Sleep problems are all too common in modern times. With competing demands on your time from work and/or school as well as home, you may find yourself cutting corners when it comes to getting proper rest, and then trying to make up for it on the weekend. Unfortunately, that strategy is not a good one in the long run. There’s a reason why a regular sleep schedule is important for achieving and then maintaining the habit of getting proper rest, and it has to do with how our bodies regulate wakefulness and sleep.

Our bodies are governed by circadian rhythms, which are keyed to the natural length of a 24-hour day. Think of it like an internal clock that controls important processes in the body, such as core body temperature, metabolism, hormone levels, and sleep and wakefulness. This internal clock responds to light, and is influenced by the patterns of light and darkness in the environment (which is why it can be so hard to drag yourself out of bed on a winter morning when the sun hasn’t even come up yet). However, it doesn’t change on a dime—think of how disoriented you feel if you have to travel across several time zones, putting you completely out of sync with the local time. Varying your wake-up and bedtimes every day can have a similar effect in terms of working at odds with your circadian rhythm.

This circadian rhythm is most effective when our sleep schedule is consistent. Although the goal is to achieve quality sleep, the best way to work with your circadian rhythm is to focus on the other end—when you get up. After all, if you’ve ever tried to force yourself to sleep when your body just won’t cooperate, you know that doesn’t work. To get started, choose a time that will work for both morning and weekend days. This time will likely be different than what might be necessary for someone else, and that’s just fine. Set yourself an alarm, and avoid the temptation to hit the snooze button. When you get out of bed, exposure to bright light (preferably sunlight) for 15 to 30 minutes will help boost wakefulness and get you perked up for the day ahead.

If your sleep patterns have been inconsistent, it may take some time for your body’s systems to settle down into a regular routine. However, sticking with waking up at the same time every day will improve your sleep. That’s because the processes that prepare your body for rest, such as a drop in core body temperature and an increase of melatonin, will also start happening at consistent times, making it easier for you to drop off to sleep at a regular bedtime. When you’ve mastered the art of getting up consistently and getting enough sleep at night, you may find that you don’t need an alarm clock at all!

At IDLE Sleep, we take rest seriously. Our line of luxury mattresses is designed for superior comfort and support and engineered to last. No matter what kind of sleeper you are, we have a style and firmness that will work for you. If you’re in search of a great night’s sleep, click here to find your perfect IDLE Sleep mattress.

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