If you’ve ever had any trouble sleeping, falling asleep at night is perhaps something you’ve thought about. Getting to sleep sometimes isn’t the easiest thing to do, and for others it’s staying asleep throughout the night that poses problems.
Have you ever thought about how much that morning transition from sleep to waking affects your overall sleeping abilities?
I used to think that being a “morning person” meant waking up with a snap! I’d set an alarm and when that alarm went off, I’d force myself out of my bed.
But we are animals, and whether we like it or not, we are affected by nature’s rhythms. Our sleep cycle is one of the most obvious examples of that tether between our existence and nature’s ebbs and flows. There are cycles within cycles — think of the seasons, and within those we have multiple moon phases, and within those we have multiple days and nights. Even within a 24 hour period there are natural peaks and troughs in our energy levels. (Just google “BRAC” or Basic Rest and Activity Cycle” if you want to get geeky about that.)
And just as the winter slowly turns to spring, and the day slowly turns to night, we too slowly move from one phase to the next. So why do we so often expect ourselves to switch on and off like a light?
Perhaps you already know some good practices to help our bodies prepare for bed in the evening, such as:
Dimming any screens as you go into the evening, using “night mode” or other blue-light blocking tools on your devices, and ideally not looking at any screens for an hour before bed.
Dimming the lights in your home, switching from overhead lights to lamps with a yellow light.
Slowing down in general (dimmed lights helps with this, if you can’t see so well what you’re doing, you have to do it more slowly!)
Avoiding rigorous activities and instead relaxing our bodies and minds, and allowing the breath to slow
But what about waking up in the morning? The sun slowly peaks over the horizon. Birds start their day with a morning chorus before flying away from their nests. Even some plants take a few hours to shake off the dew and stand upright to welcome the sun again.
So like the tips above for gently easing into the night, try these tips for easing gently into the day:
Leave your curtains or blinds open enough to let the sunlight creep in and wake you naturally. Or if it’s the middle of winter and the sunrise is an hour after you need to be at work, consider investing in a lamp which mimics the dawn and slowly lights up at the time you need to wake up. (There are some half-decent mobile phone apps that do this too.)
Allow your first movements to be simply taking a few deep gentle breaths and stretches.
Stay in bed for 5 minutes or so after first waking. Perhaps keep your eyes closed and reflect on the dreams you may have had. Perhaps write in a gratitude journal or meditate. Avoid looking at your phone straight away. If you’re afraid of falling back to sleep, just sit up!
Enjoy your bed!!
Above all, a huge GIGANTIC tip for getting a good night’s sleep is having a good mattress!
I’ve been using an eve Mattress since I moved into my flat in London and it was worth the investment! It’s firm yet soft, so it’s supportive and comfortable. I get such a good night’s sleep on it, I definitely wake up feeling like a morning person!
If you’re thinking of getting a new mattress, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. You can get yours here and with the purchase of a mattress you can get £100 off any non-mattress products using code MORNINGADELL (valid until 30 November 2018).
One more thing…
All of these tips and this way of thinking about sleep is what I learned from an amazing book called “Healing Night: The Science and Spirit of Sleeping, Dreaming, and Awakening” by Rubin R. Naiman. I suggest reading it if you’re interested in learning more about sleep and how to get a good night’s sleep.