How to fix your sleep pattern

So, let's first decide why you even bother with the question "how to establish a sleep pattern."

Short answer: it will make you feel better. Getting enough sleep is important for our brain function. Surely you have noticed that lack of sleep for a week or even two or three days already has a negative effect: you become less attentive, concentrate worse, think more slowly, become more irritable or, conversely, more sensitive. For example, if I don’t get enough sleep for a long time, then I become very sensitive, if something upsets me, I’m in tears. Why is this happening? Because the nervous system is exhausted by lack of sleep.

And in this state, you work slower and worse, therefore, you become less successful, you realize your potential worse, you earn less money than you could... In the end, you get less pleasure from life, because the resources of the brain leave not for pleasure, but for maintaining your mortal carcass in an upright state.

So what to do?

To begin with, let's define what it is in general, what are the criteria of the regime.

If you have already studied materials on this topic, then you probably came across the opinion that you must go to bed before midnight, get up in the morning, preferably at dawn, and supposedly this is the only way you will be productive. This, of course, is not true. People are different, everyone has their own circadian rhythms, if you drive an owl into such a mode, it is unlikely to be happy, do you agree? Therefore, I propose to define the regime according to this criterion: you go to bed at about the same time, get enough sleep every day, fall asleep and wake up without problems, and because of all this you feel good. Sound cool? Cool! So let's figure out how to achieve this.

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Radical method

If your regimen has not just slipped a bit (you go to bed at 2-3 a.m., get up closer to dinner), but completely turned over (you go to bed in the morning or afternoon, get up in the evening or at night) - my friend, let me shake your labor paw, because I was in this boat, and what a nightmare, holy Jesus. I really sympathize with you. And I'll tell you how I got out of this situation.

I didn't sleep for a day. Yeah, like this, I didn’t go to bed, I waited for the evening, and only then went to bed, at the time I wanted. Now I live according to the regime of a completely standard owl: I go to bed at about three in the morning, I get up at twelve - at one. How to get through these days?

  • More light. Do not allow yourself to remain in darkness and silence, otherwise you will be starved. It is better if it is daylight, it “wakes up” our brain at the hormonal level, but bright electric light will also do.
  • Eat. Don't let yourself feel hungry. Most likely, you will be hungry a lot, because the brain lacks the energy that it usually receives through sleep, and it will try to fill it with food. It is better to eat hot and hearty food, but not too heavy - you probably noticed how after a heavy meal you are drawn to sleep. Hot soups are ideal, but not hearty, heavy steak, save it for tomorrow.
  • Force yourself to do something. Boredom, sticking to social networks or movies is a bad idea, from such a state the brain very easily slips into drowsiness. Clean your room, listen to loud, energetic music, go outside and take a walk, change the scenery, whatever.
  • Energy. Coffee, strong and sweet tea, Coca-Cola or other carbonated drinks: they are cold (refreshing) and sweet (invigorating), this is such a mental kick in your brain so that it stays on and does not fall asleep.
  • If it hurts - rub your palms until it tingles, stretch your fingers, do a little warm-up (not training until you drop for a whole hour, but a warm-up, joint gymnastics, for example), rub your ears, wash your face with cold water - face, neck, hands, Feet.
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Your task is to hold out until the evening, and then you will be safely knocked out, don't go to the fortuneteller here. This is the most radical way to solve the problem. You need to use it with caution and certainly not make it a habit, because this is a big test for the body. Ever heard of sleep deprivation torture? Yeah, you organize it for yourself, one might say, for medicinal purposes.

Another radical method: go camping. There, your body will quickly reorient itself to the change of day and night, since it will have no other reference points than this.

In ordinary life, we are confused by the presence of artificial lighting, gadgets (if you were already interested in the topic “how to establish a sleep pattern”, you probably heard that gadgets emit blue light, which interferes with the production of melatonin, so that we spend more time with gadgets time), external stimuli, lack of physical activity.

A week's trip removes all this and organizes ideal conditions for the restoration of the regime. Simply put, you will plow like an ox, breathe in fresh air, and you will be safely knocked out as soon as you crawl into a sleeping bag.

And if you google “how to establish a sleep pattern” when it has just slipped a little, and has not completely turned over, softer methods will suit you.

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How to improve sleep patterns - softer and more pleasant methods

Perhaps most importantly: you will have to accustom yourself go to bed at the same time. When the sleep pattern is healthy, it happens by itself, you just feel like going to bed at a certain time. When the regime is brought down, it has to be done by an effort of will.

The time you want to go to bed is up to you to choose. Based on your circadian rhythms, how many hours of sleep you need to feel good (typically a person needs at least six hours, but there are guys who need a full ten hours of sleep, and if they sleep only seven, they will feel bad) and needs for life.

Well, for example, if you broke the quarantine regime, and now you need to return to the office and get up every day at seven in the morning, it’s logical that you’d better go to bed at eleven o’clock, and not at three in the morning. But if there is no such need, and you are an owl, you don’t need to torture yourself with trying to go to bed at nine, why? Go to bed at midnight, at the hour that suits you, and everything will be fine.

Set yourself a reminder on your phone or computer (depending on where you spend more time) so that you will be signaled: it's time to go to bed. In order to experience at least some drowsiness by this (unusual for you) time, try to get up early on this day and spend it more actively than usual, so that fatigue accumulates in the evening.

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early - sleep often does not go, the body is not used to sleeping at such a time, so the production of the necessary hormones has to be increased artificially. So, here's what you need to do:

1. During the day, try to be outdoors more often. Ideal if you can go out of town. Fresh air saturates the brain with oxygen, forcing it to work more actively, respectively, you get more tired (especially if fresh air is unusual for you: the brain gets tired of processing so much oxygen out of habit).

2. More physical activity. Go for a walk, go to a workout (here's a hard workout to get you exhausted), or at least do some exercise throughout the day. If you sit at the computer all day (I don’t blame you, I’m like that myself), then, of course, you won’t fall asleep at night.

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3. You can eat at night. Going to bed on an empty stomach is a bad idea, do not listen to those who tell you so, eat a pie... Just kidding, you don’t need a pie. But a light snack to kill the feeling of hunger is quite possible. Oatmeal, banana, honey, buckwheat, carrots or nuts, chicken or turkey are ideal. These foods contain substances that calm the nervous system and are not difficult to digest.

4. Start some kind of ritual that will give your brain a “time to sleep” signal.

If you just rearrange the regime and go to bed early, then the ritual may include all sorts of calming actions, for example:

  • Read a book, namely a printed one. This frees the brain from the blue light that gadgets emit and makes you spend half an hour in peace, focusing on some calm action, and this calms the nervous system, evens out breathing and slows down the heartbeat - that is, it prepares the nervous system for sleep.
  • Walk slowly for half an hour. This will oxygenate the brain.
  • Take either a cool shower or a warm but not hot bath. A cool shower will organize a contrast of temperatures for you: from the coolness you will fall under the covers, and your body will suddenly become warm, and this will relax it. A warm bath simply relaxes the muscles, warms and soothes. You can add some essential oils to the water, for example, lavender, lemon balm, mint - this also has a calming effect on the brain.
  • Slowly prepare and drink hot milk with honey or herbal tea slowly.
  • Meditate (simply sit, breathing slowly and focusing on the breath).

In the future, the ritual before going to bed may not be so long, I understand that there may not be desire and time for all this. The main thing is to have repetitive activities before bed that you will perform every day. For example, I have this: give food to the cat so that it does not wake me up at night, open the balcony to ventilate the room, turn on the fan so that there is white noise, turn off the light, lie down, put on an eye patch for complete darkness. Literally five minutes - and I fall asleep instantly.

Kristina Petrick, Unsplash

5. Practice good sleep hygiene. Nothing complicated:

  • The room needs to be ventilated. Ideally, if it is a little cool in it, but if this is not possible, it’s not scary, there is enough ventilation, it is important that the room is not stuffy.
  • Darkness. Thick curtains or a blindfold will help here.
  • Remove gadgets from the bed. When you have insomnia, and your brain toils with idleness and the inability to fall asleep, the first desire is to check the gadget, supposedly just to see the time (yeah, of course).
  • Silence. If you don't like silence, white noise. You can turn it on on your phone or computer, you can turn on the fan, this is also white noise.

6. It's ideal to put your gadgets away an hour before bed, but I understand that this is almost impossible. Therefore, you can put a blue filter or "night mode". Now most gadgets have it by default (look in the settings), or you can download the application. I have it set so that it turns on three hours before bedtime. And yes, it helps a lot, it immediately and drastically improved my sleep.

Kristina Petrick, Unsplash

7. Avoid coffee and alcohol in the afternoon. It is better not to drink alcohol at all.

8. Do not sleep during the day. If unbearable, then a maximum of fifteen minutes - this will refresh your thoughts a little, but it will not be the case that in the evening, when you need to sleep, you are cheerful and rested and ready to conquer Everest.

9. Bed - for sleep and sex. No need to read in bed, climb on the phone, and even more so, no need to work or watch movies in bed.

This confuses your brain, and it does not understand: who is the bed? (who?) Is this where we sleep? Where do we work? It is not clear if we knew what it is, but we do not know what it is. In the end, you won’t work properly out of bed, because you sleep here, and you won’t be able to sleep because you work or play here.

10. How to fall asleep when you have already done all this and went to bed?

You need to focus your attention on some internal processes: either on breathing or on muscle relaxation.

For example, you can slowly relax your body at will from your face to your toes, focusing on the sensation of limp muscles.

Either focus on breathing, for example, count to the count: count to four - take a breath - hold your breath, count to seven - exhale to the count of eight. Such exercises slow down breathing and heart rate, body temperature drops, and the brain knows that it's time to sleep.

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11. If you can't sleep, don't worry. The longer you stay in bed when you can't sleep, the hotter you get, the less comfortable you are, the more you get irritated with your body, and this does not contribute to falling asleep. Get up, wander for ten minutes, go into another room, open the window and breathe, read. The main thing is not to get stuck for a couple of hours. When you feel that you seem to be feeling better, it seems to be pulling you a little to sleep, go back to bed.

12. After sleep, you do not need to lie in bed for a long time. It’s better to get up right away, move a little (literally just wave your arms and legs, make a couple of inclinations, stretch), go to the window, look at the sun and say to yourself: I figured out how to set up a sleep schedule!

Joke. Just like that, you will cheer up faster, start the day faster, and in the evening you will fall asleep easier and earlier. It's hard to fall asleep like a baby if you've been lying in bed all day watching Inside Lapenko.

Good luck to you in this difficult task and light and peaceful dreams!