Do you sleep through half the day and wish you didn’t? Do you try to wake up earlier, but can’t stick with it? Do you want a healthier sleep schedule? This post is for you.
If you’ve been trying for a while to fix your sleep schedule and haven’t managed to yet, you might be handicapping yourself and not even know it.
In this intro post on how to fix your sleep schedule I mentioned that I was probably the biggest night owl possible. Growing up I had always liked staying up late, always worked well at night, and I had always felt awful in the mornings.
I’ve pulled more all nighters than anyone I know, and in second year university I wrote every single paper I had the night before it was due (yes, my time management was bad as well). I would regularly miss class and social engagements because I was sleeping all day—it wasn’t a good way to live.
There are two beliefs that I had, and that you may also have, that work together to prevent you from having a healthy sleep schedule.
The first belief is that there is a certain type of person who wakes up early/has a regular sleep schedule.
Whether this is true or not doesn’t really matter. Some people may be predisposed to prefer night or day, but the “genetic” aspect of this preference is blown way out of proportion.
Even if there is an inborn preference, it is not certainly not deterministic. Just like with introversion, no one is “locked in” to their personality.
I was literally the most “night person” ever, but today I have a perfectly healthy sleep schedule and I can go to bed/wake up whenever I feel like it. I’m no longer trapped in a destructive cycle of staying up until 4 or 5 in the morning and then sleeping until 2 or 3pm. (At the worst points it was more like 9-10am/6-7pm)
If I can change my behaviour for the better in the long term, then so can you.
So while a person might be (somewhat) predisposed to be either a “night owl” or an “early bird”, in reality it mostly just comes down to habits, beliefs, what you’re used to and what you expect from yourself.
It’s important to recognize this first belief, but it alone is not actually the problem. The problem is the corresponding belief that usually comes along with it:
Belief #2: The belief that you are not that type of person
Reinforcing this belief to yourself takes on many different forms, including but not limited to:
“I’m a night owl”
“I’m not a morning person”
“I hate mornings”
“I could never wake up that early”
“Waking up early isn’t for me”
Every time you tell yourself (or someone else) something like this you reinforce that you are not the type of person who wakes up early or has a healthy sleep schedule. You might be doing this to yourself and not even realize it.
The people around you will reinforce this belief as well (mostly unintentionally), as people do this with anything they have come to expect from you. They will unintentionally try to trap you in old behaviours. Just do your best to ignore what they say, and when you change they will eventually recognize and adapt to it.
So if you want to have a better sleep schedule, first acknowledge if you have these beliefs. Then, stop affirming to yourself that you are not the type of person who does what you want to do. Because as long as you think you’re not that type of person, you won’t be. Change in behaviour always starts with change in beliefs.
Read next: How to Fall Asleep Fast in 5 Simple Steps
What do you think? Have you had a messed up sleep schedule in the past? How did you fix it? Do you still have one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.