Imagine a world without alarm clocks. A world where you awake on your own, fresh-faced and wide-eyed. With time to take full advantage of the morning, lingering over coffee and even hitting the gym. Does it sound unreachably far from reality? Going to bed earlier might sound like a simple solution, but anyone who has tried to tell her wide-awake brain to shut off knows that is easier said than done. The bad news? Everyone is born with their circadian clock, which regulates our sleep schedule, quality, and needs. The good news? You can train it.
Why We Need Sleep
The quality and quantity of your sleep is the biggest factor on your ability to rise and shine. The eight-hour-sleep is a myth that does not apply to everyone; in fact, a better number to strive for is seven hours. Sleep is your body’s chance to rest and rejuvenate, but it depends a lot on your circadian clock. This inner control panel can be controlled, however. Read on.
What You’re Doing Wrong
There are a couple actions that are guaranteed to wreak havoc on your best laid bedtime plans. Avoid these traps to get to sleep on time:
- After-Lunch Coffee — If you are truly having trouble sleeping and getting up in the morning, a mid-afternoon coffee break might have something to do with. The caffeine you take lingers in your system, so try to limit it to mornings.
- Move Your Sweat Session Up — Exercising right before bedtime is like booting your body up right before you pull the plug. If at all possible, exercise earlier and enjoy those endorphins in your waking hours.
- No Late-Night Internet — The blue light from computers and televisions is just the light our body is programmed to stay awake to. Try to follow a 30-minute ban on electronics before you are heading to bed.
Tips on Getting Out of Bed
Follow these five steps from the moment you wake up, and you are practically guaranteed to greet to the day with a smile.
- Have a ‘Why’ for Waking — It might sound corny, but motivation to get out of bed is a significant factor in ‘Mission Morning Person’. So whether that motivation is a gym session or a stop at your local café, make it and get excited about it.
- Don’t Prolong the Agony — Sure, that snooze button may look tempting. But those extra ten minutes of sleep won’t get you anything close to real rest, and they will teach your body the wrong response to an alarm clock.
- Let the Sun Shine — Throw open those shutters and raise the blinds. Bringing in daylight sends strong signals to your body clock. There are fancy high-tech tools, such as graduated-light alarm clocks, for you tech geeks.
- Exercise First—Change your workout time from afternoon to morning. Not only will this help you sleep easier, it will make you so much more alert in the mornings, taking advantage of this naturally productive time of day.
- Fake it ‘Til You Make It—Followed the steps but still not convinced?
- As you train your body clock, you can fake out the outside world by nailing an easy hair-and-makeup routine. Try a low, loose braid (looks good on everyone) and minimal makeup that focuses on widening eyes and covering up dark circles.
Get Started with Fitness: