“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin
Do you wake up with a start when the alarm goes off and reach bleary-eyed for the snooze button? Do you dream of waking up naturally and feeling well-rested and refreshed? It is possible to train yourself to wake up naturally without an alarm clock each morning. The key is consistency and understanding of how to use your body’s natural body clock (your circadian rhythm) to your benefit.
For your body to wake naturally, you need to create a consistent rhythm from day to day. To help your body synchronise to a 24-hour cycle, keep a regular bed and wake time schedule – even on weekends. Going to bed around the same time each night allows your body to naturally anticipate and prepare for sleep. But this won’t work if you’re exhausted. No amount of circadian rhythm training can help you if you are getting less sleep than you need.
Work out your ideal bedtime
To determine your ideal bedtime, first, figure out how much sleep you really need and then count backwards from when you need to wake up to find out when you should be asleep. The amount of sleep you need really depends on what stage of life you’re in and what your daily activity entails.
You may need to move your bedtime to earlier. The question is: how can you do that without setting yourself up to lie in bed counting sheep? It takes a little advanced planning, but it can be done. An hour before your new bedtime, start a bedtime ritual to prepare your body and mind for sleep. Dim the lights, turn off electronic devices and try to relax by taking a warm bath, reading a book, meditating, listening to soothing music or stretching.
Rise and shine
Exposure to bright light in the morning signals to your brain that it’s time to start the day. So if you do wake up a bit groggy, open the shades first thing to get your body clock back on track. If you stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule, you’ll likely find that eventually, you won’t rely so heavily on the alarm. You’ll wake up naturally, feeling well-rested and refreshed.