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How to Reset Your Sleep Over Winter Break

College student sound asleep in bed

Pulled one too many all-nighters this semester? Need a sleep reset? We're all adults here – we can admit that college is not necessarily the most conducive environment for healthy, restorative sleep. 

If you're headed home for the holidays and plan to use your long winter break to catch up on a semester's worth of sleep, read this first! We’re breaking down how to reset your sleep the right way for optimal health.

Young woman scurled up asleep in bedYoung woman scurled up asleep in bed

Do You Need a Sleep Reset?

Habits and routines often define our days. This is especially true when it comes to the quality of our sleep. You may think that sleep isn’t something you can do wrong, but you’d be surprised! 

Sleep is essential for both our mental and physical health. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t getting proper sleep and do things daily, whether consciously or subconsciously, that set us up for poor sleep at night. 

Do you find yourself tired no matter how much you sleep? Never really feel fully rested? If your sleep schedule is off from too many late nights, waking up often or napping during the day, you may need a sleep reset. 

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Sleep?

You’ve heard it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, but what about sleep? Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much sleep. While it’s encouraged to get the amount of sleep your body needs, getting more sleep than your body needs is known as oversleeping, and it has some very real side effects. 

The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep. While everyone is different, getting more than this amount consistently or spending too much time horizontal during the holidays indeed does harm to the body. This may leave you feeling sluggish, foggy, groggy, lazy, unmotivated, fatigued and, basically, even more tired – the opposite of what you want!

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Identify Your Poor Sleep Habits

Overdoing it on sleep is typically a result of having overdone it in other areas of life – also known as burnout. If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends at college, you may want nothing more than to sleep all winter break to make up for it. 

Burnout and poor sleep habits go hand in hand. Both are a result of lack of boundaries and routine. The first step is to identify your poor habits so you can fix them! One of the most common poor sleep habits is not prioritizing it and accumulating a sleep debt you then feel you need to make up for. 

Other poor sleep habits include: 

Alarm clock showing 7:05 a.m.Alarm clock showing 7:05 a.m.

7 Ways to Reset Your Sleep 

Our quality of sleep is dependent on our body’s internal clock – also known as our circadian rhythm. It’s easy to throw off our circadian rhythm, but luckily there is a lot you can do reset it. Here are the top ways in which to reset your sleep schedule.

1. Morning Sun Exposure

Our circadian rhythms rely on external cues, like light, to operate optimally. They are heavily dependent on light exposure and can be disrupted by it as well. One of the best ways to reset your sleep is to expose yourself to natural sunlight first thing in the morning. This cue tells your brain to stop producing melatonin which is our sleep hormone. Conversely, darkness tells your brain to make more melatonin. 

2. Create a Sleep Sanctuary

Environment is everything when it comes to sleep. For the best results, be sure to create a bedroom space that is quiet, cold, dark and comfortable. We recommend certified organic mattresses and non-toxic bedding because sleep is such a restorative time for the body – no room for toxic chemicals in the bedroom! 

3. Block Blue Light

As mentioned, your circadian rhythm is completely dependent on light. Exposure to blue light in the evening interferes with the darkness required for the body to begin producing melatonin. Try limiting screen time in the evening or incorporating blue light blocking glasses into your evening routine. It’s also recommended to keep LED lights off in the evening and switch to red or amber tones. This will signal to the brain that it is time for bed. 

4. Stay Consistent

Resetting your sleep schedule means you’ll have to stick to one. Consistency is key! Choose a bedtime and wake-up time. Stick to these times every day, even on the weekends, and definitely during winter break. By following a consistent schedule, your internal clock will develop a routine and its own cues. 

Two friends jogging outdoors in the winterTwo friends jogging outdoors in the winter

5. Eat Dinner Early

How you choose to fuel your body affects how it works – seems simple enough, right? Your circadian rhythm is sensitive to your eating habits. Too late of a dinner can delay sleep, so try to eat your last meal 2-3 hours before bed to give yourself time to digest. 

6. Exercise Daily

While evening exercise can overstimulate your body before bed, exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes during the day can drastically improve your sleep. Timing is everything!

7. Cut Back the Caffeine 

Too much caffeine will leave you feeling anxious and overstimulated. This can obviously interfere with your sleep. Try cutting back on caffeine and avoiding coffee, tea or energy drinks once the afternoon hits. 

Your Morning Routine Matters, Too

Your sleep routine actually starts in the morning. This is because our morning routines are paramount for ensuring a restful night's sleep. The actions and choices we make in the morning set the tone for the entire day, influencing our physical and mental well-beings. 

Consistency in waking up at the same time each day helps to regulate our circadian rhythm. By cultivating a nurturing morning routine, we signal to our body and mind that it's time to wake up gradually, promoting a smoother transition into the evening and ultimately contributing to a more peaceful and restorative sleep.

If better rest is on your wish list this year, we hope you take the time at home during the holidays for a sleep reset. There’s no better time than winter break for some self-improvement to set yourself up for a better new year. Happy holidays from Happsy!

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