Waking Up For Night Owls

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Does the early bird really catch the worm? Sure there are tons of benefits from getting a head start on the day, for example getting in exercise before work, having time to make breakfast, and leaving for work early to miss the busy commute. It seems like a productive and stress free way to start the day, right? If only just could just lift your head off the pillow. Here’s 8 tips on how to help you be more well rested, and ease into your mornings.

1. Snoozers are losers

That snooze button isn’t doing anyone any favors. Bargaining with the alarm clock for five extra minutes of sleep actually causes the brain to wake up slowly, which in turn can result in making you feel more tired and less productive. The reason for this is because those extra five minutes happen at the end of the cycle when sleep is lighter. The brain creates new memories when we sleep and that process doesn’t happen between alarms.

2. There is no magic number of sleeping time

We all require different amounts of sleep. If you want to establish how much you really need, you should take advantage of not using an alarm clock when you have some free time from work and other commitments. Monitor your sleeping patterns and listen to your body to help you identify just how many hours you need in bed to help you function at your best.

3. Create a relaxing bed time routine

We should be unwinding and powering down our brains at night. Turning off cell phones and the lights are beneficial to prepare for a good night’s sleep. Electronics and lights keep our brains active and also disrupt our melatonin production which can cause lack of productivity and even weight again. Some studies also suggest that taking a warm shower has benefits in sending us off to the land of nod quicker. Taking a warm a shower before bedtime raises your body temperature to give you that nice sleepy feeling. It takes on average 5-10 minutes to fall asleep so give yourself that extra time in relaxation mode.

4. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake

Alcohol does help people to fall asleep quicker and to sleep more deeply for a while, however it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep happens about 90 minutes after we fall asleep. It’s the stage of sleep when people dream, and it’s thought to be restorative. When REM sleep is disrupted this can cause daytime drowsiness and poor concentration. And the more you drink before bed, the more pronounced these effects.

It is believed that even caffeine consumed six hours before bed reduced total nightly sleep amounts by more than one hour. Cut off at 2pm or 12 hours before bed to ensure you get a better night’s sleep.

5. Get outside as soon as you wake up

Get those feet of the covers and walk outside. The bright light of the sun reduces sleep-inducing melatonin, so it’s very effective in waking us up. A quick jog or brisk walk in the sunshine will do wonders to improve your health, mood and energy levels.

6. Use an effective alarm clock

When will power alone won’t work, invest in an alarm clock that makes you jump out of your bed in the morning. The Flying Alarm could be the perfect solution. When the alarm goes off, a helicopter flies into the air, carrying the key to turn off the alarm. The only way to silence the alarm is to get out of bed and find the key.

7. Download sleep apps

There is an app for problem these days, and there are some really great apps out there for encouraging a better night sleep. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is a smart app that works to analyze your sleep quality and wake you at the lightest stage of your sleep cycle gently with soothing tones. All you need to do is place your iPhone under the sheet on a corner of your bed and the app does the rest. Some people sleep better to the sound of white noise or soothing sounds. The Sleep app prepares you for sleep with with hundreds of soothing sounds, gentle lullabies, and hours of relaxing music.

8. Don’t expect to change your sleeping habits overnight

Many studies suggest that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, ease yourself into a new routine, start by waking just 15 – 30 minutes earlier each day at the start until you work up to the time you want to wake up every day. Reward yourself with your progress by watching those late night TV shows you didn’t dare to miss before in the mornings instead with a cup of coffee.

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