It’s hard and troubling; no matter what and how much you try to change to a new sleeping schedule it just doesn’t work ! In fact i have been through such situation making commitments, setting alarms and attempting to sleep the whole time but it ends up in failure. While we try to push our body to new night shift or switching back to normal daytime; it just resists any change that we try to make. Sleep is one such thing where you can apply simple physics; anything that is at rest wants to remain at rest while the one in motion like to remain in motion.
The problem with sleep is that whenever we try to change or shift its time it gives us hangover. Have you feel the tiredness and urge to sleep all day; when you some how fixed your sleep schedule for a day ? No matter what we do; trying to sleep on time or spend the whole night and day awake in hope of switching back to the normal. It just does not work that way ! After all who wants to be a night owl and wake up when the whole worlds sleep.
My struggle with my sleep pattern in the recent past; have made me aware to what it takes to change my sleep pattern successfully. With experience i have found that; it takes three complete days to successfully switch to a new sleep schedule or time. While for my brother who too struggles to stick to a fixed sleep cycle; it takes him three to four days to finally come to normal. All it takes is three simple steps of changing, resisting and adjusting to meet the expected goal.
How we lose our natural sleep pattern ?
It all starts with stress of completing a project, Preparing for exam, playing computer game for fun and night out in college. Before high school and college literally everyone is naturally programed to sleep at the right time in night. But we being ourselves try to push the limits to enjoy more space out in alone or with someone special. Gradually over time it gets to our habit and we start to sleep later and later in the night.
By the time we graduate; we had a disorganized life style with which we enter into the job market. While for some having a regular job set up a sense of discipline; for others it only brings more stress and struggle to secure time for yourself. Thus most of the times it makes things even more worse than what it fix. If you get stuck in 8 to 8 job; chances are you too struggle to secure time for a good sleep.
With deadlines to meet and projects to complete we all sacrifice our own need for quality sleep and time to relax. With the introduction of YouTube and other social marketing tools it just become a recipe for sleep pattern degradation. Finally you finds things falling apart and want to bring in a change; that’s when you stumble upon great article such as this to make a difference.
How Bad it is To Have an Irregular Sleep Schedule
Having an irregular and short sleep schedule have a detrimental impact on our health and well being. You not only loose on your total mental strength but also lacks in essential vitamins such as vitamin D due to lack of sun exposure. Sleep deprivation and improper sleep timing have an negative impact on our internal hormonal levels. You will lack in confidence, attention, connection and sex hormones which will result in mood swings and change in periods cycle.
While bad sleep pattern has long been known as one of the cause for; heart attacks, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, reduced immunity, infertility and depression. But what i have found over my years of experience is that; it makes you lazy, obese, less productive, stressful, loss of hairs ( hair-fall ), premature whitening of hairs and a hard time remembering things with lack of interest in general.
If remained unchecked; it not only makes you ill but also change the way we react to a situation or a person, our mood and behavior. Soon you will feel cut off from the society and feel far more depressed and alone taking all the burden. You might also think to quit the job and do something else but once set on a wrong path; its hard to fix your sleep schedule and return to normal. So don’t wait for long when its too late to respond and start making a better change to your lifestyle.
Return To Your Natural Sleep Schedule
While its hard for all to get back to their natural sleep schedule its even harder to stick with it for long. So its necessary to understand you does not need to focus on sticking with your time table but to just how to fix it when needed. With that in mind you don’t have to worry about the change you have to made in your sleep time; just to complete an urgent project or work. A journey towards a better sleep and a better life starts with a simple decision to change.
One can return back to his / her natural sleep schedule or desired sleep time by using two simple methods; forward body clock fixation and backward body clock fixation. The forward body clock fixation is a process in which we get to a desired sleep schedule; by pushing our sleep time ahead and ahead till we reach to the set goal. For example if you are sleeping at 6’O clock in morning and want to change it to 11’O clock night; you will start by sleeping at 8 and then 10 and 12 noon and so on.
Similarly a backward body clock fixation is the process when we try to sleep earlier each day to meet to our deadlines. For many its the way ahead for some like me its much more harder then the other one. Find the method that best suits your goal and is easy to do. Irrespective of the methods you choose one needs to go through three major steps; changing, resisting and adjusting; to do the job.
1 ) Changing
The first step to change is to find the closest and suitable approach in form of; either forward body clock fixation or backward body clock fixation. Not everyone can get the same rate of success from both the process; some find the one better and easier to do than the other. So it is important that you find your comfortable spot and stick to the process once picked. The common mistake people do while fixing their body clock is to do it in one shot.
I too had tried to change in one go in the past but fail to either achieve my set goal or stick to it. What i find over time is that; the more time you give to yourself, the better and easier its for you to change and adapt to the new sleep schedule. Set achievable goals which push your body to change while giving it room to do it at its own pace. This helps reduce the tendency of our body to resist big change.
Any change from an hour to four is really healthy and achievable. All you have to do is to resist the notion of your body to sleep at his old time; forcing it to slowly but gradually move to a new time schedule. In order to further assist in the process; make sure you only get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day. This helps avoid the tendency of our body to demand more or less sleep affecting our growth process.
2 ) Resisting
The moment you start to shift your sleep schedule you will face with a delima of having multiple sleep cycle condition. I also termed this as a multiple sleep time disorder; in which you will feel the urge to sleep on all of your previous time of sleep. If you don’t breakup your goal in small simple steps it become hard to resist this feeling. No matter what path you take; you need to keep resisting until your body become habitual with your new sleep schedule.
The best way to resist the feeling to sleep at your old schedule is to get involved in things that you love. Look for things that you enjoy or find easy to pass time. Listen to music, watch youtube, go out for walk, watch T.V etc. Actually do anything that helps you keep awake for that brief period of two hours during your earlier sleep schedule; when you most feel the urge to sleep. The average time one need to resist till it your sleep clock set to your new schedule is 1 to 4 days.
3 ) Adaption
Once you meet your expected sleep schedule its time to adapt to that timing. What i mean is that; you need to work out on your priorities and have to go to bed on the right time. Never use mobiles or computer while in bed as they hamper our sleep cycle and can destroy all the hard work you have done over the few days. Be flexible enough to your sleep schedule to make few adjustments here and there; but stiff enough to not let things fall part and go out of control.
Don’t let anybody even your friends, family and yourself change your perfect sleep pattern once done; without any solid reasons or ground. If you take it too easy and casual i am sorry to say but you have to start all over again. Go setup a routine at least for the time you sleep and want to wake up; set alarms and just try your best to stick to it. I said try because i know there will be time when you have to make some compromise and take necessary steps to latter fix the issue.
Expected Time-line To Change Sleep Schedule
When you first laid down the seed; it takes time to grow into a beautiful plant. Similarly it takes time to change ones sleep schedule. Since the process consist of three main steps; change, resist and adapt it takes at least three days to get used to new sleep pattern. But its hard to achieve such result so fast and so you can break break the steps into further small steps and you will get things done in five to seven days.
Changing sleep schedule is easy; You can always change your sleep schedule in just one day but resisting old one and adapting to the new is hard and it always takes time. No matter how desperately you want me to tell some secret to skip the heavy lifting but you have to do the hard work to make your transformation a success.