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jlm11f's avatar

I need to change my sleeping schedule. Any advice?

Asked by jlm11f (12378points) June 12th, 2008

I am a natural nighthawk. I currently sleep around 5 am (don’t go there) and need to start sleeping @ 11 pm which is 6 hrs earlier of course. I do exercise everyday and I don’t have insomnia or falling to sleep problems. I just DON’T sleep because I want to read a novel or be on the computer etc. It’s probably not smart to go straight from 5 am to 11 pm, so I was thinking of doing it in baby steps. I also need to wake up @ 6:45 am, and I have trouble waking up on time, let alone early. I often don’t even hear the alarm. I want to change my schedule as a personal choice. If you have any advice or had to change your sleeping schedule like this, I would love to hear about it! Thanks.

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16 Answers

soundedfury's avatar

I’m also a night owl, but often have to change my schedule. I found that changing it on the weekend works the best. I simply don’t go to bed on Saturday night, so that by Sunday evening I’m pretty damn exhausted and in bed by 10pm or so.

If you are doing it for personal reasons, I would really suggest not going to bed on Friday night, going to bed at a reasonable hour on Saturday night and by Sunday night you should have adjusted.

jlm11f's avatar

@ SF – i really like your idea and will probably end up trying it tomorrow night, but i am just worried it might be too drastic and really screw up my body.

marinelife's avatar

I have succeeded in changing mine by moving it back in half hour increments each day (or night, rather). I start to prepare for sleep 1/2 an hour before. So, in the case of the schedule you gave, the first night for the change, I would target being asleep for 4:30 A.M. At 4 A.M., I would shut down any really high-energy activities, change into sleep attire, make the room as dark as possible, perhaps have a cup of chamomile tea, and then ease into bed around 4:10 to 4:15 P.M. Breathe deeply and slowly through your nose in and out concentrating only on you breathing. Refocus on your breathing if stray thoughts intrude. The next night move the time up again and repeat. Hope it works out.

shilolo's avatar

PnL. Both suggestions seem reasonable, but clearly, soundedfury has a more drastic approach (then again, all-nighters are going to be a part of your future, so…) One other thing you can try if you want is the oral supplement, melatonin. It seems to shorten the duration of symptoms from jet lag, and may work to enhance sleepiness for insomnia. You could give it a try for a few days and see if it works. [ This one is for you, Marina. ;-) ]

I would add that you might want to ditch any caffeine-containing stimulants altogether. Some people are very sensitive to caffeine, and the effects can be very long lasting (i.e. a cup of coffee at 1 pm could keep you up all night).

thebeadholder's avatar

I am right there with you PnL. I found this in the sibling column. I find myself up till all hours of the night on the computer or doing whatever because this is when I can get the most done (kids). However, staying up till all hours does not make for a productive me or a very patient mommy! We HAVE to train ourselves…turn off the computer, put down the book and make ourselves go to bed. Easier said then done. Been trying to do this all week since becoming addicted to Fluther. I tell myself “You are NOT going to get on Fluther tonight and go to bed early.” Still working on this…..

jlm11f's avatar

@ Marina – that’s kind of what I was thinking of doing except in an hour intervals (i am impatient and want results fast). I like your idea of basically telling the body “you will sleep now” by turning off all devices, changing into night clothes and turning off the lights.

@ shilolo – i want to avoid taking any drugs to help me with this if possible. And i have been staying away from caffeine ever since I realized I got addicted to it (Aug’ 07). Although I am not a stranger to all-nighters, my worry about SF’s approach is that because I didn’t sleep all day, I would have no problem sleeping by 11 pm, but I don’t think I would be able to WAKE up @ 6:45 am. My body overcompensates if i miss a day and I would probably end up waking up @ 1 pm or something and then my clock would be awry again.

@beadholder – Productivity is a major issue for me too. I feel like my brain doesn’t turn on till it strikes 9 pm. And that’s why I usually study at night, but I feel I could be a lot more efficient if I changed my sleeping habits. And oh yes, fluther has also added to my list of nightly distractions :)

richardhenry's avatar

@PnL: I assumed the same about SF’s approach, but I’ve had to use it a couple times to restore my body clock and it works just fine. Give it a go.

@Marina: I’m really envious that this works for you! Haha. :) Going to bed half an hour earlier doesn’t work for me, since I never fall asleep straight away. It’s not even a rough period of time, such as 15 minutes or half an hour, it’s more like I have no idea how long it will take me to drop off. If I go to bed half an hour earlier, I will stay awake for a minimum of half an hour, probably triple that out of wanting to do something.

thebeadholder's avatar

@ PnL: Same for me. I will be tired ALL day from staying up till 3 or 4 a.m. and then up at 7 a.m. with the kiddies. Somehow at around 9 p.m. also, I become wide awake no matter how tired I have been all day. It stinks! Maybe I will try one of the suggested approaches.

scamp's avatar

@PnL I like to think of melationin as more of a food supplement rather than a medication since our bodies make it naturally. If all else, you could follow shi’s advide and safely give itr a try. My daughter has fibromyalgia, and it is very helpful for her.

BirdlegLeft's avatar

I second the caffeine bit. I’d say draw a line in the sand in the afternoon, and then switch to water or tea for the rest of the day. If you need a little boost maybe try green or even white tea which will be milder. I’ve also heard that you should try to stick to a routine. Attempt to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Lastly, try doing your computer stuff earlier in the evening and switch to reading later.

jlm11f's avatar

@ richardhenry – makes you wonder how many flutherites have sleeping schedule problems doesn’t it?

@ scamp – i knew this would come up, i should have better phrased my answer. I know melatonin is naturally made in the body. That said, I am not a fan of supplements unless I really have to take them. I don’t really have a logical reason for this, I guess I don’t like the feeling of needing help from supplements and/or drugs in general. of course, for your daughter, melatonin is great. i already have to take some other supplements so i don’t want to push it.

@birdleg – i was also thinking about turning off my computer an hour before i go to sleep, i really think that would help as strange as it is.

richardhenry's avatar

@PnL: According to ongoing research, 94%. The admins are publishing their findings later this year.

jlm11f's avatar

i would like to thank everyone for contributing to this question! i slept a little less than 4 hours last night and i am reallllllly sleepy right now. now IF ONLY i can prevent myself from taking a nap and just sleeping ridiculously early, then maybe i’ll get somewhere :)

shilolo's avatar

PnL. Ask and ye shall receive. Just in time, in fact.

jlm11f's avatar

thanks!

gooch's avatar

Jump in and do it without change for two weeks. Even if your not sleepy stay in bed. Your biological clock will reset. I know I am a shiftworker.

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