You read about it – all those successful people who get up before dawn. You try to get up, but morning is just not your time of day. Still, you’re willing to work at making a change from being the night owl to the morning lark. Here are 5 things you should know.
1. Your Genes Are Working Against You. And, that makes change harder. About half of our sleep pattern is determined by the genetic makeup of your circadian rhythms, according to Dr. Nathaniel Watson, co-director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Centre. He knows what he’s talking about as he’s also been tapped to be president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. However, Watson says you can shift your sleep pattern and here are 4 tips to help.
2. Light Tells You It’s Morning. Dr. Watson says that lights is more powerful than medication. Let the morning light shine – on you. To wake yourself up, expose yourself to light first thing. Open the blinds or, even, visit your backyard. If it’s mid-winter and there’s not much light, you can buy a dawn simulator – a light that gradually grows brighter or you can get a light box that produces 20,000 lux and use it for about 15 minutes first thing in the morning.
3. Dark Says Sleep. You’ve read it over and over. Your bedroom should be dark. No screen time, no TV. Dr. Watson explains that all of those have blue light – light in the blue wavelength. Blue light is a powerful stimulant and it’s shouting wake up. Not a good message when you’re trying to get ready to go to sleep. Everything off at least an hour before bedtime.
4. It Has To Be A Routine. A good sleep routine is important for everyone, but if you’re trying to change your sleep pattern it becomes a must. That means that you need to go to bed early and wake up early every night – even Saturday night! When you change your schedule on the weekend, it’s called social jetlag – and it’s a problem.
5. There Is A Best Sleep Time. Another doctor, Dr. Kenneth Pang, who specializes in sleep disorders says that everyone – no matter who you are – sleeps best between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. That’s a schedule that gives night owls a little extra time after dark and a little more sleep than rising with the sun in the morning. Try it and see if it leaves you more rested than ever!
Don’t forget the bed. Being comfortable helps you get to sleep and being supported helps you wake up to a pain-free morning. Bedding experts recommend trying a latex foam bed. They have support and bounce and sleep cooler than other foams. You can get great deals on latex beds from internet mattress dealers. Plus, they’ll give you a long trial time (as long as 120 days) so while you’re trying to become and early bird, you can also try out your new bed – and return it if you’re not satisfied.