Is there a worse sound in the world than an alarm clock? Even hearing one on television or on the radio raises my blood pressure.
What if I told you there was a way to never have to set an alarm again and that you can wake everyday feeling great, naturally.
Most people would like to make positive changes to their sleep but have no idea where to start. They know that they don’t sleep as well as they should but they don’t know why. Valuing your sleep and knowing that all the things you do during the day will directly impact the quality of your sleep is a great place to start.
Next, you need to understand the science of how sleep actually works.
Our sleep/wake cycle is regulated by 2 processes:
- The circadian rhythm is our biological clock or “body clock” and is affected by light and darkness. “Setting” our circadian rhythm involves going to bed and waking at the same time each day and using proper sleep hygiene.
- Homeostatic sleep pressure. This means that after a good night’s sleep we wake feeling refreshed and our sleep pressure (or need to sleep) is very low. As the day goes on, our sleep pressure rises and we begin to feel tired. Our need to sleep increases throughout the day until we go to bed.
What all of this means is that the reason we need alarm clocks in the first place is that we are not getting the quality or quantity of sleep we need so we are being woken when we aren’t ready to be done sleeping.
So how do we change our habits and throw that alarm clock away for good?
- The first thing you need to do is understand exactly how much sleep you need each night. It is recommended that adults sleep between 7-9 hours at night but that is a big variance. If you require 8 hours of sleep at night but you are only sleeping 7, you are missing a full hour of sleep each night and that is going to have a huge impact on your circadian rhythm.
- It may take some time to figure out how much sleep you actually need. You can start by calculating the earliest time you need to wake up. If on weekdays you need to wake at 7 am you can count back how many hours of sleep you need to determine your ideal bedtime. This may take some time and I recommend trying it when you don’t have to be somewhere early in the morning.
- Next, you need to be very consistent and go to bed at the same time each night. It may feel strange in the beginning but your body will really love it!
- Keep your bedroom super dark. Our bodies can be very sensitive to light when we are trying to sleep and a super dark bedroom will help you sleep faster and prevent you from waking too early.
- Natural sunlight first thing in the morning is a great way to help set your circadian rhythm. As darkness is important at night, so is natural sunlight during the day.
- Don’t stay in bed after you wake. Once you wake up, get up and get some sun! Staying in your bed will make you feel groggy and deprive you of the big burst of energy that 5 minutes in the sun will provide.
If you try these suggestions for a few weeks with no improvement, you may want to look at the quality of your sleep.
Many factors can affect our sleep – in fact pretty much everything we do affects our sleep negatively or positively.
If you are struggling to get up in the morning or feel you have poor quality sleep please reach out and take advantage of my FREE sleep evaluation