How to wake up
earlier and not
Sayings and old wives tales really fascinate me, because although often a bit ridiculous there is nearly always an element of truth in them. Carrots making you see in the dark, for example, or the early bird catches the worm. I’m still stumped on how eating your crusts will make your hair grow, but you catch my drift…
The early bird catches the worm really does seem to ring true, with top CEOs like Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) waking up before 4am each day. Now whilst I definitely don’t advocate for the majority of us to sleep for such few hours a night (I’ve extolled the benefits of sleep for our immune system, detoxification efforts and cellular repair enough already), I certainly do think that waking up early-ish, and at the same time each day is a really good thing. Here’s why...
It’s all about getting into sync with your natural circadian rhythm, i.e. your in-built sleep-wake cycle. As humans one of our primary energy sources is the sun and as such we are controlled by light. It’s not just our sleep patterns that are regulated by light but also our organ systems too, for example the liver is most active in the wee hours of the morning, which makes a regular sleep pattern all the more crucial in order to wake up feeling refreshed.
When I talk about getting up ‘earlier,’ I need to caveat that with the very important fact that you need to also be going to bed earlier too so as to still get your 8 hours. I repeat, do not deprive yourself of sleep, it’s the single most effective way to put stress on your body and worsen your health.
So, here are four quick tips to help you wake up earlier, feeling refreshed
Our clients sleep better on a cleanse! You heard it here first...
"This was my fourth time doing a cleanse this year. I absolutely love the way they make me feel. My energy levels are high, I sleep better, it clears my skin and takes away that sluggish feeling. I also find it’s a great way to kick start into a healthy routine with foods post cleanse." - Morgan P, The Weight Loss Cleanse
1. Go to bed earlier
The only way to wake up earlier and not hate life is to get to sleep earlier, and that will only happen if you take into account points two and three below. It’s also unrealistic to assume that you can instantly fall asleep at 10pm when usually you sleep at 11.30pm. Readjusting your circadian rhythm takes time, so just take it 15 minutes by 15 minutes each day as you gently move things forward..
2. Red light therapy
Because these days a lot of us live in major cities and don’t really get the chance to see the sun rise or set, using a red light deceive in the comfort of your own home can help to simulate the red frequencies of light that we get with sunrises and sunsets, and, consequently improve your production of melatonin which makes us feel tired. Using a red light in the morning when you wake up has been shown to boost your melatonin production in the evening, and, used in the evening instead of your bedside lamp, completely eradicates blue light from your environment which in turn signals to your body that it’s time to go to sleep.
Other useful benefits include decreased inflammation, faster recovery from workouts and boosted collagen production. Have a read of this post for more info.
3. Blue blockers
Next on my list is obviously going to be blue blocking glasses. Blue light, which makes up the main fraction of daylight, has the reverse effect of red light on the brain and actually wakes us up and keeps us alert. Modern technology has isolated this blue portion and used it exclusively in LED lights (likely all the lights in your home will be LEDs), mobile phone and laptop screens, TVs etc. Again, I completely appreciate that short of switching to candle light only in the evenings (romantic but impractical), it’s actually really hard to avoid blue light at night. This is why blue light blocking glasses are such a fantastic invention. I guarantee that if you put them on at the time that the sun goes down, within about an hour you’ll be ready for bed - magic!
It’s really important to get the ones that have amber / red lenses, as these are much, much more effective at filtering out blue light than those that claim to be blue blockers but just look like normal glasses. I particularly like Swanwick as a brand.
One of the cues for our bodies to rouse themselves from slumber is a slight increase in temperature, again because when the sun rises it warms things up, so we’re programmed to also wake up when we get warmer. These days, however, we don't sleep out under the stars and instead shield ourselves away from the elements by sleeping inside our snug houses. A great way to improve your sleep is to make sure that your room is cool in the evening (pretty impossible on 37 degree days!!) and that it gets slightly warmer in the morning. During the winter months a good idea is to programme your central heating to come on about 30 minutes before you want to wake up at your new, earlier time, and it will prime your body to be more alert and less groggy when you do so.
With these simple hacks (and a little common sense, for example limiting alcohol, not eating too late into the evening, avoiding caffeine etc), you can slowly start to edge your wake time that bit earlier, reclaim your morning and boost your productivity!