Believe it or not, whether someone is a morning person or a night owl can depend largely on their genetics. We know, sounds crazy right? But, the natural rhythm of sleep-wake cycles is biologically set in a person by something known as a chronotype.
Simply put, people with early chronotypes are more likely to be morning people, while those with late chronotypes are more likely to be night owls. This can also separate individuals by their ability to work effectively during the morning versus at night. Like, your college roommate who literally bangs out 10-page papers overnight? Chronotypes, baby.
Even still, there are definite actions that can be taken to influence one’s sleep schedule and help make it a habit to rise earlier.
set a goal time for waking and sleeping
The first step of changing your sleep schedule is setting a goal time for when you want to wake up and when you want to sleep. The hardest part is the first few times you wake up early after going to sleep late. However, your fatigue will catch up with you and will eventually force your body to start sleeping earlier.
It is easier to start this process in smaller increments of 30 minutes. Jumping straight into a two-hour time difference can be tough on your body, but slow shifts will make it easier to adjust.
reduce your exposure to light before bed
Exposing yourself to light late at night can mess with your body’s circadian rhythm. This is why it is important not to use electronic devices for a minimum of one hour before you are meant to sleep. So yes, lock away that phone and step away from the iPad.
At the same time, you should increase your exposure to light as soon as you wake up. Standing in the window or going outside can help your body’s circadian rhythm naturally adjust to your new sleep schedule.
no caffeine after 4 pm
We know this one might be a toughie for our caffiends, but try to avoid drinking any beverages with caffeine after 4 pm. The half-life of caffeine is about five hours, which means it can stay in your system for up to 10 hours. Even drinking caffeine in the early afternoon can cause your body to still be fighting its effects when you’re trying to sleep.
Keep your caffeinated drinks in the morning when you can use them to wake up and get your mind more alert. It’s a great tool for those who are not used to waking up early yet and still find it difficult to function.
try to get in some exercise during the day
Working out during the day has been proven to increase sleep quality at night. By getting regular workouts in, your body will be better prepared for sleep when the time comes.
Working out in the morning also helps to increase blood flow and get you more awake.
melatonin before bed
Ask your medical professional if melatonin might be a good option for you. Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone that your body releases when it’s time to rest. You can take melatonin supplements thirty minutes before you want to sleep to help your body naturally adjust to an earlier sleep schedule. They’re also sold pretty much everywhere, so they’re super easy to find.
Melatonin not only decreases the time it takes to fall asleep, but also increases the amount of sleep you get. It’s often much better than other sleep medications that leave you feeling foggy and tired the next day. And they also come in candy gummy form (need we say more)?