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A good night’s sleep is something that we all crave. No matter how hectic your day has been, everything calms down after you sleep well.
But when it comes to sleep, timing also matters. Taking an 8-hour afternoon nap is not nearly as effective as sleeping at night.
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This is because we have an internal clock that prompts the body to sleep when it’s dark outside. This inbuilt system within the human body is called the circadian rhythm.
How important is waking up on time?
We sleep at night, but what about the time of waking up. Can you wake up just whenever you want, or does waking at specific times affect your body?
Research shows that waking up early has a positive effect on the body. People who wake up early are happier and healthier than people who sleep in the morning.
Hence, being a morning person has its perks.
The research was conducted by the University of Birmingham, using a group of people consisting of 22 men and 20 women. The participants were people who liked to stay late into the night and sleep somewhere around 2:00 to 2:30 AM and wake up at about 10 AM.
The group was told to sleep 2 hours early and wake up 2 hours early. During this test period, the researchers collected saliva samples.
By analyzing the saliva, the researchers were able to measure the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) and melatonin (sleep hormone) that their body was producing.
The experiment found that having a more structured sleeping pattern reduced the levels of both these hormones. The result was that the participants were more physically active and mentally sharper.
Why you should start sleeping early
One of the criteria for having a productive day is to wake up early. But it should not come at the cost of your sleep hours.
Experts say that the human body needs at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep to recuperate fully.
So you need to sleep on a time that would enable you to wake up early and give you 7 to 9 hours of sleep. For night owls, this is no easy task.
They have made a habit of sleeping very late into that night that their body won’t be ready for sleep at early hours than what they are used to.
However, changes can be made in a very gradual manner. Let us look at how you can train your body to sleep early.
1. Avoid bright lights at night
One of the things that can kill your body’s inclination to sleep in bright light. With bright light, the body has a tendency to stay awake.
This will suppress the sleep-inducing hormones. At night time, reduce the brightness of lights around you, and avoid fluorescent lights if you can.
2. Avoid heavy meals towards the night
When you have a heavy meal before bedtime, the body will be busy processing the food rather than calming down for sleep. The best thing you can do is to eat something light into the evening.
Also, the body has a higher chance of storing those calories from the meal as fat rather than burn it for energy.
3. Do not use a smartphone or screen in bed
We often see that when people scroll through their Facebook feed or YouTube while in their bed tend to keep on being active for more time, even hours into the night.
The reason why screens can keep us away from sleep is possibly due to the blue light. Before hitting bed or on the bed, keep your smart devices away.
4. Exercise during the day
Exercising can help you sleep early. This is achieved by making your body tired enough so that you are naturally inclined to sleep early.
There are many benefits of exercising regularly. So it is always a good thing to make a habit every day.
5. Use a gradual approach
If you have been sleeping at 1 AM for a week or months now, do not expect your body to start sleeping from 10 PM the very next day.
You can only train your body gradually. So try sleeping a little earlier every day. And with every little progress, make sure that you appreciate what you have achieved.
6. Be consistent
Don’t give in to the late-night lures when you have started making process. There will always be a movie or a TV series that would call you to binge-watch all night.
Make sure that you have set your goal and work towards it without falling for the distractions.
7. Pay attention to the beginning of your day
Did you know that your alarm tone has an effect on how you wake up to the day? A recent study found that alarm tones do affect your day.
People who wake up to a melodic alarm tone showed less morning grogginess than those who woke up to the standard beep noise. A high pitched and high tempo tones did worst as they created an abrupt wakeup, which elevates blood pressure and startles the person.
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So make sure that your alarm tone has a sense of calmness to it. Start the day off with exercise and a healthy dose of exposure to the sun.
8. Actually try to make the day productive
Having a good night’s sleep and waking up early put you among a small group of people. Did you know that one out of every three people in the US does not get enough sleep?
Once you get the day going, do some exercise or meditation to ready your mind and body.
The calmness of the morning is also a great time to solve some tricky problems you have with work or your study. Follow that up with a good breakfast, and you are ready to conquer the day!