Not getting a consistent sleep schedule can be very detrimental to your health. An irregular sleep schedule can cause irritability, drowsiness, mood swings, concentration and memory problems, headaches, and a decline in cognitive skills. Basically, you want a consistent sleep schedule. To learn about a lot of the benefits of having a consistent sleep schedule check out this post.
What is a consistent sleep schedule?
A consistent sleep schedule means you go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. (Yes, that includes weekends.) But generally having a consistent sleep schedule also means you are able to actually get a healthy amount of sleep. So going to bed at midnight and waking up at four in the morning, even if it’s every day is not a consistent sleep schedule.
Why having a consistent sleep schedule is hard
If it were easy everyone would do it. You have that last episode of a tv show you want to watch, you think you will be tired the next day so you give yourself an extra hour to sleep, or you have a burst of motivation and set your alarm for five a.m. There are plenty of reasons why having a consistent sleep schedule is hard. But they all come down to one base.
Discipline = the secret
Discipline. You don’t have to watch that last episode. You don’t have to give yourself an extra hour. You don’t have to wake up at five a.m to feel or be productive. It’s all about discipline. Not the willpower. You don’t need willpower to get out of bed at six a.m. That wastes some of your precious willpower (Hint: yes, you have a limited supply.) when you can just use discipline. It’s also not about the motivation. You aren’t always going to have motivation. Motivation isn’t consistent, and the key to a sleep schedule is consistency. Discipline comes with practice, and the more you practice the better it gets. Discipline with enough practice can become a habit, and then it is so much easier to have a consistent sleep schedule. An example of discipline would be say you wanted going to go to bed at ten p.m, you would say it and write it, and then when you want to watch just one more episode, you don’t. You use discipline, to walk away, and think about the positives of going to bed.
The practical ways you make sure you you are going to bed at the right time
Listen to your body. Everybody is different, and every body is different. See what I did there? Go with what your body needs. How many hours of sleep does your body need to be at it’s peak performance the next day? How long does it take you to fall asleep? The next step is making sure you can actually, physically mentally, and just life-ly be able to get to sleep at the time you want to. This requires planning. Will you be home in time to get ready for bed? Will you be able to be off of screens 1 hour before you go to sleep? I talk more about this rule in this post, along with many other strategies to get up early.
Things to avoid when making a sleep schedule
When you are making your consistent sleep schedule, there are a couple things you want to avoid. One of these is sleeping in on the weekends. I know that the weekend is your time to relax, and sleep freely, but the goal of a sleep schedule is to not need to “sleep freely” on the weekends. You are trying to make your sleep schedule a habit. I tell you exactly how to make a habit in this post. In the beginning of making your sleep schedule you can sleep in two more hours or stay up two more hours, but as you get farther in lower that to one, and then none. Another thing to avoid is screens. For a short explanation, screens emit blue light, which makes it so hard to fall asleep. If you need to be on your phone, at least turn it to night time mode in the settings. This will lower the amount of blue light emitted.
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