How Sleep Syncing Can Give You a Better Night’s Rest

Shandra Martinez

| 4 min read

Lots of people go through phases where their sleep feels more like a rollercoaster. They may be staying up way past their regular bedtimes to get some extra work done, or just watching TV or scrolling social media into the wee hours. Then when those late nights are followed by early-morning alarms, that missing sleep can make them feel terrible. Or the opposite happens: People sleep in too long and feel groggy for hours after they finally get out of bed, then can’t get to sleep at their regular time that night.
Too many of these unsettled sleep schedules can have both physical and mental health consequences. That’s why sleep syncing has become one of the new buzz phrases people are talking about.

What is sleep synching?

While sleep syncing is not a new idea, it’s getting a lot more attention right now because videos discussing its benefits are being shared on social media platforms like TikTok. Sleep synching means closely matching the hours you sleep to your body’s own circadian rhythm as a way to get your best quality sleep. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock, dictating when we feel tired, feel alert, feel hungry and other bodily functions. Sleep syncing means night owls who love to stay up late will go to bed later and sleep until later each morning, while early risers get to bed early so they can be up with the sun.
Now, not everyone’s jobs or family life will allow them to perfectly sync their sleep cycle with their internal body clock, but the quest a lot of us are on for better sleep means it’s worth trying to shift your sleep cycle if you can. Why is striving for better sleep so important? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30% of all Americans surveyed said they get less than the recommended hours of sleep each night. And this can have a big mental and physical impact because so many vital things happen while we sleep. Our brains and bodies need sleep to recharge and function well. The body makes lots of internal fixes while we sleep. It gets rid of toxins, and our nervous system makes repairs.
Not getting enough sleep has been linked to chronic health problems like heart disease, diabetes and obesity. It also can lead to depression.

How to start sleep syncing

If you’re having trouble sleeping - like insomnia or just waking up too many times each night - or if you feel you’re not getting good quality sleep, it may be time to try sleep synching. Because each person is different, you’ll need to experiment a little bit when you start. A recent article in Women’s Health interviewed doctors about the sleep syncing trend and shared these suggestions for getting started:
Spend about two weeks paying attention to your body’s internal clock to understand what your optimal sleep schedule should be.
Get a feel for when your body is naturally tired and try to go to bed then. Sleep without an alarm and see when your body naturally wakes up.
With many sleep experts recommending about 7.5 hours of shut-eye for adults, see how this sleep block best fits with your natural schedule. Is a midnight to 7:30 a.m. sleep schedule best for you? Or does your body feel better on a 10 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. schedule?
Make notes on how you sleep during what feels like your in-sync schedule. Are you falling asleep easily and sleeping through the night? Do you feel refreshed and focused when you wake up?

Benefits of syncing your sleep

Once you figure out your best sleep schedule and sync it with your body’s natural rhythm, you should feel the benefits during the day. Better sleep means you should have improved memory and concentration, feel like you have more energy, and your overall mood should be improved. The key is routine. Once you sync your sleep, it’s important to stick with it and make it part of your regular schedule. Feeling well-rested is a great reward.
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Photo credit: Getty Images

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