Sleep is a highly subjective thing. Some adults need their nine hours just to function while others do just fine even with six. Kids also have highly varying sleep patterns – some infants prefer a single, long nap while others wake and fall asleep all through the day.
Adjusting our sleep cycle is a huge lifestyle change. We will effectively be changing the way we functioned for a few decades of our life. There are a few ways to make the job easier and here they are.1
1. Change The Pattern Slowly
Changing an existing sleep routine takes time. Give it a few weeks of consistent effort. Adjust your sleeping time such that you get the same number of sleeping hours that you are accustomed to. If this means falling asleep a bit early, wind down your evening commitments accordingly.2
2. Develop A Routine
Ensure that the sleep routine you follow has as minimal exposure to the screen as possible. Bright lights confuse our body into thinking that it is time to wake up when it probably is quite the opposite.
Include a warm bath, a cup of milk, some reading, or music into your routine. Relax before you sleep, and the hours you get will be much more refreshing.3 And definitely no Netflix and chilling before bedtime!
3. Make The Bedroom Peaceful
We all accumulate a lot of stuff over time, and when we have a relatively smaller living space, we are tempted to shove all of it out of sight and into the bedroom. However, keep the bedroom furnishings and artifacts to a bare minimum.
Leave as much space around you as possible. Position the bed next to a source of natural light. Set up some calming music if you like.4
4. Avoid Caffeine
For those trying to sleep and wake up early, there is no bigger enemy than caffeine. If coffee is your bedtime poison, breaking that habit can help you wake up early after a restful night. Kids must stay as far away from caffeinated drinks as well.5
5. Stop Using An Alarm
Not using an alarm to wake up earlier sounds like the worst idea ever! However, an alarm often only serves to wake us up at a time when we are simply not ready to wake up. Instead, we must depend on our body’s natural rhythm. Most people find that they wake automatically after seven to eight hours of sleep.
It is better not to involve an alarm in the process, as it may actually wake you up earlier than the few more minutes we need, or prompt us to fall back to sleep when it isn’t time yet.6
Some research says that any habit takes 21 days to form. So if nothing else works, try waking up a few minutes early for three weeks to turn it into a habit. If you have done your bit to get adequate rest, you will most likely become a morning person in no time at all.
|↑1||Kecklund, Göran, Torbjörn Åkerstedt, and Arne Lowden. “Morning work: effects of early rising on sleep and alertness.” Sleep 20, no. 3 (1997): 215-223.|
|↑2, ↑3, ↑5||BACK TO SCHOOL SLEEP TIPS. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑4||Fiorentino, Lavinia, and Jennifer L. Martin. “Awake at 4 AM: treatment of insomnia with early morning awakenings among older adults.” Journal of clinical psychology 66, no. 11 (2010): 1161-1174.|
|↑6||Goel, Namni, Mathias Basner, Hengyi Rao, and David F. Dinges. “Circadian rhythms, sleep deprivation, and human performance.” Progress in molecular biology and translational science 119 (2013): 155.|