Sleep is the lifeblood of our bodies, and while many products aim to help you stay comfortable while sleeping, others have come up with ways to boost the quality of your sleep without sacrificing the comfort of your bedding.
But as sleep experts say, it’s all about the timing.
“There are three key points: 1.
You need to get into the rhythm 2.
You can’t do both at once 3.
The timing of getting into the flow is critical,” says Dr. James G. Suter, a sleep physician at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Medicine Center.
The first two points are obvious—you need to have enough sleep to fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
“Getting into the right rhythm is one of the most important aspects of the night,” says Glynne Lissner, a professor of sleep medicine at New York University.
“The first thing to consider is whether or not you can fall asleep in the middle of the day.
If you’re getting tired, that can make it harder to fall back asleep later.”
To achieve the right timing, you can do two things: “1.
Put the alarm clock on a timer to remind you of the time you’re in bed.
Set your alarm clock to be in sync with the time of day.”
This is where the timing becomes critical.
“You have to be consistent, or you’re going to fall behind the rhythm,” says Suter.
“If you’re falling behind, the rhythm can take over.”
If you fall asleep after midnight, it can be difficult to get back into your rhythm.
“For example, if you have a really stressful day, and you’re not sleeping well, you may feel like your sleep is falling off.”
You can help your sleep with a little bit of sleep hygiene.
Sitter recommends that you put a pillow in your bed at night and use it to help prevent your body from drifting into a sleep cycle.
“Don’t put it on your head or on your shoulders, it’ll block out your body’s natural sleep cycles,” says Lissners.
“This is something you can use to help the rhythm of your body.
If it’s not in sync, it will get more difficult for your body to fall into the regular sleep cycle.”
But when you do fall asleep early, you might not get the full benefit of the sleep that you need.
“When you’re sleeping, you’re usually awake for about a half hour, but if you fall behind, you’ll wake up with a lot less sleep than normal,” says Ravi R. Khanna, M.D., a sleep researcher at the University of Washington.
“That’s why you need to take advantage of your early-to-midnight nap.”
So if you’re feeling restless or a bit cranky, you should try to make it a point to nap in the morning.
Suters suggests that you set your alarm to be up at 7 a.m. or later to help your body fall into a regular sleep schedule.
If the alarm is on too late or the timing is off, try to fall down in bed as soon as you wake up.
“As soon as I wake up, I’m ready to go back to sleep,” says Khanna.
But if you don’t fall asleep quickly, you could be falling behind in the process.
“It’s not uncommon for people to wake up in the night, feel a little tired, and not feel fully rested,” says Ghosh.
If your alarm is set to wake you up, you will be awake, but you won’t be ready to fall fully into a normal sleep cycle, says Suters.
“By the time I fall asleep, I’ll have a very different mindset.
I’m going to be focused on how to get through the day, not on how I can fall into sleep.”
But if it’s too late to fall for a nap, you need some help.
“Try to get up early and get into a deep, comfortable sleep,” Suter advises.
“Do this as soon after going to bed as possible.
If possible, try not to go to bed before you feel refreshed.”
For example, say you’re up in bed when you see a friend getting ready to leave the room.
You might try to go up and say hi, but the alarm could start going off, and then you might get up and just take off your clothes.
But by the time your alarm goes off, you’ve already fallen asleep.
If that’s the case, you want to be able to fall deeply into the sleep pattern that you’re trying to maintain.
“Once you get to bed, you have to fall deep into the same sleep pattern you’re doing the day before,” says Naveen Chatterjee, a health educator and sleep expert at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Institute.
“Then you can start the next cycle.”
You’re also more likely to fall off if you get too far behind