Waking Up Doesn’t Have to be Hard
It happens to all of us: you set the alarm with the best of intentions, but then it begins to ring far before you’re ready to rise. You hit the snooze button once, twice – and then before you know it, you’re running late. Something’s got to give.
The key lies inside your body. An important factor in being able to wake up easily at the desired time in the morning is the timing of one’s circadian rhythm, or “body clock.”
All About Sleep Cycles
Every night, we go through four to six “sleep cycles.” Each cycle consists of five stages, ranging from very light sleep (stage 1) to very deep sleep (stage 4), and then the rapid eye movement stage, during which you are most likely to dream.
Waking up out of a deep stage 3 or stage 4 sleep is notoriously difficult. That’s why being awakened from a nap can be so disorienting. It’s also why waking too early in the morning can mean a miserable start to your day. Most people hit their deepest sleep between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. – with the go-go-go world we live in, it’s no wonder getting out of bed can feel like such a struggle.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
If you’re like so many others and can’t avoid waking that early, the next step is to figure out what time you should go to bed to get a good night’s rest. Sleep cycles take, on average, about 90 minutes. That means you need about 7.5 hours of sleep each night. If you count backwards from when you have to wake up, you can figure out what time you need to go to sleep in order to wake more easily.
Simple right? Not quite.
Some people require six hours of sleep a night while others need nine, and sleep cycles range from 90 minutes to two hours. Most of us haven’t been told what time to go to bed since we were children: that means we have to listen to the body’s rhythms to figure it out.
Know Why You Want to Wake Up
To make any change in your life stick, including waking up on time, you need to clearly define why it’s important to you. What’s your motivation? Do you want to get up in time to have breakfast with your family, get in some exercise, or just have a few moments of reflection to be better prepared for your day? Maybe you’re just tired of the stress of running late every morning.
Reorganize Your Evening Schedule
To figure out what’s interfering with your sleep and therefore your ability to wake up, take a look at your day and how you spend your evenings. You might have to reorganize some of your activities. For example, even if the only time you can get to the gym is after dinner, it can result in poor sleep. Where else can you fit activity into your day? Can you go for a walk at lunch? Get creative.
Make Hitting “Snooze” Harder
Now that you’ve identified the obstacles to going to sleep on time, it’s time to create some obstacles to staying in bed. If your alarm is right next to your bed and the big “snooze” button is easy to reach without raising your head off the pillow, you’re probably going to try to sleep in longer. Put your alarm clock at the other end of your bedroom so that you’re forced to get up to turn it off, and consider setting a second alarm (also far away) if you’re still having difficulty getting up.
Keep Your Sleep/Wake Schedule on Weekends
If you’re running on empty by the time Friday night rolls around, sleeping in on Saturday could sound like heaven. But compensating on the weekends actually feeds into your sleepiness the following week, because it interrupts your natural body clock, which doesn’t have a weekend setting.
Whatever your set bedtime/wake time is for the weekday, try to stick to it on the weekends, a consistent bedtime on the weekends seems to lead to better sleep and easier waking during the week. Plus you get to spend that weekend morning time any way you’d like.
Get a Sleep Evaluation
Sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, or health issues, such as allergies or depression, could also be contributing to poor quality sleep. No matter how hard you try to get to bed and wake up on time, you’ll still be tired in the morning and sleepy during the day.
Talk to your doctor about testing to find out if you could have an underlying condition that’s making good sleep difficult. Fairfield Healthcare Professionals Sleep Medicine has helped thousands of individuals find a solution for a good night’s sleep.To learn more about how our team can help you, call 740-689-4925 or click here.