Proven Techniques To Maintain Your Sleep Schedule Over The Holidays Without Missing A Beat
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Sleep Schedule – Understanding the three most common sleep schedules and the importance of consistency.
Maintaining a regular sleeping schedule is the secret ingredient to adding vivacity back into your daily life and it is as simple a concept to grasp as it is difficult to put into practice. Imagine for a moment, however, that you began to have the liveliness of your childhood once more. The enthusiasm you had when you would run around outside for hours on end, completely losing track of time. Imagine lower levels of stress, heightened levels of energy, and less nights laying awake due to your inability to turn down the volume of your thoughts. This seemingly incomprehensible feat can be your actual reality if you employ these simple, yet effective techniques to get your sleep schedule on track and remain on track, even during the bustling holiday season.
Types Of Sleep Schedules
Before delving into how to maintain your sleep schedule, let’s take a look into the different types of sleep schedules that exist:
Monophasic Sleep Schedule
The most popular in many modern countries, a monophasic sleep schedule comes naturally to us because this is largely how the world operates. You wake up in the morning after 7 or 8 hours of sleep, go about your day for another 16 hours or so, and then go to bed again at night to start the cycle all over again. The post office, government centers, and many other necessary institutions for daily living operate during the day around the hours of 9a-5pm, because it’s assumed that people will be awake and going through their day at this time. This monophasic sleep cycle and lifestyle is what most Westerners would deem “normal”, but historically (and even currently), a monophasic sleep cycle has not always been the most popular and, in some places, it’s still not.
Biphasic Sleep Schedule
A biphasic sleep schedule is characterized by a large chunk of time spent asleep during the night (not as long as the monophasic sleep schedule), with a shorter morning nap or afternoon nap at some point during the day (usually 30-90 minutes). Also referred to as “siesta sleep”, this is a very popular sleep schedule and circadian rhythm pattern for a handful of Western European countries.
Polyphasic Sleep Schedule
The least popular of all sleep schedules, a polyphasic sleep pattern looks very different from monophasic and biphasic patterns, and these kind of sleep schedules can also vary greatly. The defining characteristic of polyphasic sleepers is that they have more frequent sleep-wake cycles throughout the night. The segmented sleep patterns of polyphasic sleepers may manifest as a shorter number of hours of sleep throughout the night, but more frequent “nap times” throughout the day. These nap times may be short, 20 minute segments, supplemented with a short, 2-5 hours of sleep in the middle of the night. If done correctly, the aim of many who attempt a polyphasic sleep schedule is to increase the amount of wake time during a day while avoiding the effects of sleep deprivation that may manifest from shorter time spent asleep in a mono or biphasic sleep schedule.
While it is possible for some to operate on a polyphasic sleep schedule with minimal adverse side effects, we do not recommend this option as it may be extremely dangerous if not done properly. Overwhelmingly, mono and biphasic sleep schedules are most popularly employed because they are most closely tied to the natural rhythms of the environment: rising and settling with the rising and setting of the sun.
The Importance Of Maintaining A Consistent Sleep Schedule
Have you ever noticed that the more consistently you eat at the same times everyday, the more hungry you become when you stray from your eating schedule? Or if you’re used to eating a cookie everyday when you’re done eating lunch, the day that you forget to pack one, you suddenly find yourself with an intense sweet tooth that you need to satisfy? Our bodies thrive off of routine. It’s how we are programmed. This is why maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is one of the best ways that you can help your body function at its optimal level and signal to it when it’s time to fall asleep at night.
Having some sort of bedtime routine that you do each night may also lend well to setting and maintaining your circadian rhythm in order to give you a better night’s sleep. Certain activities that you do each night before you go to bed, especially if they are calming, wind-down activities, can signal your brain that it’s time to start to fall asleep.