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If you’re looking for tips for sleep that actually work, you’re not alone. The most important thing you can do for better sleep is regulate sleep wake time consistency. You can’t have mac and cheese without cheese, and you can’t have good sleep without routine. But just how do you regulate it?
Consistency is crucial because your body needs to get in natural and healthy habits to improve your sleep quality and avoid sleep deprivation and oversleeping.
Wake time consistency
You must wake up at or very near to the same time every single day, even on weekends. Use the Eight app to set an alarm for around the same time every day. The timing doesn’t have to be within the minute because waking up during your lightest sleep stage is key to not feeling groggy during the day. The Eight smart alarm wakes you up within a half hour of your alarm, when you’re in your lightest sleep period. After awhile your body will automatically wake up at that time, no alarms necessary. There’s no need to be overly ambitious and set an extra early wake up time that is unrealistic. Set a wake up time that works for you. Waking up and falling asleep at the same time daily can ensure that you get the right amount of sleep needed to remain alert during the day.
There are two automatic processes that affect our sleep: sleep pressure (sleep homeostasis) and circadian rhythm (the body’s natural clock). To improve sleep, we initially need to limit the time we spend in bed. Tossing and turning for hours isn’t helping you fall asleep. We need to allow these processes to impact our sleep schedules, but only to an extent. There’s only a certain amount of sleep needed nightly. In order to avoid oversleeping, track your sleep with a sleep tracker to see how many hours you actually need per night.
Achieving better sleep requires consistency during the day as well. Eating at the same time every day helps to strengthen our bodies’ natural clock. Planning the timing of meals in advance helps you avoid eating meals too close to bedtime, a habit that can make it challenging to sleep.
First, it’s imperative to understand what bedtime actually means. A bedtime is not the time you start winding down; it is the time you are actually in bed by trying to fall asleep. We’re all guilty in getting so caught up in our own lives that we can skimp on sleep. In order to get the proper amount of rest (generally around 7-8 hours for the average adult), set a bedtime reminder for the same time each night. Have an alert go off about an hour before you need to be in bed. This allows you time to settle down without rushing to bed.
A consistent sleep schedule is a healthy sleep schedule. Maintaining proper sleep hygiene takes work, but consistency ultimately leads to even healthier days and nights.