It seems that during the week, I try to stick to my normal “weekday” schedule. I usually wake up at the same time, eat at the same time, go to sleep at the same time. But, why do I tell myself that I have a “weekday” schedule just because I work 5 days out of the week? Shouldn’t it be an everyday schedule? The truth is, I never really put much thought into why sleep is so vital until I started working with iSense and learning more about the benefits of an adjustable mattress and an adjustable smart pillow. I mean I’ve been going to sleep at the end of each day my entire life. It’s like clockwork. The sun goes down, I get sleepy and crawl into bed. It’s no surprise that we need sleep, but I think we all just look past this habit and just think of it as a natural thing to do. And it is. But, why?
Once I realized that I’ve been in this awful cycle of Weekday vs. Weekend routines, I couldn’t really shake the fact that I've been leading a healthy lifestyle only a fraction of my week. Everyone knows it’s always easier said than done when trying to make healthy lifestyle changes. I’ve tried those crazy diets, insane workout plans, weird health-nut drinks, the list goes on and on. Everything on that list was pretty short lived to say the least. But maybe the first step to a permanent healthy lifestyle is changing my habits to benefit my sleep cycle. Maybe it doesn’t have to be easier said than done. After bringing this topic up to my friends and family, it seems I’m not the only one who has a weekday schedule that’s different than a weekend schedule. Today, most adults work weekdays so it wasn’t hard to ask around when trying to discuss what most people’s weekends look like. In fact, most people had some not-so-great weekend habits just like myself.
Monday through Friday, I can truly say I'm proud of my healthy lifestyle habits. I eat well, exercise daily, and get a good night’s rest. Yet somehow, Saturday and Sunday roll around and I think that my body just accepts that as an exception just as much as I do. That’s not so much the case, though. Your body depends on a consistent schedule when it comes to sleep. We all have circadian timers (the sleep clock in our brains) that run on rhythm which functions excellent when it’s on a regular routine. Your circadian rhythm works best when you have a regular sleep schedule, like going to bed and waking up at the same time each night (Try this for each day of the week that ends in Y). So, if you’re looking for the healthiest you, it’s best to stick to a good routine at least most of the time.
We all work hard during the week days to make sure we feel confident and proud of the work we completed throughout the work week. It’s healthy to take a mental break on the weekends and reflect on what you’ve accomplished. With technology in our reach at all times, the weekends should be a time that you recharge and relax. I used to think that recharging and relaxing was binge-watching my favorite TV shows from my couch at a horizontal angle or propped up in my bed for hours on end. However, when reevaluating my weekend habits, I had to ask myself, is that next episode of Friends or The Walking Dead really worth that hypnotic glaze that comes over my eyes Monday morning? I’m following some new rules for myself and I must say, since changing my weekend habits, I come in on Monday feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
Here are 3 quick rules I follow to avoid a miserable Monday:
Go to sleep on time, wake up on time.
You don’t realize it, but when you lose an hour, two hours, three hours of sleep and try to make it up in the morning, your body is essentially experiencing the same feeling you get when you change time zones or if you’re jet lagged.
Tip: Set a reminder on your phone that alerts you every night at the same time. Even if you’ve lost track of time, you can depend on your alarm to notify you to go to sleep. If you have trouble waking up in the mornings during the weekend, keep your wake-up time within a 30-minute window of your normal weekday wake up time.
Exercise every day. And yes, this includes Saturday and Sunday.
If you don’t exercise or do some sort of physical activity during the weekend, you’ll know. Chances are, your body has already told you. Those who don’t exercise are proven to be sleepier than those who do.
You also increase the risk for sleep apnea, which can be a potentially serious sleep disorder when your breathing stops and starts throughout the night. Take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour out of your day to get active. You may think nothing of skipping the gym on the weekends, but your body is looking for its normal routine.
Tip: The earlier you work out, the more your body will thank you and the deeper you’ll sleep. For some people, working out too close to bedtime can stimulate your brain and prevent you from feeling tired. When you work out in the morning, you’re more likely to feel ready for bed by the end of the day.
Eat well to sleep well.
What you put in your body matters. It makes sense really, if you eat a cheeseburger and fries at any point in the day you're likely to feel the effects of it. When you're sleeping, you're still feeling the effects even though you're in a subconscious mind set.
Your body still must process and digest the food just as if you were awake, causing a major disruption when trying to get a deep night’s sleep.
Tip: If you find yourself hungry around bed time, it's best to eat a light snack like a banana, yogurt, or even a small bowl of whole-grain, low sugar cereal. If you know it's not hunger itself, but more of a midnight craving that usually overcomes you, brushing your teeth right after dinner is a good habit to get in. You won't want to brush your teeth again, plus the toothpaste may give you a teaser of the sweetness you're craving!