10 Ways to Reset Your Sleep Cycle
First, log the hours you sleep each night for a week or two. Average them out. Let's say that you sleep about 4 hours a night. If you need to get up at 6 a.m., start going to bed at 2 a.m.
Don't nap during the day. "You want to build up your sleep drive," Ju says. Once you're sleeping solidly the whole 4 hours you're in bed, gradually move your bedtime 15 minutes earlier until you're back on track. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
5. Limit Caffeine
You may be tempted to use caffeine to get over the afternoon hump. Don't. Instead, avoid caffeine after lunch. It can affect your sleep that night.
6. Adapt for Travel
You can take the edge off jet lag, especially when traveling east, by shifting your sleep before you leave.
If you're flying east to a time zone where it's 3 hours later -- say from California to New York -- go to bed and get up an hour earlier for 3 days before you leave. By the third day, you should be on the time zone you're heading to.
If you're going west, go to bed and get up an hour later.
If you don't adapt ahead of time, do it as soon as you get there. "Stay up until it's your regular bedtime in your new time zone," says Michael Decker, PhD, D.ABSM, of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. A brisk walk in the sunlight may also help.
7. Split Up Sleep
This can help if you work a night or rotating shift and have trouble sleeping 8 hours straight. Snooze for 4 hours when you get home and 4 hours again before work.
8. Ask Your Doctor About Melatonin
This hormone, which your brain makes at night, seems to help bring on sleep. A 3- or 5-milligram melatonin supplement may help, but be careful.
"More is not necessarily better," says Phil Gehrman, PhD, CBSM, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "It can stay in your brain too long and cancel out any benefits you might get."