Wake up at the same time
I know, I know, I know. There is nothing more glorious than to sleep in on the weekend after a crazy long week and a late night blowing off some steam. Unfortunately, the benefits are not as great as they seem.
The Why: Has Monday ever come around and you have to will yourself out of bed and inject a strong dose of caffeine just to barely function? This is very common and you might have heard of it as the Monday Blues. There is another term for it. Social jetlag.
Social jetlag is similar to the jetlag that you are more familiar with except, you did not travel across multiple time zones to an exotic locale. You just stayed up too late or slept in too long. Your body is only able to adjust its internal clocks in 1 hour increments per day generally speaking.
During the week you more or less keep a routine schedule due to work schedules, but when the weekend comes around, you stay up late and sleep in multiple hours past your normal weekday wake up time. All of this sends the message to your body that you are in a different timezone and the clocks are lagging behind. Your internal clocks have become disconnected to the outside clocks. This can cause unusual drowsiness, poor concentration, weight gain, sugar and carb cravings, body temp issues, and hormone disruption.
Everyone needs to have a social life. If you are playing with the clocks every single weekend just know that it will be making your goal harder and that your body is paying a price.
If your weeknights are looking like you are going to bed at all different times, then taking a step back and seeing what situations are causing this are in order.
Trying to play catch-up on sleep on the weekend doesn’t work. Getting consistent sleep each night is the answer. This takes making sleep a priority for your overall health. It’s a weird conundrum. On one hand you want to stay up and push through and get more work done or keep having fun, but the rebound effect of poor sleep is a higher incidence of depression and anxiety, weight gain, poor decision making, and taking longer to do tasks while making more mistakes.
It is almost impossible to repay your sleep debt on the weekend. Let me explain.
Monday thru Friday you short change yourself an hour and a half. This would add up to 7.5 hours of sleep debt. Now you may have the luxury of not having any young kids to wake you up on the weekends and can sleep in 3 hours each day, but the sleep you get by sleeping in is different from the sleep you get during the first part of the night.
Sleep during the morning is mainly light sleep. It doesn’t do much in restoring your body like deep sleep does which occurs in the first half of the night.
The other thing that happens is you disrupt your circadian rhythm by starting your day 3 hours later. Do this for 2 days and then Sunday night comes along and you can’t fall asleep till 1am. The reason for this is because your internal clock is lagging by 3 hours compared to the clock on your night stand. It then takes you to almost Wednesday or Thursday to get your body back on track only to repeat it again on the weekend.
Acute periods are going to happen. That is life. Get through them and then re-balance yourself. Control what you can control. Problems and issues start arising when it is chronic. A sign of someone in control of their sleep is their ability to get back on track quickly.
Try This: Calculate what your ideal amount of sleep is. What amount of sleep do you feel the best with? If this seems to be hard to come up with on the spot, then there is a good chance you are sleep deprived.
Start with 6.5 hours. If you find yourself still tired after a week of 6.5 hour nights, then up it 15-30 minutes and try that for another week.
Figure out what time you get up the most frequently during the week. This is your wake up time. Work backwards counting back 7.5 hours. The extra 60 minutes is for the pre-bed ritual stuff before you actually fall asleep. So taking a shower, packing lunch for the next day, brushing teeth, or reading a book. This time is your adult bedtime. Guard it and embrace it. Everyone feels better when they get enough sleep. No one felt better the next day watching another episode of TV.
Strive to hit this bedtime. Look over your daily schedule and schedule sleep in. Make it happen. Sleep should be just as important as getting to work on time.
I have found it helps to set an alarm on my phone to remind me to start getting ready for bed. If you have a wake up alarm why not a bedtime alarm?
For weekends, you can extend your wake up time by no more than 30-45 minutes without causing too much disruption.
Below is a study to support this habit.