As school gets going again, one of the adjustments that most of us need to make is going to bed earlier. It is natural for us not to need as much sleep in the summer, and we enjoy those the extra hours of daylight. However, the start of the school year is a good signal to remind us that the days are getting shorter, and we should start going to bed a little earlier. If we make this shift gradually, just as the daylight hours shift gradually, then it’s a lot easier to stay on track.
I’m Not Tired Yet
It’s easy to go to bed when you’re tired. However, what if you’re not tired? I hear this from my kids when the sun is shining and I want them to fall asleep. There are a few things we can look at here. The first being, what time are you getting up in the morning? If you have been staying up late at night and sleeping in each morning, then you need to be shifting both the time you go to sleep time and the time you wake.
If you have time to gradually adjust, then start with moving your bed and wake time by 15 minutes. If you have suddenly had to wake up earlier due to school starting, then this will be a quicker transition for you.
Create an Evening Wind-down Routine
It’s hard to fall asleep when you’ve had a busy day and you don’t allow time to decompress and prepare for sleep. Just like it’s hard to go from a physical workout to sleep, it’s the same with your mind. If you’ve been busy working, had an emotional day, or just had a lot on your plate that day, then it’s going to be hard to fall asleep right away. A mellow evening routine can help you digest a lot of thoughts and emotions, as well as physically wind-down. Your evening routine can vary, depending on what works best for you. Experiment for yourself, but here are a few ideas. You can go for a walk after dinner and watch the sunset, you can take a bath, make time for meditation, prayer, or just enjoy some quiet time. Design your evening routine to be something special that you look forward to enjoying. Set a time, or timer, to unplug and turn off electronics. Try this for most nights, and then those once-a-week movie nights with your spouse will be that much more special. Plus, if you are well-rested, then it will be easier to recover from that one late night.
Rise and Shine in the Morning
Help keep your earlier bedtime by maintaining a regular morning routine. Even on the weekends, try not to shift your wake and sleep times by more than one hour. Keeping consistency on the weekends will make Mondays easier. Your body likes consistency. Again, establish a morning routine that is special to you. Maybe you watch the sunrise with your favorite morning drink while writing in a journal, maybe you go on a walk, maybe you love to do yoga or exercise before the day gets going? Whatever you choose, make it simple.
Sleep is a vital aspect to our health. Consistent sleep adds up over time to give you more resiliency in our body and mind. We have less brain fog and make smarter decisions when well-rested. There are so many benefits to sleep. Start with a simple shift in your bedtime and gradually build to your optimal routine.
Need accountability and someone to help you with your routine? I am here to help. In my Healthy Connections course, we connect all the dots of diet, exercise, sleep, meditation, and what is best for your body type. Book your free consultation today. Don’t put off your personal wellness any longer.