Our modern lives strongly encourage the development night owl sleeping habits. There’s 24-hours services, bustling nightlife, artificial lighting and the lure of the internet.
We’ve clearly become far less dependent on natural sunlight, but if we are not careful this habit will catch up with us. It can become increasingly difficult to wake up early in the mornings amongst other negative health implications.
Benefits of Becoming an Early Bird
As the expression goes, the early bird catches the worm! More specifically, here are a number of reasons change to sleep early and wake up early:
- You will feel energized, refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead
- The peace of early morning and extra time will skyrocket your productivity
- You will accomplish more with your day without working harder
- Studies have shown you are likely to be happier and healthier overall!
Clever Tricks to Banish Your Night Owl Habits
Changing your sleeping habits will be challenging, but with the right strategies and a couple of tricks, you’ll be rising with the birds in no time!
1. During the Day: Restore Natural Light Exposure
It’s strongly believed a significant contributor to unhealthy sleeping habits is a separation from natural sunlight. Many of us spend the majority of our day under artificial lighting, not to mention blue lighting from computer screens and mobile devices.
Our modern lifestyles can utterly confuse our natural body clocks, even preventing the release of sleep-inducing melatonin.
So, to help you sleep early and wake up early, you should first try to increase your natural exposure to sunlight:
- Open your curtains before you go to sleep, the flood of natural light entering your room in the morning will ensure you rise with the birds. This will certainly help kick start your natural circadian rhythm.
Then you should decrease your exposure to unnatural sources later in the day. Here are a couple ways to follow the natural light as it fades, winding down your environment to mimic it:
- Dim the lights as the evening progresses. Use shaded lights and lamps to create a more relaxed environment
- An hour or so before bed, shut down all electronic devices without excuses. This includes the TV, laptop, and any mobile devices
2. In the Evening: Have a Nighttime Routine
It’s easy to get wrapped up with work and other commitments. Before you know it, it’s already 10PM and you’re still wide-awake. To break this habit you need to set yourself a simple nighttime routine.
- Start off with a gentle alarm/reminder at least an hour before bedtime. This will signal the start of your evening wind down.
- Tie up loose ends, finish up what you’re doing and shut down your computer and electronic devices.
- When you are ready for bed, retire to a dimmed bedroom and perform a relaxing activity such as reading
- Finally before sleeping, remind yourself why it’s important to wake up early and visualize it happening.
Building a simple bedtime ritual enables you to wind down gradually and get you off to sleep nice and early.
3. In the Morning: Wake Up Physically and Mentally
Eventually, you should be able to ditch your alarm clock altogether. However, during this transitional stage, having an alarm is going to be a dreaded essential. Use these tricks to help you wake up more naturally:
- Don’t make the mistake of setting an obnoxious alarm, it will only serve to ramp up your stress. Instead, wake up gently to the sound of a radio talk show, podcast or similar. Hearing these conversations will also serve to awaken your mind.
- Move your alarm as far away from your bed as possible. The mere act of standing up and going to switch off your alarm will wake up physically.
- To ensure to your fully awake and reduce the chance of a retreat back to the bed, splash your face with cold water.
4. Bonus: Take a Camping Trip
Separating yourself from all your distractions and artificial stimuli can be beneficial to your overall health. Also, there’s no more effective way to reset your body clock than returning to more natural roots.
Going out to rise and shine with the birds is a powerful indirect trick. You will be working physically during the day, basking in the natural sunlight and winding down over a campfire in the evening.
If you fancy a weekend away, camping could help you slip back into a more harmonious sleeping pattern.
Featured photo credit: Emma Simpson via unsplash.com