Why do we get tired? Most animals and plants have sleep/wake cycles. We wake up, we have a certain amount of energy, and that energy slowly depletes until we get tired enough that we need to sleep and recharge.
There is also another mechanism that helps us maintain a sleep/wake balance, and those are circadian rhythms, also known as biological clocks. This clock makes you most tired between 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. and between 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Problems arise when you are not getting enough sleep to recharge your energy.
How to correct your sleep cycles quickly:
1. Create sleep rituals
Treat sleep time like you do other rituals in your life. When you wake up, you shower, shave, eat breakfast and brush your teeth. Have a ritual for getting ready to sleep. Whatever works for you to encourage restfulness.
2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol (after dinner)
Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake. It can take several hours to use up a jolt from caffeine. Alcohol is a depressant and it can interfere with your sleep/dream cycles making your sleep less effective.
3. Avoid brightly lit screens (this is a hard one for me)
Leave your phone, tablet or laptop in another room. As your eyes soak up light, it tells your brain to stay awake. You can fall asleep reading on your device, but it’s a bright distraction, and you stay awake much longer as a result. If you must have a screen with you, turn the brightness down and look for the “Night Shift” feature which reddens the light, making it easier to fall asleep.
4. Create a sacred sleep chamber
We take sleep for granted because it tends to happen to us sooner or later – whether we want it to or not. But that’s not healthy sleep. Make your bedroom a place of sleep. No televisions, computers, video games or social media. Don’t do stressful things in your bedroom; just use it for sleep.
5. Obey your brain
Sometimes your brain just will not shut up. Our brains do a lot and forget how to stop sometimes. If you’re in bed struggling, frustrated because you can’t sleep, get up! Take a walk, read or listen to some relaxing music. When you go back to bed, you may feel more ready for sleep.
6. Remember: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”
If you have a lot of stuff going on in your life right now, write it down or talk it out. This is the time for sleep. Empty your mind of yesterday’s troubles or tomorrow’s tasks. Whether you write it out or talk it out, just get it out.
These are methods approved by National Sleep Foundation at https://sleep.org/. You can find more good tips there or in this great article by Jason Fitzpatrick for LifeHacker,