I’m a night owl, but during the week I have to get up early for my morning commute to work. What can I do to become a morning person?
Good sleep is hard to get. According to the federal government of United States, more than a third of adults regularly lack a good amount of sleep, defined as a minimum of 7 hours per night. If your nighttime tendencies are ruining your sleep, there are steps you can take to be a more morning person.
The first thing to keep in mind is that your bedtime is, to some degree, influenced by your genetics. Everyone has a personal biological rhythm, or chronotype, that determines when to fall asleep and wake up. Studies show that there are many genes that cause some people to be morning birds, others night owls, and others somewhere in between.
A study published in the journal Nature Communications, for example, looked at the sleep patterns of nearly 700,000 people and identified a slew of genes that play a role in whether a person is a morning person or not. On average, those who carried the most “morning” genetic variants tended to fall asleep and wake up about half an hour earlier than those who carried the least.
“His tendencies to circadian rhythm are genetic and can’t really be changed,” said Ilene M. Rosen, a sleep physician and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, referring to the 24-hour circadian cycles that define when we wake up and fall asleep. The good news is that we can give our internal clocks some influencing cues.”
Just because you’re currently functioning as a night owl doesn’t mean you’re destined to be a night owl. You may be staying awake beyond your ideal bedtime due to distractions.
Many people who can naturally fall asleep around 10 p.m., for example, end up staying up until midnight to work, surf the web, or watch movies. This makes waking up in the morning more difficult. But you can become a more morning person by focusing on your routine at this time.
First, decide what time you want to wake up. So get out of bed at exactly this time every day – no matter how tired you are – and soak up the sun. Sunlight tells your brain it’s time to wake up. Studies have shown that morning light can kick-start your circadian rhythm, which will help your body adjust to an earlier schedule.
As your body gets used to starting the day earlier, you will naturally also start falling asleep earlier at night. Ideally, you should get out in the morning and exercise or do something that makes you alert. “A brisk walk outside in the morning is a good way to start telling your internal clock that it’s time to do it,” Rosen says.
If it’s dark outside when you plan to wake up or if you can’t get out, consider trying light therapy, which involves turning on a special light for about 30 minutes each morning as you prepare for the day. . In this scenario, a regular table lamp or ceiling light will not work. You should use a light therapy lamp because it is designed to mimic outdoor light.
Although early morning sun exposure is essential, you should also try to get plenty of sunlight during the day, as this will help move your watch in the right direction. So at night try to minimize your exposure to artificial light. You can use dim lights, lamps and reading lamps, but you should try to avoid exposure to devices that emit blue light – computers, fluorescent lights, TV screens, smartphones – two to three hours before you are supposed to be. would like to sleep.
Studies have shown that exposure to blue light at night can disrupt sleep and suppress melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate sleep. Researchers have found that blue light can disrupt your circadian clock, making it harder for you to become a morning person.
Another thing that can help is taking a very low dose of melatonin, which can be found in most pharmacies, said Sabra Abbott, assistant professor of neurology in sleep medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. Abbott recommends taking no more than 0.5 milligrams about an hour before bedtime. It is important to keep the dose low so that it leaves your system quickly.
“We’re trying to provide a little signal that it’s early evening,” Abbott said. “But we want it out of your system by the end of the night, because late-night melatonin can set your clock back and make the problem worse.”
Translated by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves