Do you remember the feeling of hearing the alarm? Your body is refusing to get out of bed. Your eyes are exhausted and groggy. At that point, you hate the fact that it is time to wake up and wish you could sleep some more.
Have you wondered why you face this challenge of waking up every day while some people spring out of bed at 5 AM like an excited deer? I promise to share knowledge and tips about waking up without feeling as exhausted as you do right now. I will also share easy tips to make waking up early a breeze.
Sleep happens in cycles of 90 minutes each. If you wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, the cycle is broken and you wake up exhausted. If you wake up towards the end of one sleep cycle you will be fresh even if you have slept only for 3 or 4.5 hours. Over the long run, 4-6 sleep cycles every night are recommended.
Most people need about 15 minutes to fall asleep after they get into bed. The calculator below calculates all of this and tells you what time to wake up. The below time slots indicate the time you must go to bed. These are not the time slots at which you should fall asleep.
I am going to sleep now
12:10 pm1:40 pm3:10 pm4:40 pm6:10 pm7:40 pm
I want to wake up at
I go to bed at
I need help to
How to motivate yourself to wake up
Do you find no reason to wake up early? In fact, most people do not wake up early because they find no reason to do so.
The best way to find the motivation to get your ass off the bed is to work on something you love after you wake up.
You can find your reason to wake up by identifying your dream. I have created 3 simple questions for you to answer to help identify your dream goal.
You can work on starting your venture, you can start a side hustle with photography, you can write a book, start a blog, create guitar tutorial videos on Youtube. The list can go on and on. If you work on your passion after you wake up, you will spring out of bed to continue making progress towards your passion.
If your full-time job does not spare any time, you can start working on preparing to quit your job and follow your dream by following these 9 steps realistically without risk.
Sleep Needs by Age
The National Sleep Foundation prepared a chart for the recommended number of hours by age. They have broken the age into 9 divisions. I will include only the major divisions.
- Teenagers (13-17 years): Optimal hours – 8 to 10.
- Adults (18-64 years): Optimal hours – 7 to 9.
- Older Adults (64+ years): Optimal hours – 7 to 8
Based on the above numbers and sleep cycles, sleeping for 7.5 hours seems the most optimal while sleeping for 6 hours is recommended as a minimum. You can occasionally pull off a 4.5 hour night too.
Please note, I am not a sleep scientist. My answer is based on reading and analyzing studies done by sleep scientists and experimenting with my own sleep pattern. What the sleep scientists know about the brain and sleep is not concrete. A lot of gray areas are yet to be explored. These are fairly new branches of science and what is mentioned is not etched in stone yet because there is no concrete proof. Do not simply go by this technique.
You must note that everybody has a unique body making sleep a subjective topic. What we know about sleep and the brain is changing every day.
Therefore, apply the knowledge and experiment a pattern for a week or two. Find the best pattern which suits you the best and stick to it.
Problems with Sleeping
The problems associated with sleeping and waking up are more common than you think. In fact, it is inappropriate to even consider them as problems. Every human being has a different body and each body has different needs. Some might be able to function normally with 5-6 hours of sleep while some others need 8 hours.
Jeff Bezos, the current richest man and the founder of Amazon has mentioned he needs 8 hours of sleep to think clearly. Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft, has mentioned that he needs 7 hours of sleep. Donald Trump claims to sleep only 3-4 hours a day.
As you can see, not everyone can function the same with the same hours of sleep. What works for you will not work for me. To know why, you will have to understand the various concepts associated with sleep, the human body and rest to overcome. With the knowledge, you will be able to understand your difficulties in sleeping and waking up. You will also learn simple tricks to wake up early.
How did sleep evolve?
Have you ever wondered why do all living beings need sleep? Why didn’t evolution take care of this by improving our body to the point where sleep was unnecessary?
The answer may surprise you. No one knows for sure why most animals need sleep. Scientists have tried doing a lot of research but there has been no concrete evidence to support any reasons of why we sleep. All we know is that sleep was necessary for the body and mind to rejuvenate and strengthen again. The reason why this happens while sleeping is still a mystery. Just like we do not know how the universe came into existence, we have no clue how sleep came into existence.
One popular theory of why we started sleeping is to avoid expending energy. During the early process of evolution, the longer you needed to be awake, the more energy you would need and the more you would have to hunt. To increase the survival of species, sleeping reduced the energy consumed. But we do have another group which says the energy saved by sleeping is not worth falling asleep from a survival perspective.
You may ask wouldn’t we be more effective is the body never needed sleep? Why did evolution not get rid of sleep over the course of time? It works in a different fashion. Evolution is not like an Olympic runner who is always trying to find the most efficient way to run. Evolution cares about only one thing – the survival of species. Even if not sleeping makes your day more efficient, it does not increase the survival of species. If something does not help survival, it does not evolve into a feature either.
Why do you need to sleep?
Here is what happens to your body when you sleep:
- Your blood vessels and heart have lesser work to do. They rest and recover.
- Many of your muscles, organs, and cells are at rest. During rest, they are repaired and healed.
- Your body produces more white blood cells that attack bacteria and viruses. Your immune system remains strong.
- Your body repairs the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This leads to boosting decision making, memory, and many other vital brain activities.
How to get a good night’s sleep:
There are many tips to sleep well but not tip will work for you because every person has a unique body. What is a life jacket for one can be a straitjacket for you. Therefore, experiment and follow only those tips which help you sleep better.
Sleep in a dark room
As human beings, we evolved to sleep at night. In ancient times, the night was dark. These days you can make a night bright with a toggle of a switch. When you turn the switch on of a table lamp or a dim bedroom light, you are interrupting with the natural tendency to sleep in the dark.
You might be thinking “I need a light to fall asleep.” Have you asked yourself whether you need light to fall asleep or because you are scared? In most cases, people need a light because they are scared of complete darkness. It could also be because you were scared of darkness as a child and made it a habit to keep a light on. You can get over the habit. Give it a shot.
Exercising is known to be the most effective way to improve sleep as per research and data. In a study, exercise has shown to reduce the time required to fall asleep by half and provided 41 more minutes of sleep at night for the same duration.
Even a brisk walk of 10 minutes can improve your sleep. The more intense your exercise is, the better sleep you will get.
Do not watch TV/use your smartphone before sleeping:
In response to darkness, your pineal gland secretes a hormone melatonin, which is also called as the hormone of darkness. When your body generates melatonin as a response to darkness, your body identifies the signal – “It is time to sleep”. By having a TV in the bedroom or by using a smartphone, you lower your melatonin secretion.
You can listen to soothing music or read a book instead. If you read a kindle, do not use a backlit kindle because the light would hamper your sleep too.
Keep your room quiet
Fix the whirring fan or move the clock which tick-tocks a lot. If your house is beside the road, use heavy blinds to curtail the sound. Try to find a solution for every possible noise which can disrupt your sleep.
Avoid late night dinner/eating/liquid before
If your digestive system is performing intense work, your sleep cycle can be disrupted. Similarly, if you drink a lot of water before bedtime, your urinary system will be at work causing a feeling of urination between sleep. You may not always wake up and go to visit the washroom but it can awaken some people at night. So, avoid eating and drinking 1-2 hours before bed. Use the bathroom just before going to bed to avoid the need to wake up.
Do not overload your bedroom
Do not keep any unnecessary items in your bedroom. A bedroom is meant for sleep and sex. If you have a treadmill, a laundry basket, a computer, sticky notes and so on, your mind might remember an incomplete task. The feeling of an incomplete task can lead to a Zeigarnak effect, a feeling of discomfort which can impact sleep.
Find a comfortable bed and pillow
As simple as it sounds, very few people try changing their beds. If you fall asleep better in a hotel, you need a different bed. Find a comfortable bed and pillow for you. The British cycling team had dominated the world for a long span of years. They worked on multiple small improvements which collectively led to their domination of the world. One of them was experimentation with beds and pillows for better sleep.
DO NOT SNOOZE! The consequences of snoozing
When was the last time you woke up fresh after snoozing? I will tell you when. Never ever!
If you snooze or use multiple alarms, you will wake up more exhausted compared to what you would if you woke up at the first alarm. Surprised?
Here is what happens when you snooze or use multiple alarms:
As mentioned earlier sleep consists of sleep cycles of 90 min or 1.5 hours each. If you sleep for 6 hours, for example, you have completed 4 sleep cycles. When you wake up the first time, you woke your body and brain from sleep. When you snooze, your brain and body assume that it has to go back to another sleep cycle.
But the second alarm in most cases happens within the next 8–30 minutes, isn’t it? Your body was preparing for a sleep cycle of 90 minutes while you interrupted it with the next alarm. The more times you snooze the more exhausted you will wake up. Try recalling one instance where the snoozing or multiple alarms helped you wake up fresh. You won’t. Simply because snoozing makes the situation only worse.
The only way snoozing can help you is, if they are set 80-90 minutes apart. Anything lesser than that will cause more harm than good. But I have never heard of a snooze that large.
Also, many people already have a mental time of waking up, say 8 AM. Yet, they set an alarm for 7:30 AM before snoozing multiple times and finally waking up zombie-eyed at 8 AM. You will wake up fresh if you set one alarm at 8 AM and wake up then and there. Why set an alarm early when you have already decided to wake up at 8 AM?
Power nap time, duration and benefits
Power naps are a powerful way to quickly rejuvenate your body. Power naps are like putting your computer on sleep mode while a full night’s sleep is like rebooting your computer. Since you cannot reboot your computer all the time, putting it on sleep mode makes it less taxing on the system.
Your body repairs itself in the nap duration to energize you for the next few hours or half a day. During your full night sleep, the body does a full repair.
What is an ideal power nap time?
The ideal power nap time is 15-20 minutes. Though there is no concrete proof, it is believed that a 7 min nap is good enough to refresh your system temporarily. However, a 15-20 minute nap works as a benchmark for most people. You can go up to 30 min, during which your body is starting to go deeper into the sleep cycle. If you sleep beyond 30 minutes and wake up before 80 min, you end up waking up fatigued. This is because you disturbed a sleep cycle.
When in the day is the ideal power nap time?
Power naps work best between 1 – 3 PM. The afternoon is the middle of the day, halfway through the time you woke up and the time you went to bed. To prepare your body for the next half of the day, the power nap will be helpful. Just like football players take a break during half time, your body needs a power nap during the middle of the day.
Benefits of a power nap
The benefits of power naps are quite a few:
- Improved memory and decision making
- Improves your heart
- Boosts your energy and alertness
- Repairs the minor cell damage
- Improves your immune system
Can anyone take a power nap?
Power naps help most people except those who suffer from insomnia. If you have trouble falling asleep every night, you should test if power naps disturb your sleep at night. If so, you must avoid any kind of napping.
How to take a power nap
You already know the best time in the day and the ideal power nap time. Aim to take a 20-minute power nap between 1 PM and 3 PM in the afternoon. Make sure that you do not sleep beyond 30 minutes. If are unable to nap for a 20-30 minute duration, aim to sleep for 7-10 minutes. Once you choose the more appropriate duration for you to sleep, add 10 minutes to the number. You will need about 10 minutes to fall asleep. Set an alarm to wake up.
Find an isolated and peaceful place to sleep. A dark room is best suited for sleep but based on your location, you will most likely not find a dark room. Since most of the population will be at work during the afternoon, you must make an effort to complete a good power nap. Try to find an isolated corner or a meeting room. As far as you are from other people, the more peaceful your nap will be. Set an alarm and do not snooze.
Have you dreaded waking up early? Do you believe that you are not a morning person? Is it simply impossible for you to get out of bed in the morning?
In this article, you will learn easy tricks to overcome your difficulty of getting out of bed. The purpose is to not change you into a morning person. It is only about helping you wake up 30 min early to spend that time to achieve your dream goals.
This routine takes only 6 minutes to complete. These are based on the best seller book The Morning Miracle by Hal Elrod. Doing this just for a few minutes in the morning thoroughly helps your physical, emotional and mental health. Apply the SAVERS routine to your daily routine.