Getting Your Sleep Schedule Back On Track – A Daily Checklist

Our bodies naturally move in and out of cycles of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day. But sometimes we veer off track from our ideal sleep schedule. This can result in feeling tired during the day or not being able to fall asleep at night.

Our bodies are sensitive to the environment. For example, in the absence of light, our brain signals the body to produce melatonin, a hormone responsible for causing drowsiness.1 Thus, when we’re exposed to sunlight, our brains tell our bodies to quit releasing melatonin, making us alert and ready for the day.1

But sleep isn’t really as simple as night and day. In addition to the environment, our sleep schedule can be affected by:

  • Lifestyle
  • Nutrition
  • Overall health and wellbeing

There’s no doubt that sleep is important. And a good sleep schedule is essential for achieving an optimum life. We consider sleep one of our seven core performance areas because poor sleep can negatively impact:

  • Alertness
  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Quality of life
  • Mood
  • Health

Unfortunately, insufficient sleep is very common. For example, the NHS claims that one in three adults struggle with sleep.

So, we’ve put together a three-part daily checklist to help you get your sleep schedule back on track!

Lifestyle changes to fix your sleep schedule

lifestyle changes for getting sleep schedule back on track - ElevateMe
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

1. Practice mindfulness before bed

Mindfulness is being aware and present in the current moment. Meditation is a great way to induce mindfulness. It is an excellent first step towards getting your sleep schedule back on track.

Moreover, it has been linked to reduced stress and anxiety levels,2,3 which can help you relax and unwind after a busy day. Before falling asleep, consider a mindfulness exercise. Here’s a 10-minute guided meditation video on YouTube to help you get started!

2. Build a relaxing evening routine

A plan for relaxation before bed can help you fall asleep with ease.4 While meditation and mindfulness can be great ways to relax, having an evening routine focused on relaxation can help you prepare your body and mind for sleep.

For example, some people enjoy reading before bed, while others prefer listening to soft music. Try out activities that calm you down and include them in your evening routine.

3. Remove disturbing noises

Disturbing noise can keep you from relaxing and getting good sleep.5 Additionally, your brain can still process noise while you sleep. This can lead to unplanned waking up throughout the night. 

Putting your cell phone on silent and switching off the television may be helpful ways to relax. Furthermore, some people use white noise machines to remove disturbing noise.

4. Fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule will help your body learn when it is time for sleep and when it is time to wake up.4 Moreover, falling asleep at the same time each day can improve your circadian rhythm and reduce cortisol – the stress hormone – in the body.

5. Avoid naps when possible

Taking long naps during the day can worsen nighttime sleep problems.6 By avoiding naps, you will be more ready to sleep in the evening. Additionally, a recent study speculated that long naps can potentially be harmful to overall health.7

6. Exercise more often

Research suggests that exercise can positively impact sleep quality,8 and that daily exercise can positively impact your sleep as well as your health.9 Additionally, exercise can help align your circadian rhythm, leading to a regular sleep-wake cycle.10

Furthermore, exercising outdoors can be a great way to get exposure to natural light, which signals the body to reduce melatonin and keeps you alert during the day!

Nutrition changes to fix your sleep schedule

1. Avoid excess caffeine

Caffeine helps keep you awake because it is a stimulant. Therefore, caffeine consumption can be problematic if consumed too close to bedtime.11 Try to avoid caffeine at night and not drink it in excess.

2. Avoid excess alcohol

Excess alcohol consumption can lead to poor sleep quality and shorter sleep duration.12 By avoiding excess alcohol, you may notice your sleep quality improve!

3. Watch carbohydrate consumption

Meals high in carbohydrates can make you feel sleepy and reduce alertness, which may not be ideal in the daytime.13 Consider reducing your carbohydrate intake in the evening and focusing on a balanced diet.

4. Consider a Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is known to improve heart health and has recently been linked to enhanced sleep quality.14 The Mediterranean diet is a diet full of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains and healthy fats!

This diet is also known to be rich in melatonin, serotonin and vitamin D,15 which can all contribute to sleep, mood and overall health.

5. Swap for green tea in the morning

Green tea has been shown to help reduce stress and improve sleep quality.16 It is high in theanine, an essential amino acid that has been shown to improve sleep quality.17

Supplements to fix your sleep schedule

1. Take a melatonin supplement

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the body but some people may benefit from supplementation. The NHS recommends melatonin supplements for some people over the age of 55 with sleep problems because melatonin can help induce sleep.

However, melatonin supplementation is not suitable for everyone. Speak with your GP before taking any supplements.

2. Consider magnesium before bed

Magnesium is an essential nutrient and aids in many biological processes.18 Research has shown that magnesium can positively impact sleep patterns.19 Consider a magnesium supplement if recommended by your GP.

3. Supplement with turmeric

Turmeric is a spice commonly used in cooking across the globe. Turmeric contains a chemical known as curcumin, which has been linked to decreased inflammation in the body.20

Inflammation can lead to pain in the body,21 making it difficult to sleep at night. Consider adding turmeric heavy foods to your diet or curcumin supplements to ease inflammation.

4. Take a vitamin D supplement

Our body naturally makes vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight. However, deficiencies in vitamin D have been linked to issues with sleep.22 It may be beneficial to supplement a healthy diet with vitamin D if you find yourself indoors or in the dark often.

How can you track your sleep with the ElevateMe Health App?

The ElevateMe health app uses 13 blood biomarkers to track your sleep quality. These biomarkers include HbA1c, folate, bilirubin, total protein, vitamin B12, ALT, albumin, CRP HS, vitamin D, ferritin, GGT, ALP and testosterone. Additionally, you will also get a personalised action plan in the health app. This will include personalised explanations showing you where you can make changes to your lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to get your sleep schedule back on track!

Test with ElevateMe today and explore how your blood biomarkers are impeding your ability to getting your sleep schedule back on track, and improve them!

Did you know?

Personalised preventative healthcare, where patients get a proactive rather than reactive approach towards preventing health scares, has been found to significantly reduce hospitalisations.

Take an ElevateMe blood test today to capture 21 blood test insights and track your sleep, fitness, energy, metabolism, cognition, mood, and immunity.

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References
  1. Melatonin: What You Need To Know. NCCIH. [cited 2021 Jul 23]. Available from:
  2. Lane, JD., Seskevich, JE., Pieper CF. Brief meditation training can improve perceived stress and negative mood. Altern Ther Health Med.13(1), 38-44.
  3. Chen, KW., Berger, CC., Manheimer, EM., Forde D., Magidson, J., Dachman, L., Lejuez, CW. (2012). Meditative therapies for reducing anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depression and Anxiety, 29(7), 545-562.
  4. How to get to sleep. nhs.uk. 2018 [cited 2021 Jul 23].
  5. Halperin, D. (2014). Environmental noise and sleep disturbances: A threat to health? Sleep Science, 7(4), 209–12.
  6. Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle – Adult Health. Napping: Do’s and don’ts for health adults. [cited 2021 Aug 6].
  7. Long naps may be bad for health. ScienceDaily. [cited 2021 Jul 23].
  8. Yang, P., Ho, K., Chen, H., Chien, M., 2012. Exercise training improves sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems: a systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy, 58(3), 157-163.
  9. Exercising for Better Sleep. Hopkins Medicine. [cited 2021 Jul 23].
  10. Wang, CY. (2017). Circadian Rhythm, Exercise, and Heart. Acta Cardiologica Sinica, 33(5), 539–41.
  11. Caffeine’s Connection to Sleep Problems. Sleep Foundation. 2009 [cited 2021 Jul 23].
  12. Park, SY., Oh, MK., Lee, BS., Kim, HG., Lee, WJ., Lee, JH., et al. (2015). The Effects of Alcohol on Quality of Sleep. Korean Journal of Family Medicine, 36(6), 294–9.
  13. Afaghi, A., O’Connor, H., Chow, CM. (2007). High-glycemic-index carbohydrate meals shorten sleep onset. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85(2), 426–30.
  14. Zuraikat, FM., Makarem, N., St-Onge, MP., Xi, H., Akkapeddi, A., Aggarwal, B. (2020). A Mediterranean Dietary Pattern Predicts Better Sleep Quality in US Women from the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Strategically Focused Research Network. Nutrients, 12(9), 2830.
  15. Frates, EP, MD. Harvard Health Blog. Could what we eat improve our sleep? [cited 20201 Aug 6]/
  16. Unno, K., Noda, S., Kawasaki, Y., Yamada, H., Morita, A., Iguchi, K., & Nakamura, Y. (2017). Reduced stress and improved sleep quality caused by green tea are associated with a reduced caffeine content. Nutrients, 9(7), 777–.
  17. Sarris, J., Byrne, GJ., Cribb, L., Oliver, G., Murphy, J., Macdonald, P., Nazareth, S., Karamacoska, D., Galea, S., Short, A., Ee, C., Birling, Y., Menon, R., Ng, CH. 2019. L-theanine in the adjunctive treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. J Psychiatr Res. 110, 31-37.
  18. Magnesium in diet: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. [cited 2021 Jul 23].
  19. Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, MM., Hedayati, M., Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 17(12), 1161–9.
  20. McFarlin, B. K., Venable, A. S., Henning, A. L., Sampson, J. N. B., Pennel, K., Vingren, J. L., & Hill, D. W. (2016). Reduced inflammatory and muscle damage biomarkers following oral supplementation with bioavailable curcumin. BBA Clinical, 5, 72–78.
  21. Inflammation. WebMD. [cited 27 July 2021].
  22. Gao, Q., Kou, T., Zhuang, B., Ren, Y., Dong, X., & Wang, Q. (2018). The Association between Vitamin D Deficiency and Sleep Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 10(10), 1395–.

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Written by Lily Larsen

I recently completed my Master's degree in Public Health from Imperial College London and have a BSc in Chemistry. I'm passionate about improving the health of populations, and I hope to help people live their healthiest life!

27/08/2021

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