Listen, not everyone is a morning person, but there are some things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep so you can condition yourself to get up earlier, feeling more refreshed and rejuvenated than ever. Martin Rawls-Meehan, CEO of sleep technology company Reverie, shared some insight on how to get better sleep every night so you can transform yourself into an energizer bunny in the morning.
Keep things cool
Sleeping in a cooler environment is good for a number of reasons. "When your core temperature drops, it's a signal to your body to start shutting things down for the day," said Martin. "To help ease yourself into the resting process, without feeling like an icicle of course, the ideal room temperature for sleep is about 65 degrees."
Diffuse your worries
"Aromatherapy uses the healing powers of scents to balance your mind, body and spirit," said Martin. "Pure essential oils are diffused into the air or rubbed on pressure points to help you relax, relieve stress, and promote better sleep. Some popular scents with calming effects include lavender, chamomile, ylang-ylang, and jasmine." We couldn't agree with this more - we keep a diffuser by our beds to send ourselves off into a peaceful, deep, stress-free slumber.
You don't have to paint your walls black, but it's a good idea to shut out as much light as possible. "Dark rooms not only help you fall asleep, but also improve overall sleep quality," said Martin. "So try to make your bedroom as dark as possible, whether that means buying blackout shades, wearing an eye mask, or putting a cloth over any electronics or blinking lights that can't be removed."
But also white
"White noise, that is," he said. "Noise pollution can be as detrimental to your sleep quality as sound pollution, so it's important to take action to keep things quiet." Do you live with roommates? Noisy neighbors? In a bustling city environment? "If you can't control the ambient sound in your sleeping environment, then cover any excess noise with a fan, white noise machine, or even a white noise app."
Find your perfect pillow
The comfort of your bed, sheets, and pillow can make a significant difference in the way you sleep - and the type of pillow matters depending on how you sleep. Spinal alignment is key in this. "When sleeping on your back or side, a medium height and slightly firm pillow works best to support your neck and head," said Martin. "On your stomach, a soft, flat pillow is best. Quality pillows are designed to keep your spine aligned while you sleep, which can mean more comfort and more sleep. He suggested an adjustable pillow so you can find what's most comfortable for you.
Be a creature of habit
Your best bet at becoming an early riser is to be as habitual as possible while you condition your body to get up earlier (and become a better sleeper). "As much as possible, your bedtime and waking time should be [consistent]," said Martin. "Going to bed and waking up at the same times each day helps regulate your body's circadian rhythms, which in turn makes it easier for you to fall asleep and wake up naturally." He also noted that "there's even evidence that doing so may have a help with weight loss!" His suggestion: try setting a "sleep alarm" for your bedtime "to remind yourself that it's time to turn in," - you can do this on your phone, or with a Fitbit.
No night noshing
It might be a better idea to taper your eating when it gets closer to bedtime, according to Martin. "Eating a big meal right before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep, and make your sleep less restful once you do doze off," he said. "For optimal rest, aim to stop eating at least two hours before bed, and be sure to avoid all caffeine and alcohol as bedtime approaches as both are stimulants." Feeling the grumbles in your belly? Don't deprive yourself if you're really hungry! "If you feel a twinge of hunger come on after hours, opt for foods like cherries, tomatoes, walnuts, olives, barley, strawberries, and milk which contain melatonin, and can help you fall asleep."
Say no to the screen
We've said this before, but it's worth reiterating. "Scrolling through your Instagram feed right before bed is a recipe for a restless night," he said. And it's no way to become a morning person! "The blue light from our phones - and other screens, like TVs, laptops, and tablets - tells our body's internal rhythms that it's time to wake up, and start revving our body up right when it's time to wind down." So there's no way around it - just turn it off. Still need something to wind down? "Try reading an old-fashioned book, or doing some meditating or another relaxing activity, and if possible keep all electronics out of the bedroom - try using an old-fashioned alarm clock near your bed and charging your phone in the kitchen." Sounds challenging, but we didn't say becoming a morning person would be easy, did we?