During the winter, cold, dark mornings can leave you feeling sluggish and tired. Most of us want to stay in bed a few extra hours, eventually resurfacing when it’s actually bright outside and doesn’t feel like 3am. But what if you didn’t have to rely on an alarm clock to get you out of bed in the mornings?
There are many natural methods of waking that can help train your body’s sleep cycle and make those harsh winter mornings slightly more bearable. The key is understanding your body’s natural circadian rhythms – the biological rhythm responsible for making you feel awake during the day. When you let your body wake up naturally – without the use of an alarm clock – you instantly feel more alert as you were ready to stop sleeping.
Here are five simple tips that will help to train your body to wake up naturally, so you won’t have to rely on an obnoxious alarm clock any longer.
1) Figure out how much sleep you actually need
The first step is identifying how much sleep your body actually needs, because not getting enough shut-eye will leave you feeling sluggish in the mornings. If your body is getting enough sleep you should wake up feeling refreshed.
2) Keep a regular routine
Going to sleep at around the same time every night can help to establish a regular body clock and strengthen the link between night-time and sleep. Going to sleep later than usual can disrupt your natural sleeping pattern, so try and stick to the same bedtime in order to naturally synrchonise your body.
3) Avoid stimulants
Consuming caffeine and sugar before bed will act as a stimulant for your body – making it harder for you to naturally fall asleep. They can also dramatically decrease the quality of your sleep (when you are eventually capable of nodding off). Also beware of some over-the-counter medicines, as many of them contain caffeine, so make sure you check the ingredients if you’re taking them before bedtime. Similarly be cautious of alcohol – while it can make you sleepy at first, it also has the ability to disrupt your sleep later in the night.
4) Be active
Working out during the day increases your drive to sleep in the evening. Research has shown that people who exercise regularly fall asleep quicker than those who don’t, plus they also experience a deeper and better night’s sleep. Being active in sunlight outside during the day can also help to synchronise your body clock – resulting in a better night’s sleep.
5) Prepare your mind
Preparing your mind for sleep is an essential part of a healthy bedtime routine. A good night’s sleep relies on the ability to completely switch off and let go of your thoughts from the day. Meditating before bed can ensure that your body unwinds and sets you up for a good night’s sleep. There are plenty of sleep apps available, or alternatively try to focus on your breathing for 10 minutes and try to block out all wandering thoughts.