Are you sluggish and grouchy in the morning or do you wake up ready to burst into song in the shower?
Well, I’m definitely the former. It may have something to do with not getting enough sleep at night and then intensely disliking bursts of early morning sunshine and wanting to murder the alarm on my phone. But on the odd days when I do get about seven or eight hours of nighttime sleep, I neverthleless find myself dozing off in the morning in between hitting multiple snooze alarms and drowning myself in black coffee.
It’s not the best way to wake up.
Our sleep cycles are crucial not just for our productivity but for our physical and mental wellbeing. Sleep deprivation can affect everything in your life, from elevating your stress levels to altering your decision making skills.
True enough, I do get some of my best ideas at night and when you’re in a creative industry, you rely on moments like these. However, I find myself becoming a miserable zombie if I’m not perpetually caffeinated, and then jittery in between.
Don’t get me wrong, I do work all day, but it involves a great deal of coffee—often up to six cups a day—just to get me going. And a catnap, if I’m lucky.
So I decided to put an end to it and become a bonafide morning person and wow—I got so much more work done! It was more the practical kind of efficiency that being an early bird helps with, deadlines and organizing and coordinating. I still got my most creative and innovative ideas at night when I was trying to fall asleep. It’s like my body gets tired but my mind is still on a marathon and is taunting you by refusing to shut off.
So here’s how I went from being a night owl to an early bird, and you can too:
- Try to come up with a bedtime ritual which involves mental and physical relaxation, whether it’s yoga stretches or meditation or a warm bath.
- This one’s the hardest—minimize your screen time at night and if possible, switch off your gadgets. We become slaves to technology and really don’t know when to stop.
- If you prefer to read till you feel your eyes glaze over, don’t pick up your Kindle (screen light) or an exciting novel. Opt for a tedious technical journal that has you nodding within minutes.
- Excercise really helps. If you can manage some cardio in the morning, it’ll boost you throughout the day and help knock you out at night. If you prefer an evening stroll or workout, that also ought to help exhaust you enough for an earlier bedtime.
- Get some help if you need it. If you’re tossing and turning for far too long, turn to a natural sleep aid like melatonin (always check with your doctor first).
- Stop your caffeine intake by evening, whether its cappuccino or chai or chocolate. Opt for the herbal variety such as chamomile tea to calm you down and promote serenity.
- Learn to relax and enjoy the fall-asleep process. Spray lavender mist over your pillow, play some relaxing instrumental music or nature sounds, and take deep, calming breaths to relax your body and your mind.
- Discover if you have a medical condition that causes excessive sluggishness during daylight hours such as adrenal fatigue—get the necessary tests and ask your doctor about remedies.
- Avoiding breakfast and opting for late night snacks is not the best idea. Stick to regular meals and sensible timings.
- Reward yourself for a great weekday sleep regimen with a lazy Sunday or a spa afternoon, whatever rocks your boat.
- Realise that sleep is a necessity but also a luxury and how privileged you are to get it! If you’ve nursed a newborn baby, you’ll know what I mean. Is it really worth binge-watching Netflix on a weekday than catching up on your precious sleep?