Each of us has an existing set of habits around sleep that we may have never consciously created, but those habits still exist. Becoming aware of those habits is crucial to understanding how your sleep situation works, and then figuring out how to make changes so that your sleep improves.
Do you go to bed at the same time, seven days a week? Most people struggling with poor sleep will answer no to this question.
Your body has what is commonly referred to as a “biological clock.” Your brain does a remarkable job of regulating its awareness of how time passes each day. It changes your body chemistry throughout the day to make you feel more sleepy or more alert, creating an ebb and flow of productivity and restfulness.
Here’s the catch: your brain can only regulate one biological clock.
Research indicates that you can vary your bedtime by about 30 minutes each day with no detrimental effect on your biological clock. It will keep running smoothly. You can even have on time per week where you vary your bedtime by more than an hour, and your biological clock will still remain functional, but vary bedtime more than once a week by more than an hour, and you confuse your biological clock.
What’s the most common way that people create this problem for themselves? They have one bedtime Sunday through Thursday, and another bedtime Friday through Saturday. During the work week, we’re responsible, but on the weekend we like to “live a little.” The result is a biological clock that’s running off, and our sleep suffers.
Challenge: for one week, go to bed at the same time each night.