As we get closer and closer to the summer, the sun sets down later especially in the northern hemisphere. These are out hints for falling asleep and becoming an early bird.
Use an app to wake you up
Nobody likes waking up grumpy – which often happens if you’re in deep sleep when the alarm goes off at 7 o’clock. Instead of setting alarms for a specific time, use the Sleep Cycle-Sleep Tracker app for waking up when your sleep is in the lightest phase. The app tracks your movements while sleeping to create data and analyse your sleep quality. Another app worth using is SnoreLab: you can either track your own snoring habits or prove someone else that they snore, despite of their own denial.
Control your exposure to light
Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is secreted from the pineal gland as your surroundings become darker and the amount of natural light decreases. At night melatonin levels in the bloodstream are higher than during the day, giving the feeling of sleepiness at night and making us more alert during the day. Because a bright bedroom can decrease your melatonin levels, make sure the window blinds block light effectively. If there is still light coming into the room, cover your eyes with a scarf or t-shirt when going to bed. Another good way of controlling light exposure are setting your iPhone to dark mode and avoiding screens before bedtime. On the other hand, making sure you get some natural light right after waking up decreases your melatonin levels and eases waking up.
Maintain a rhythm
This doesn’t only include going to bed and waking up at the same time but also avoiding sleeping in during weekends and napping. A 15-30-minute nap between 2 and 4 o’clock is enough! Also, the habit of getting up from your bed soon after waking up is important.
To avoid too bright light exposure at night, make sure you have a dim bedside lamp. A suitable mattress, pillow and duvet play an important role too, particularly for anyone with back or neck problems. Ideally the temperature in your bedroom should be lower than the other rooms, around 18 °C. To assist falling asleep, body temperature drops naturally in the evening and a colder bedroom can facilitate this. In addition, make sure your bedroom, especially your bed, is reserved for resting. Working from your bed will help you associate the bed with work, making it harder to separate the two.
Audiobooks and podcasts
If counting sheep isn’t for you, listening to an audiobook or a podcast might do the trick. Audiobook apps often have a subscription fee, but you can access podcasts for free on Spotify and Apple Podcast App. With Audible, an audiobook app, you can even set a sleep timer!
Avoid stress and stimulation
The inability to fall asleep because of having too many things on your mind is a sign of being stressed. Read our tips for stress management here! Playing brain-stimulating games or watching an exciting series or movie before going to sleep will also keep you wide awake.
Exercise and nutrition
Regular exercise improves sleep quality, but keep in mind that exercising late can make it harder to fall asleep. Eating foods rich in sugar before going to bed will only make you more alert, just like caffeine. For some people having a light bed-time snack – yoghurt or a slice of whole-wheat toast – enhances falling asleep quickly. Exercise, nutrition and sleep are key contributors to overall wellbeing, and all impact one another. Sleep tight!