Life
In today’s world of hectic lifestyle, firstly we do not get much time to sleep. When we do, we spend our spare time on social media sites or whiling our time away in front of the TV in order to unwind. We have no set time to go to bed or wake up early. Thus our body does not know when to trigger sleep. Thus we find it hard to fall asleep and do not get ample rest to keep us fresh and productive.
We get though day to day and through the week by sheer willpower waiting for the weekend to catch up on the oh so required ZZZs. And when the weekend finally does arrive, we tend to catch up on our social scene and again remain sleep starved.
It is important to have a routine. Go to bed and wake up in the morning at a specific time each day. Maintaining a routine helps your body set your biological clock and helps in getting enough sleep. Initially you might find it hard to fall asleep at the pre-determined hour. Help yourself by soothing your nerves by listening to some calming music or taking a warm bath. These tricks help you relax and help you fall asleep faster. Avoid watching TV or fiddling with your mobile for at least half an hour before you hit the sack. Read a book instead (not an action adventure, suspense thriller, unputdownable type).
2. Watch How Many Cups Of Coffee You Have
Coffee has caffeine that stimulates your nerves. Thus a cup always helps in the morning and during the gruelling office hours. But if you grab a cup after you get back home, it is sure to keep you activated and you will find it difficult to unwind and relax and go to sleep. Make it a practice to avoid any beverage with caffeine after sundown. You will see your sleep cycle regularized in no time.
3. Greet The Day With Sunshine
Open the window shades, turn on the lights in the dark corners of the room or just stand in the open balcony for a while sipping on your morning orange juice, tea or coffee. The human body is stimulated by light. Brightness in the morning tells your inner biological clock that it is time for you to get active.
4. Keep Your Bedroom Dark
Use dim lights in the evening. As brightness stimulates your body, darkness gives your body the trigger that it is time for you to shut down. Avoid all devices that emanate blue light which keeps your brain alert. You need to relax in order to sleep.
Everyone (who is worth listening to) will advise you to exercise regularly to have a healthy and productive life. It not only helps you to get rid of the fatty abs and tone up but it also does wonders for your sleep cycle. Most of us prefer rigorous, sweaty cardios to stay in shape but these also help you feel invigorated and pumped up. So avoid doing these in the evening so that it cannot disrupt your sleep. Instead do few stretching exercises before bedtime to relax and calm you. Meditation is another wonderful way to go.
6. Take Short Naps
From time to time, short naps maybe required to rejuvenate you for the rest of the day. It does not count as proper sleep as you do not sleep as deeply as you do at night and thus you do not feel groggy after that. But if you nap for too long, your body counts that as your main sleep time and then it becomes hard for you to get the adequate sleep at night. So limit your naps to a maximum of 20 minutes to get that additional boost in energy level.
7. Be Mindful of What You Eat and When You Are Eating It
Your biological clock is not only about your sleep, your whole body and all its organs follow this clock. So make sure of what you eat before bed. Too heavy a meal would throw your digestive system into frenzy and your body will find it difficult to relax and get some deep sleep. So avoid high calorie late night meals and go for light dinner or supper instead. This will also help you in losing those extra kilos as your body tends to store fat during sleep.
8. Adjust to Your New Time Zone
A wonderful way to avoid jet lag is getting accustomed to the new time zone ahead of the journey. Try sleeping at a time closer to the sleeping time of your destination for a week before travelling. This gives your body time to adjust to the new hours that you will be required to keep in the new country.
9. Stick to One Shift
If your organization requires you to be working overnight, make sure that you stick to that shift only. As explained earlier, a routine life is crucial to set your biological clock. If you are responsible for the graveyard shift at work, you can always catch up on your sleep during the daytime by drawing all the blinds. This way your sleep cycle will be set to sleeping in the daytime and working at night. But if you keep juggling between shifts continuously, your body does not get accustomed to a single set point and thus you do not get a set sleep cycle. Sometimes it becomes unavoidable to do non-routine shifts but do not make a habit out of it.
10. Reach for the Right Sleep Aid
With sleeping disorders being very common nowadays, you will find plenty of doctors who will prescribe them to you. It may be OK to use them in situations where you have no other options but in the long run they cause havoc on your body and your natural sleep cycle as the process in which they make you sleep is not the natural way. Opt for melatonin supplements instead. These help to set your biological clock back on track as melatonin is produced by the body naturally and it is the hormone that triggers sleep.
It is crucial to get some rest in order to function well. So just relax, get a shut eye and dream on.
“Sleep is the best meditation” – Dalai Lama