delayed sleep phase

We all know what delayed sleep phase syndrome is—even if we don’t know it by name. Remember how you felt last Monday morning—when the alarm went off for work? If getting out of bed was a struggle—harder than it is on other workdays—then you most likely were experiencing delayed sleep—brought on by staying up late, and sleeping in, over the weekend.

The human circadian rhythm is 25 hours long. In a 24 hour world, we continually need to re-set this rhythm—usually by waking up at a set hour every day. If we allow ourselves to sleep in on weekends, however, we begin the process of allowing our natural clock to take over. If we wake up an hour later, we want to fall asleep an hour later. If we fall asleep an hour later, we will want to wake up an hour later. And so on.

The best way to limit the natural tendency of our body to phase delay is to get up every
morning at the same time. If you stayed up late on Friday night, make sure you get out of bed within an hour of your normal wake-up time on Saturday. Do the same thing on Sunday morning—even if you stayed up late again on Saturday night. By the time it becomes dark on Sunday night, you will be feeling sleepy, and it will be easy for you to fall into bed early, and get that sleep you need for the work week.

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