E plans, time off of work, having the kids home from school or a host of other reasons. All are excuses for being a little sluggish out of the gate but as you already know, the world waits for no one and your life will suffer if you don’t pull yourself out of that tailspin. Fast.
I’m a “rip the Band-Aid off” kind of guy and I know of no better way to reset your sleep schedule. In life, there are two ways to do things; the Easy way and the Right way. I know it’s no fun coming back down to Earth but consider me your wake-up call (pun absolutely intended). This plan might require a little bit of introspection but I promise that you will be better off in the long haul.
1) Treat yourself like a 5 year old.
First off, you must make a deliberate plan to return to normal as fast as possible. Without a target to aim at how will you know if you hit the mark? Establish your nightly sleep target (7 hours? 8?) and then reverse engineer your timeline from when you have to be awake, functioning and alert. If you are the type that hits the snooze for an hour, you don’t get to include that in your sleep timeline because while you are not fully awake, you are not fully asleep either. For example, if my target is 8 hours and I need to be “up” i.e. in the shower at 6am, I’m going to bed at 10pm. If I hit my snooze from 5:01 to 6:00am, I need to go to sleep at 9pm the previous night to achieve my goal. Long story short, bedtimes aren’t just for 5 year olds anymore.
2) Turn off your phone.
Full disclosure, I love playing on my phone when I lay down at night but studies have suggested it not only negatively impacts your brain waves patterns during rapid eye movement (REM), the presence of your phone can also inhibit other intimate aspects of your life(1). All brain patterns and sex life talk aside, the phone serves as a distraction in the bedroom plain and simple.
“But Dr. Zach, my alarm is on my phone!”...Not good enough. Break open that piggy bank, dig out $9.82 and start to claim back your sanctuary (2).
3) Move your body during the day!
This may seem simple but our country’s collective waistline may prove otherwise. The right kind of movement burns calories, lubricates our joints, tires us out and provides us with restful sleep at night. Believe it or not, even the most innocuous of activities can help add to our bottom line not only when it comes to restful sleep but also to increased energy during the day (3,4). Odds are one of your resolutions was to become healthier (81% of all resolutions made) and now you have extra incentive that you didn’t even know existed.
I know from personal experience how destructive having an aberrant sleep pattern can be and I never want anyone to live with the types of limitations that accompanied me for years until I found my solution. If a patient is not getting restful sleep, it will affect most every aspect of her/his life including the effectiveness of the care they receive in my office. If you have any further questions regarding sleep patterns ranging from a full list of tips to a referral to our preferred health partner sleep study institute, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a blessed 2015!
Dr. Zach and the Foundation Chiropractic team.
1 : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/03/no-phone-in-bed_n_6022284.html