How to Get to Bed on Time and Stop Losing Sleep - College Info Geek
How to Go to Bed Early
You’ve decided that you need more sleep, and that getting to bed earlier is the way to go. But with so many distractions and things to do that can keep us awake at night, this is easier said than done. Luckily, there are ways to help prepare your body and mind so that you can accomplish your goal of getting to sleep early, and wake up feeling well-rested.
Deciding When to Go to Bed
Decide what going to bed early means to you.“Early” and “late” are relative terms when describing sleep times. Much depends on when you need to or are able to wake up each day, and how much sleep you are getting.
- There is some variation from person to person, but generally adults need 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep per day.Children (5 years old and up) and teenagers will need more sleep than this, ranging from 8.5 to 11 hours. Infants and toddlers will need even more.
Pick a good bedtime.Choose a bedtime that is early enough for you to get the right amount of sleep, according to your age and schedule.
- If you want to figure out exactly how much sleep you need or are getting, consider using a sleep journal.Simply record when you go to bed each night and when you wake up each day, and calculate the hours of sleep you had in between. If you record your sleep for a few days or weeks, then you can also calculate your average amount of sleep.
Recognize that inadequate sleep can be unhealthy.Staying up late can be unhealthy when it becomes a long-term habit. Going to bed late and sleeping in can contribute to weight gain and diabetes, correlate to poor nutrition, and other issues.Just acknowledging the importance of your sleep needs can help you start to improve your situation.
Recognize that good sleep is necessary for optimum brain function.Not getting enough sleep can have a negative impact on memory, alertness, focus, and other cognitive functions.If you want to succeed in school, work, or other activities, let this be a motivation for you to go to bed early.
- If you have to pull an "all-nighter" for school or work, clear your schedule the next day so that you will be able to concentrate solely on these tips for going to bed early. You'll need to recover from the lack of sleep.
Preparing for Sleep During the Day
Avoid stimulants and depressants.If you trying to go to sleep early, avoid coffee and other caffeinated products, nicotine, and other stimulants. Their effects can last for hours, making it hard to go to sleep when you want to.And while depressants like alcohol can initially make you feel sleepy, they can actually disturb your sleep.
- Sleeping pills are often used as a means of inducing sleep. However, these can often be habit-forming, can impair memory and motor skills, and actually disrupt sleeping patterns.There are many different types of sleeping pills and their effects vary, so you should carefully follow the instructions of all over-the-counter and prescribed pills, and talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns.
Don’t eat too much at night.Your last meal should be no less than 2 or 3 hours before your bedtime.If you eat a big meal close to bedtime, it can make it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Avoid exercising too close to bedtime.Regular exercise will help regulate your sleep patterns, but you should not exercise too close to your bedtime. Exercise has a stimulating effect that might make it hard to go to bed early.
Limit naps.Naps can help if you are tired, but you should avoid long naps (longer than a half-hour), and naps near your bedtime. Otherwise, you may have trouble going to bed early.
Monitor your lighting conditions, particularly late in the day.How much and what kind of light you are surrounded by has a direct effect on your sleep patterns. Get plenty of natural light in the morning and during the day, then keep the lights dim at night.This will help you to get to bed early.
- Wearing sunglasses later in the day dims light, which can help you become sleepy on time.
- Avoid television, computers, tablets, smartphones and similar devices when you are trying to go to bed early, as the blue light from electronic screens disrupts the body’s inclination to sleep.
- If you work nights and need to sleep during the day, wear yellow- or orange-tinted glasses. This will block out blue light, which signals your body to stay awake.
Establishing the Right Environment for Sleep
Establish a sleep routine.Get your body and mind used to going to sleep early by doing the same things each night before you go to sleep.Do whatever relaxes you: read a book, take a bath or shower, listen to relaxing music, etc.
- Many people find that warm drinks or tea can help them become comfortable and sleepy (just stay away from caffeinated beverages). Chamomile tea is a good choice because it has a calming effect.
- Meditation and/or breathing exercises are also recognized as calming techniques.A simple breathing exercise is to inhale for a count of 3 or 4, then exhale for a count of six or eight.A few repetitions of this can be very helpful when trying to calm down and go to bed early.
Make sure that your bedroom is relaxing.This means having a comfortable mattress, bedding, etc.
- Some people find it helpful to use aids to lessen outside distractions, like earplugs or the white noise of a small fan or other device.
Go to bed when you feel tired.If you feel tired, it means you should go to bed.Don’t force yourself to stay awake. On the other hand, if you’re not tired, don’t try to force yourself to sleep.
- If you are tired, but can’t seem to fall asleep within 20 minutes, then get up and do something calming or boring (avoid electronic devices, exercise, working, eating, etc.) until you feel tired again.Eventually, you should be able to reach your early bedtime more consistently.
Making an Early Bedtime a Habit
Make your bedtime consistent.Going to bed the same time every night will improve your sleep, and make it easier to go to sleep early.
Don’t expect huge changes right away.If you are trying to shift your sleep schedule to an earlier time, don’t expect to easily make a drastic change in one night. Try making changes in incremental steps.
- For instance, if you have been going to sleep at 11:00, and decide that you want an earlier bedtime of 10:00, don’t expect to jump back the whole hour on the first night. Instead, try going to bed for a few nights at 10:45, then a few at 10:30, then a few at 10:15, before hitting your goal of 10:00.
Know when to contact a professional for help.If you are having serious problems sleeping, staying asleep, moving to an earlier bedtime, or keeping a consistent sleep pattern, it could be a symptom of another issue, or may require the assistance of medical professionals. If you have concerns, seek expert medical advice.
QuestionElectronics or homework keep me awake the whole night. How can I stop this?
Registered NurseRegistered NurseExpert AnswerTry to avoid using electronics prior to sleep time. Some electronics, especially any type of video games or bright light, can be stimulating. The same with homework, try to avoid doing homework right before bed to reduce anxiety and stress. Adopt a routine for getting your homework done a couple of hours prior to sleep.Thanks!
QuestionHow many hours should an 11 year old sleep each night?
Registered NurseRegistered NurseExpert AnswerAn 11 year old should get 8 hours of sleep a night at the very least. The ideal range is 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night.Thanks!
QuestionI have been trying to go to sleep early and I can for about 2 months straight, then one night I can't sleep until late. Why does this happen?Top AnswererIt's okay, even if we sleep regularly, sometimes we get a bad night's sleep. It's normal. Just stick to your usual rhythm. We all feel tired sometimes, toughen it out and sleep well the next night.Thanks!
QuestionMy sleep schedule is mess up right now, with a bedtime way later than I need. How do I get back on track?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo matter what time you end up falling asleep, set your alarm at the desired wake up time. If you tend to ignore alarm clocks, plan three meals per day on your desired schedule and do not allow yourself to eat at other times. If you don't get up in time for 7am breakfast, you'll have to wait until lunch. These tactics aren't fun, but hopefully you'll only need them a few days.Thanks!
QuestionWhy do kids need 8 to 11 hours of sleep?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGetting less sleep than this can harm mental development and mood. Researchers think that brains are probably working hard to organize memories and thought patterns while you sleep. Kids are learning a lot and developing fast, so their brain needs more time to catch up.Thanks!
QuestionCan I go to bed later and sleep in during the weekends, or will that mess up my sleep schedule?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. The body needs this routine to make it easier to fall asleep. If you stay up late Saturday night and get up late Sunday, then you most likely wont be able to sleep until late Sunday night. As a result, you will be tired the following Monday morning when you have to get up for work or school.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I stop myself from having to wake up to use the toilet?Top AnswererAs we grow up, sleeping through the night becomes increasingly rare. That's okay, it's normal. Try not to resist the urge to go to the toilet, don't check your phone, no bright lights, don't do anything else, just go, get back to bed and continue sleeping. Try not to drink too much before bed and remember to go to the toilet before you go to sleep.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I go back to sleep in the middle of the night, after a nightmare?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionHow do I fall asleep if I have been going to bed really late?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou might not be able to do so the first night. However, the next day, you will probably be tired enough from not getting enough sleep the night before to fall asleep easily at an earlier time. Just make sure not to take any naps.Thanks!
QuestionSometimes it's really hard for me to wake up. Is this because I'm not getting enough sleep?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, too little sleep is a common cause. You may need more than the amount recommended for your age, due to natural variation or frequent exercise. If you have trouble waking up no matter how long you've slept, try sticking to an exact bedtime and wake up at the same time every day of the week. Melatonin or a dawn-simulating alarm clock may help with this.Thanks!
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