How to Train Your Body to Sleep Earlier

Taking naps during the day can disrupt the body's natural sleep cycle.
Taking naps during the day can disrupt the body's natural sleep cycle. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

The body's natural sleep cycle can often be disrupted and changed by living conditions, eating and exercise habits or environmental factors such as noise or light. It is possible, however, to train the body to become ready for sleep earlier to ensure a restful night's sleep and an earlier waking time. The process of changing one's sleep cycle often takes several weeks and requires consistency in order to be most effective.

Go to bed earlier every night. If a normal bedtime is 11 p.m., aim to be in bed by 10:30 p.m. for the first week, then 10:00 p.m. the next week and so forth. Consistently go to bed at the same time each night and aim to keep this schedule on the weekends.

Get ready for bed at least a half-hour before your actual bedtime. Shut off the television, computer and phone and make this time a period of relaxation. Ease into a more peaceful state and make a routine of putting on pajamas, brushing your teeth and doing other bedtime tasks. If necessary, read a book or meditate before actually shutting off the lights for sleep.

Avoid late-night eating and drinking. Try to eat dinner before 6 or 7 p.m. since the body's natural digestion may tend to slow down later in the day. Don't consume too much sugar, caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime. Set a cutoff time for eating and don't consume anything after that time.

Exercise on a daily basis. Consistent cardio activity during the day can help improve the sleep cycle and prepare the body for a deep rest. Get at least 20 to 30 minutes of brisk activity each day such as running, aerobics or biking. Work out in the morning, if possible, since evening activity can keep the body stimulated and awake.

Block sources of light and noise from the bedroom. Rooms with big windows should be covered with dark shades. Use earplugs if noise is a disturbance or turn on a white noise machine or fan to muffle sounds.

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