Published on May 5, 2021

How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule And Feel More Well-Rested

How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule And Feel More Well-Rested

“I try to sleep early but I can’t fall asleep because my mind keeps racing.” “I wake up at 2 am and can’t go back to sleep.” “I’m so busy I can only get 5 hours of sleep a night.”


Many people are looking for ways on how to fix their sleep schedules. It’s a hot topic—and it should be.

One study showed that not sleeping enough is basically like being drunk. When they measured the accuracy in shooting a target in the military after sleeping a certain amount of hours, they found that men who slept for more than 7 hours had an accuracy of 98%. For those who slept 6 hours, the accuracy dropped to 50%. That’s almost a 50% drop!

But it gets worse: those who slept for 5 hours had an accuracy of only 23%, and those who slept for less than 5 hours had an accuracy of 13%. Yes, not sleeping enough is basically like being drunk![1]

Sleep doesn’t only influence your accuracy, but it also affects other areas of your life:

  • Emotionally: you get cranky, irritable, or even depressed
  • Mentally: you can’t focus well or remember important information
  • Somatically: your body feels achy and sore
  • Physically: your cells can’t repair, the inflammation in your body goes up, and all kinds of health issues arise

So, why is it important to not only sleep enough but also have a steady sleep schedule?


Your body needs a rhythm. The wake-sleep cycle is also called the circadian rhythm. It’s a constant play between cortisol and melatonin. Cortisol is your get-up-and-go hormone in the morning. It gets activated with sunlight. Melatonin is your sleep hormone and can only increase when cortisol goes down in the evening.

I know you thought of stress when I mentioned cortisol, and you’re right about that. Cortisol goes up when we are stressed, have an infection or inflammation in the body, and when we are digesting food.[2] If you’re that person who wakes up at 2 am and can’t fall back asleep, that is your cortisol speaking. It’s too high and, therefore, melatonin is too low.

In this article, I’ll share with you five tips on how to fix your sleep schedule.

1. Define Your Sleep Rhythm

Everybody is different. Find what works for you. Do you feel most rested when you sleep early and wake up early? Or are you more of an evening person who’s more productive when sleeping late and waking up late?

Listen to your body, and pick your sleep schedule. Don’t worry if you’re not sure about it. Look at it as an experiment. Pick your time of going to bed and your time of waking up, and test it out for a week. Doesn’t feel right? Switch it up until you find a rhythm that feels good.

Need some extra support to fix your schedule? Take the Power of When Quiz and find your Sleep Chronotype.

There’s an interesting 15-minute video training at the end to know more about the effects on your sleep when you exercise, eat, drink alcohol, drink coffee, etc.


2. Create a 5-Minute Morning Routine

Five minutes is enough to tell your body that it’s time to wake up and to prime your brain to be in the right mood, to be focused, and to feel positive. In those first five minutes of the day, your brain wakes up and switches from a subconscious state to a conscious state. This basically means that any input you get and anything you do in those first five minutes will set the tone for the rest of your day.

If you wake up in a rush, you turn on your WiFi right away and check your messages, you watch the news, you think of everything you still need to do, and run out the door, those influence the rest of your day. Your mind feels scattered, you’re all-over-the-place, you don’t feel fully present, and your stress levels go through the roof.

Find a mini-morning routine so that you can wake up feeling more well-rested, calm, and in control of your day. Create a set of habits that you can repeat every day so your brain doesn’t need to make decisions yet, like waking up and drinking a glass of water with lime, making your bed, thinking of three things you’re grateful for, looking out the window with a cup of tea, or going for a quick walk to get some sunlight in. Soaking up that sunlight in the morning will even help you fall asleep faster at night.

3. Calm Down Your Brain in the Evening

Another tip on how to fix your sleep schedule is learning how to calm down your brain in the evening. It’s important to prepare your body and your brain for sleep.

We want our cortisol levels to go down so that melatonin can go up. If we’re still receiving lots of input from social media, movies, the news, or we’re engaging in a heated discussion, our brain will still be up-and-running processing the information and emotions swirling around, instead of slowing down for a good night’s sleep.

How can you create an evening wind-down of one or preferably two hours before going to sleep where you completely disconnect and relax your system?

First of all, focus on output instead of input. We are living in such an input society where we keep consuming more information and new impulses through the media. We’re making our brains work overtime, even in the evening, by reading more books, listening to more podcasts, answering more messages. What kind of output can you focus on?


Whether it’s journaling, drawing, meditating, find something you can do that can either come out of you instead of putting new things in or something that can give your brain a break by doing something more physical like stretching, yoga, breathing, or walking.

Secondly, don’t watch any screens. The blue light from your phone or laptop screen will block melatonin production. If you do need to watch a screen, install a blue light filter. This will create a red glow on your screen in the evenings so that your eyes can rest and melatonin doesn’t get blocked. Depending on your device and system, you can find many great free options.

Thirdly, don’t eat or drink anything before going to sleep. Like mentioned before, cortisol goes up when you’re digesting food. Try not to eat or drink anything at least two hours before bedtime. If you do feel hungry, go for good protein options instead of carbohydrates. There are even foods with protein that stimulate the production of melatonin, like almonds. If you do want to drink something, go for some relaxing tea like chamomile, lavender, or valerian.

4. Upgrade Your Bedroom

Make sure your bedroom is super sleep-friendly with a good quality mattress, fresh sheets, good blinds to block the light from interrupting your sleep and make sure it’s not too humid or hot. It’s worth investing in the greatest sleep circumstances. You spend about 33 years of your life in bed![3]

Use your bed only for sleeping and making love. We need to train our brains in our favor. If we tell our brains that the bed is only a place for sleep, it will respect that and help us fall asleep faster.

On the other hand, if you sometimes use your laptop in the bed, watch movies, scroll your social media feed, your brain will think it can start doing other mental activities when you’re actually just trying to sleep.

If you can’t fall asleep and your brain is racing, get back up, walk around, read a book in the living room, drink some lavender tea or diffuse some lavender oil, and try again. Don’t just twist and turn in the bed hoping you’ll fall asleep soon. To train our brains to fall asleep faster and respect our sleep schedule, it’s better to get up, leave the bedroom, and then come back to try again.


5. Bring Down Your Stress Levels

Last but not least on how to fix your sleep schedule, you need to keep your cortisol levels low. It can peak for short moments, and that is totally natural. But when you are chronically stressed and your cortisol is high all the time, the effects on your health can be detrimental.

This is why it’s so important to work on your stress management skills. Which tools do you have in your toolbox already that you can use? What gives you that feeling of calmness? How can you do more of that, especially during your evening wind down?

You can either try different stress management practices at home or get help from a stress coach:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Journaling
  • Reframing problems
  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Connecting with positive people
  • Laughing
  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Doing yoga

Find out what fits you as a person and what you can easily implement even when life gets in the way. We all fall off the wagon and forget about these practices now and then. It’s never too late to get back on that horse and restart a regular relaxation practice.

Final Thoughts

“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”—Thomas Dekker

High levels of cortisol don’t always come from mental stress. It can be physical stress too when your immune system is fighting against bacteria, viruses, toxins, injuries, or certain foods. If you feel that might be the case, it is worth investigating more into your physical health and finding where the inflammation in your body is coming from.

And with that, I’m wishing you a lovely evening and a great night’s rest!


More Tips on How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule

Featured photo credit: Kalegin Michail via


[1] Centers of Disease Control and Prevention: 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep
[2] Healthline: High Cortisol Symptoms: What Do They Mean?
[3] Dreams: Your Life In Numbers

More by this author

Maya Lombarts

Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach and founder of Healthy High Achievers

How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule And Feel More Well-Rested

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Last Updated on May 14, 2021

3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation

3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation

One of the most serious – and common – causes of chronic disease is inflammation.

High levels of inflammation in the body cause your cells to deteriorate and lose their ability to function properly. In turn, this leads to the development of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune dysfunction, and other disorders.

Inflammation is a necessary biological process that kickstarts your immune system. Chemical mediators alert the body to the areas that need defending or repairing. Unfortunately, when inflammation continues for too long, it can have serious consequences.

The level of inflammation in your body is influenced by a number of factors, including diet, lifestyle, and environment.[1]

In the gut, inflammation can also be caused by an imbalance of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. When harmful microbes or yeast such as Candida grow and spread, they can severely damage the lining of the gut. The resulting immune response can cause further inflammation and damage.

Fortunately, reducing gut inflammation can be a matter of altering the choices you make in everyday life. In fact, there are three simple steps you can take today to reduce inflammation in your gut. Let’s take a look!

1. Drink More Water to Get Rid of Toxins

Every single day, we are exposed to toxins. Air pollutants, heavy metals, mold, and airborne pathogens are around us all the time – without us even knowing it.

Many of our foods are full of toxins too, like pesticides, antibiotics, and even added sugars.

These toxins are serious contributors to inflammation. They ‘turn on’ genes that promote inflammation causing cancer, heart disease. In the gut, these toxins can cause imbalances in your gut flora that allow inflammatory chemicals to be released. This inflammation promotes changes elsewhere in the body that can lead to chronic diseases.


One of the best ways to flush toxins from the body is also one of the simplest. Drink more water! Drinking plenty of water each day is an effective and essential way to help your gut and body detoxify:

  • Your intestinal tract needs water to function optimally, moving waste efficiently through the gut and out of the bowels.
  • Your liver and kidneys are two of your body’s most important detoxification organs. Both of these require a constant supply of water in order to function properly.
  • Your sweat also flushes toxins out of your body. Sweat is largely made up of water.

Just as importantly, each of your cells requires adequate hydration to carry out its proper functions. Studies have shown that inadequate cellular hydration can contribute to the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals and even lead to inflammatory disorders.[2]

In general, the more hydrated you are, the less inflammation will be present in your body.

What to Do:

Try to drink 2-3L of water each day, or six to eight glasses. Make sure your water is fresh and filtered, or at least free of contaminants such as chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals.

It may be helpful to carry a bottle of water with you throughout the day, so you can keep sipping it instead of guzzling a large amount of water at once.

One of the healthiest ways to drink water is with a squeeze of lemon juice. Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and can boost your immunity.

Not sure if you’re properly dehydrated? There’s an easy way to find out! Check the color of your urine when you’re next in the bathroom. If it’s yellow, your body likely needs more water. If it’s clear, you’re properly hydrated.

2. Exercise Regularly to Keep Your Detoxification Organs Active

Daily exercise is absolutely essential for keeping your whole body in good working order, including your gut.

Physical activity stimulates your body’s major detoxification organs, including your intestines, urinary tract, sweat glands, circulatory system, and lymphatics.


When these systems are able to move toxins and waste out of the body, inflammation is kept to a minimum.

New research shows that as little as 20 minutes of exercise could have anti-inflammatory effects on the gut and the entire body.

Exercise improves the body’s anti-inflammatory response by activating the sympathetic nervous system. This boosts your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. As a result, your body releases hormones including epinephrine and norepinephrine into the bloodstream, which have the job of activating the adrenal receptors of immune cells.

In a recent study, researchers examined the effects of a single 20-minute session of exercise on immune system activation. They found that even this small amount of exercise was enough to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by 5%.[3]

Inflammation is a necessary part of the body’s immune response, but too much inflammation can lead to disease. Chronic inflammation may contribute to diabetes, obesity, celiac disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

It seems that even short periods of exercise can reduce the body’s inflammatory response, which may lead to exercise being recommended as a part of future treatment plans for inflammatory conditions.

Exercise also forces fresh blood to your tissues, which reduces inflammation by helping flush away metabolic debris. It provides nutrients to inflamed or damaged tissues, which facilitates repair and restoration.

Just like hydration, exercise also keeps your digestive system moving and promotes good digestive health, further reducing inflammation in your gut.

What to Do:

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s vital that you make a plan to walk, jog, swim, or stretch for at least 30 minutes every day.


Most modern phones now come with some kind of activity tracker. For example, if you own an iPhone then you might already be familiar with the iOS Health app. This handy app will track the steps that you take each day. Many people aim for 10,000 steps per day, which is a very healthy goal to have.

Equally, try to avoid sitting for extended periods of time. If you work long hours, set a timer to get yourself up and moving on a regular basis, at least every hour.

And, as I mentioned earlier, be sure to follow your exercise with plenty of water!

3. Take Curcumin — a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Remedy

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, a bright orange spice. It’s one of the most powerful, natural, anti-inflammatory remedies on earth, especially for the gut.

Curcumin aids digestion by relaxing the smooth muscles on the walls and helping with the movement of food through the intestines. It also helps to relieve the buildup of gas and bloating as food is being broken down.

In the colon, curcumin promotes a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is essential for your immune system to function optimally.  It also encourages cells of the intestinal lining to regenerate and heal following damage caused by pathogenic bacteria or yeast overgrowth such as Candida.

Recent studies have even shown that curcumin may an effective means of inhibiting intestinal fungal infections. Clinical trials have reported that high concentrations of curcumin have a powerful antifungal effect against this harmful yeast, as well as other fungal infections. There is evidence that curcumin can inhibit the growth of Candida albicans more effectively than common antifungal drugs.[4]

Research has shown that curcumin’s medicinal activity is largely due to its phytochemicals. These are plant chemicals that harbor antioxidative and antibacterial properties. These phytochemicals may also help to ease nausea caused by mental issues such as anxiety and stress.

The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity in curcumin may also help reduce gut pain caused by spicy foods, alcohol, or pathogenic bacteria. The incredible compounds in curcumin support your natural digestive processes, which can mean that your gut doesn’t have to work as hard to break down food. 


What to Do:

Taking curcumin is as simple as finding a quality supplement from a good health store.

You can also blend turmeric powder into smoothies, meals or a turmeric latte. Be sure to add a healthy fat such as coconut oil, as well as black pepper. This helps your body to absorb the active constituents of the curcumin.

The Bottom Line

When reducing inflammation in your gut, your first priority should be to reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory factors in your diet and lifestyle.

The three steps mentioned above are very easy to incorporate into your daily routines, and will help to minimize the inflammatory processes happening inside your body.

By supporting your body’s detoxification functions with adequate exercise and hydration, you’ll be dramatically reducing the amount of harmful toxins that your immune system has to fight every day. Fewer toxins means your body can focus more on healing!

This is significantly improved by adding curcumin to your daily diet, whether as a supplement or in your meals. Curcumin is a remarkable ingredient for an inflamed gut: it will help soothe those irritated membranes, fight off yeasts such as Candida, and support the healing of the intestinal lining.

Take these simple steps and start to reduce your inflammation today. Your gut will thank you!

More Resources About Gut Health

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via


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