To achieve a truly good night sleep, you need to synchronize again your organism’s sleep-wake cycle and your circadian rhythm. With a regular sleep schedule, meaning to go to bed and wake up at the same time on a daily basis, you can have a more energized and refreshing sleep than if you sleep the same amount of time but at different intervals. The same principle applies even if you only manage to modify your regular sleeping schedule with an hour or two. What is really important is to remain consistent.
Establish a regular bedtime. It is important to go to bed every night at the same time. It is best to set a time when you generally feel tired or even sleepy. This bedtime routine should not be broken on weekends, when you might consider staying up late. In case you need to modify your bedtime, it is preferable to make the changes in small increments, for instance 10-15 minutes earlier or later every day.
Get out of bed at the same time every morning. If you are getting sufficient sleep, you should be able to easily wake up without any alarm. If you need to use an alarm to wake up on time, you should consider setting an earlier bedtime. It is preferable to stay with your normal wake up time on weekends as well.
Nap to compensate the lost sleep. If you have to compensate a couple of lost hours, it is better to take a daytime nap than opting for sleeping late. Thus, you will recover the lost hours and will not interfere with your natural sleep-wake cycle that would cause insomnia even for days.
Take a nap, but do it smart. Even if a nap can boosts your energy level, it can still make insomnia a lot worse. If you are experiencing such sleeping problems, it is better not to take a nap during the day. However, if you need a nap, take in the early afternoon and limit it to half an hour.
Get rid of after-dinner sleepiness. If you feel sleepy long before your usual bedtime, just get off the couch and start an activity that would moderately stimulate you, for instance, preparing clothes for the next day, calling a friend or relative, or washing the dishes. If you fall asleep on the couch for a certain period of time, you might wake up sometimes in the night, without being able to easily go back to sleep.
Find out your most favorable sleep schedule
First, locate a time frame (a couple of weeks at most) when you can freely experiment with various sleep and wake times. In the evening, go to sleep at the same time and sleep until you wake up ion your own, without using any alarm. If your sleep is disturbed, it might set you back for weeks. As you go to sleep and wake up at the same time, it is just a matter of time, till you discover your optimum sleep schedule.