I’ve been working from home for the last five months due to COVID Quarantine. To tell you that my sleep schedule is off would be an understatement. It’s an absolute mess. I usually get up at 5:30 am during the week. But during quarantine, some days I’ve been rolling out of bed right on time to log in. I’m used to not getting enough rest due to insomnia and staying up late working. However, these last few weeks I’ve barely managed to get in 24 hours of sleep over the course of the entire week. I know that I’m not alone in picking up bad sleep habits during quarantine. But I’m working on getting my sleep schedule back on track in preparation to return to the office soon. As a lot of you may be preparing to return to the office as well, I’m going to share my tips with you to help you get your act together too. Here’s how to get your sleep schedule back on track before returning to the office.
Create a Zen Sleeping Environment
You want to make sure that your sleep space is comfortable and induces relaxation. Get a salt lamp. The warm glow is soothing and relaxing to look at. It can also serve as a night light if you’re unable to sleep in complete darkness. Put a candle warmer in your space, or light a candle a safe distance away from the bed. Choose relaxing fragrances such as mint & eucalyptus or lavender. Activate the candle a few hours before bed so that the room is filled with the scent when it’s time to get in. Be sure to put the candle out before bed.
Add a few air cleaning plants like the Snake Plant or ZZ Plant to your space. If you can’t sleep in complete quiet, play soft music or sleep sounds. I use my echo dot to do this as I don’t sleep with my phone next to the bed to avoid the screen interrupting my sleep. That may work for you as well.
Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day
Now this one is hard for me as I like to sleep in on the weekends when possible. But waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day will help you to sleep better overall. Yes, even on the weekends. While on vacation too. Setting a consistent sleep schedule will reset your internal clock. Eventually your body will get used to your schedule and you won’t even need an alarm clock to wake up. You’ll also find it easier to fall asleep at night.
Set Up A Recurring Alarm
Speaking of alarm clocks, set up a recurring alarm to kick start getting your sleep schedule back on track. I actually have multiple alarms set to help me with this- a warning alarm 15 minutes before my wakeup alarm, then my wakeup alarm. Next I have a wakeup routine set up on my echo dot. First it turns on my smart bulb, gradually increasing the brightness to mimic the sun rising. Then it gives me the weather and my calendar for the day, and turns on a set playlist. Once the music starts playing- I’m up!
Leave The Bed For Sleeping (And Loving)
Make up your bed in the morning and don’t get back in until it’s time to go to sleep. Or time to get it in. This will help condition your brain to know that when you get in your bed, you are tired and ready to go to sleep. Spend less time lounging in bed reading, eating or doing anything else but sleeping (or loving). Once your alarms go off in the morning, give yourself 15-20 minutes to fully wake up, then get on up!
Block Blue Light At Night
The blue light emitted from electronics such as your phone, tablet, laptop and television suppresses the production of melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep inducing hormone that lets your body know that it’s almost time to hit the hay when it starts getting dark. Avoid blue light a couple of hours before bed to allow yourself to actually get sleepy. If you use electronics to read before bed, put it on the night setting which changes the screen temperature to a warmer color, blocking blue light.
Natural Sleep Supplements
If you’re like me and battle insomnia along with anxiety, some nights it will seem like none of this works. You may need a little help in the form of natural sleep supplements (consult with your doctor first) like melatonin tablets. Yes, the same melatonin that your body produces but in a pill form. This will help you to relax and fall asleep. Fair warning, melatonin tends to cause vivid dreams. Stick with a low dose (1 mg) to avoid nightmares. If you’re not a pill person, a cup of peppermint tea will do the trick. Throw in a shot of rum and you’ll sleep like a baby.