Whether you’ve been up all night with the flu or barely dozing in your seat on the red-eye, there are unavoidable situations where even the most disciplined sleep schedule gets turned upside down. When you’re exhausted from a restless night, it’s nearly impossible to resist the urge to sleep all day. However, this reversed routine can quickly become a vicious cycle. Sleep all day, up all night, sleep all day…you get the idea.
So, if you’ve been (or might soon be) perpetuating a sleep schedule that’s a bit backward, here are our 5 best tips to return to sleeping at night:
- Stay awake! We know this is the most difficult advice to follow, but it’s the most vital. When you’re exhausted from being up all night but you need to get back to sleeping normally, you, unfortunately, need to keep yourself from dozing off. In the best case scenario, you would remain awake during the daytime hours and begin sleeping again when you normally would. But, if that isn’t possible for you, do your best to stay up for as long as possible. If you must take a nap, set an alarm and make it brief.
- Stagger your sleep schedule. If your ‘brief nap’ turns into another full-blown day-sleeping-session, begin staggering your sleep schedule. For example, if you’ve recently become accustomed to going to bed around 5 am, try sleeping at 3 am the next night, then 1 am the next night, until you’re back on schedule.
- Make the most of the circadian rhythms. Because our bodies naturally rise with the sun and prepare for sleep during the nighttime hours, we can manipulate our light conditions to evoke sleep. When it is time to sleep, create a sleep-friendly environment by blocking all night from entering the room. Even the light from an electronic alarm clock can interfere with our ability to fall and stay asleep. On the contrary, during the day you can stay awake by keeping the bright light of the day streaming in the windows. If bright sunlight isn’t available to you, turn on as many lights as you can, and be sure to get outside for, at least, a few minutes in the afternoon when the sun is at its brightest.
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. To be sure that you have fully reset your internal clock, go to sleep at the exact same time each day and wake up with an alarm at the same time every morning.
- Better prepare. If you know you’re traveling on an overnight flight, pack whatever you need to be most comfortable on the plane. An eye mask, a neck pillow, and earplugs can all help you from getting off track in the first place.
What do you do to get back on track after sleeping all day?