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How to Manage a Consistent Sleep Schedule While Working Full Time

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Sleep is important for your body and mind, especially if you’re working a 9-to-5 job. Without sufficient sleep, you’re more prone to feeling tired during the day, not being able to concentrate on your work and even experiencing brain fog in severe cases of exhaustion.

It can be hard to manage 8 hours of sleep every night, and if you have a stressful work life or are trying to manage a balance between your job and personal life, it’s even harder.

While sleep schedules can vary from person to person, and some people can go with less sleep than others, there are always a few things you can do to make sure you get enough sleep each night.

Why Can Your Sleep Schedule Get Off Track?

Understanding why your sleep schedule might be off track is an important part of maintaining it. You may not often think about it, but your body clock is an advanced machine that controls your sleep-wake cycle and is affected by many external factors.

Things like the amount of daylight you get, the type of light you’re exposed to, and even your diet can throw off your body clock and have an effect on your sleep schedule.

Having a misaligned sleep schedule and body clock can not only result in poor sleep quality, but in the long run, it can be a contributing factor to many health issues.

Some of the problems found to be linked to poor sleep schedules include insomnia, depression, diabetes, bipolar disorder, obesity, and seasonal affective disorder, among many others.

A severely misaligned body clock is considered a sleeping disorder itself, with roughly 1 percent of adults suffering from an advanced sleep phase disorder, which means they go to bed early between 6 and 9 pm and wake up between 1 and 5 am.

Tips for Resetting Your Sleep Schedule When Starting a Full-Time Job

If you find yourself yawning all day in front of your work monitor or feeling exhausted while doing your daily duties, that might be an indicator that you need more sleep. You can try some of these tips to get your sleeping pattern back on the right track:

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Be Patient When Adjusting Your Schedule

Suppose you’re aiming to build a consistent schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time, keep in mind that it won’t happen overnight. Try slowly adjusting your bedtime until you start naturally going to bed at your desired time. In order to train your body clock to go to sleep earlier, experts recommend taking it slow and in small intervals, adjusting your bedtime to no more than 15 minutes at a time every couple of days.

Don’t Nap After Work

Napping when it’s not yet your bedtime can severely interfere with your sleep-wake cycle. Even if you feel shattered after a hard day of work, you should avoid getting into bed even for a quick rest. What you should do instead is do some light exercises or go for a brisk walk.

Avoid Sleeping in on Weekends

Consistency is the key when it comes to maintaining your sleep schedule. Set the alarm even on weekends to avoid sleeping in and disturbing your sleep cycle by going to bed later than you would on a weekday.

No Screen Time Close to Bed

The blue light from your mobile device or a TV can disturb your attempts to fall asleep, which is why you should avoid spending time in front of your screen right before bed. Put your phone to the side at least an hour before your bedtime, and try reading a book instead to unwind.

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Save Gym Visits for Earlier in the Day

When working full-time, it’s understandable that usually you only have time to exercise in the evenings after work. And while many people think that exercising late in the day is great because it makes you feel tired, the reality of it is a bit different.

When you exercise, your brain produces dopamine which makes you feel energized and more awake. Hitting the gym close to your sleep time can have the opposite effect of what you intend it to if you can try to move your daily visit to the gym earlier in the day, such as during your lunchtime, before work, or straight after you finish work.

Use a Sleep Tracking App on Your Phone

While you’re trying to adjust your sleep schedule and maintain it, it can be helpful to use a sleep tracking app on your smartphone. Many of those apps have advanced settings that allow you to set your preferred sleep and wake time and even come with audio courses on bedtime yoga, mindfulness, or soothing ambient noises that can help you doze right off.

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