How Do I Get My Sleep Schedule Back to Normal?

It seemed so innocent.  It’s vacation – why not stay up a little later and then sleep in?  But then somehow an hour later turned into going to bed at 4 a.m. and now your “morning” is now technically afternoon.  But Monday you have to go back to work or school.  Uh oh.  Sound familiar?

Feeling exhausted?

Feeling exhausted?

4 Ways to Reset Your Vacation Sleep Cycle

1. Let the Light In.  Your body’s circadian rhythm tells you when to sleep and wake up and

is influenced by various factors, the biggest being light.  According to WebMD (How to Get Your Sleep Schedule Back in sync), combat this by opening your curtains and letting the natural sunlight in when you wake up.  If it’s still dark outside, turn on the lights.

Sunlight. (Photo credit: rishibando)

2. The Dark Side of Blue Lights.  We take it for granted that when the sun goes down we can still continue our pursuits due to lighting.  But a recent Harvard study reports too much light, especially blue light from electronics, not only keep us up, but may be harmful to our health.  Exposure to light suppresses melatonin, a hormone that impacts your circadian rhythm, blue light does this even more.  In the study, one subject group was exposed to 6.5 hours of green light, the other to blue light.  Those exposed to blue light had melatonin levels suppressed twice as much as the green light group and their sleep schedule shifted by 3 hours!  The researchers suggest you stop using electronics 3 hours before bedtime.  (Source:  Blue Light Has a Dark Side – Harvard Health).

Limit electronics

Limit electronics

3.  Cut the Coffee.  Coffee, soda and chocolate has caffeine in it, a stimulant that can keep you up later than you like.  If you are feeling tired in the afternoon go for water instead of coffee; it will help you sleep better.

Skip the coffee

Skip the coffee

4.  Exercise.  The results of the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep in America Poll found that even light exercise helped people sleep better.  According to the poll of 1,000 adults, “Vigorous, moderate and light*exercisers are significantly more likely to say “I had a good night’s sleep” every night or almost every night on work nights than non-exercisers (67%-56% vs. 39%). Also, more than three-fourths of exercisers (76%-83%) say their sleep quality was very good or fairly good in the past two weeks, compared to slightly more than one-half of non-exercisers (56%).”   (Source: 2013 Sleep in America Poll).  So get walking!

Glad you had a good vacation.  Now you can get your sleep schedule back on track.

Lisa ;) (c) 2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

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