How to Successfully Transition From a Night Owl to an Early Bird
Sun, April 18, 2021

How to Successfully Transition From a Night Owl to an Early Bird

Every person operates on a biological clock or circadian rhythm that plays an important role in when we feel awake and tired. If the internal sleep clock is functioning normally, it sends a signal to the body that it should wake up in the morning and sleep at night / Photo by: subbotina via 123RF

 

Every person operates on a biological clock or circadian rhythm that plays an important role in when we feel awake and tired. If the internal sleep clock is functioning normally, it sends a signal to the body that it should wake up in the morning and sleep at night. Hormones, keeping odd hours, stress, work, and travel are some of the factors that cause the sleep clock to go out of sync. As a result, it makes it more difficult to wake up and sleep at the right times.

Resetting Your Circadian Rhythm

Sleep experts recently shared via the American media platform CNET how to successfully transition from a night owl to a morning person. They believe that becoming a morning person means more than just sleeping early. Supplement company Upgraded Formulas’ nutritionist and founder Barton Scott said that nighttime wakefulness is a major contributor to why a person often experiences a tough morning. This means the body is not in harmony with the normal body clock. Some factors that contribute to nighttime wakefulness are the following: The temperature in the bedroom not being right, using the phone even in bedtime, consuming a heavy meal, the last meal being within two hours before bedtime, drinking coffee in the afternoon, taking a nap more than 20 minutes the day before, and drinking alcohol a few hours before bedtime.

A Society That Favors the Early Risers

Certified clinical sleep educator Terry Cralle also shares that another major contributor to why some people fall victim to the snooze button is that they are simply not an early bird. Yet, they have to struggle in a society that favors the early risers. It can result in sleep deprivation because they are working hours that are not in alignment with their body clock.

Sleep experts recently shared via the American media platform CNET how to successfully transition from a night owl to a morning person. They believe that becoming a morning person means more than just sleeping early / Photo by: iakovenko via 123RF

 

Overriding Biology

To turn oneself into a morning person, it requires consistency, self-discipline, and planning, the sleep experts advise. Although it is not going to be easy, one can look into their overall state of mental and physical well-being. Anxiety and nutrient deficiencies are often the two common reasons for sleep problems, Scott explained. To override their biology, night owls who want to transition as an early riser can keep a food journal and track their sleep so that they can pinpoint what is causing their sleepless night.

For example, they can put in their journal that they are worried about a certain work project, so they ate ice cream or pizzas during dinner. Acidic foods cause acid reflux, high-fat food takes a longer time to digest, and sugar causes physiological changes. The moment one can pinpoint the triggers of poor sleep, change will follow.

Cralle also suggests starting small change by setting the alarm at least 15 minutes earlier every day and continuing it until one reaches the ideal wake-up time. Then, resist the urge to snooze because it makes it harder to wake up. Exposure to early morning light will also suppress melatonin production and gradually reset the body clock. This can be done either by pulling back the curtains or going for a brief walk to get that morning light. Next, maintain that wake time even during weekends for consistency.

RISEUP Method

The clinical sleep educator likewise suggests the RISEUP Method. This means the following:

Refrain from pressing the snooze button

Increase the activity in the first hour of being awake

Shower or wash your face after you wake up

Expose yourself to sunlight or listen to

Upbeat music, and

Phone a friend.

In 2016, consumer genetics company 23andMe found that the FTO gene is common among evening people but such a gene is associated with obesity.

World Sleeping Pattern: Statistics

University of Michigan researchers previously conducted a study using the data from the jetlag app Entrain. It was revealed that people in the Netherlands had an average of 8 hours and 12 minutes of sleep, while people in Singapore or Japan only had an average of seven and 24 minutes of sleep. The study likewise showed that women had 30 minutes more sleep every night than men who are between 30 and 60 years old.

In separate data provided by the scientific online publication Our World in Data, the average minutes women in the UK spent sleeping is 506.65 while men spent 489.69 minutes per day. Estimates of these women and men who were between 20 and 74 years old come from time-use surveys and included one weekend day and one weekday distributed in a year. The average minutes spent sleeping per day in other European countries are detailed as follows: Hungary (women: 522.36, men: 511.36), Germany (women: 499, men: 491.66), Estonia (women: 515, men: 512), Sweden (women: 491.34, men: 481), and Norway (women: 489.66, men: 477).

Society and culture praise early birds for their success and productivity. If you truly need to be an early riser, you can take gradual steps to help achieve long-term results as the small steps will also be mentally and physically easier.