5 Ways to Actually Feel Well-Rested on Monday Morning (Or Any Morning)
There’s a lot of different ways you can have your sleep cycle thrown off track, from stress and late nights to jet lag and long workdays. Whatever the cause, it can leave you anxiety-ridden and make simple tasks seem like a huge struggle.
While sometimes your body will naturally readjust, it’s also the case that you may go weeks or even months struggling to get back to normal. If you’re dealing with restless nights and waking up at all the wrong hours, here are some tips for you to reset your internal clock to get out of bed feeling blessedly well-rested.
Cut the Blue Light
One big culprit of disrupting your sleep cycle is blue light – a part of the light spectrum that experts believe is potentially damaging our sleep patterns and stimulating our brain at all the wrong times. Despite the name, the light doesn’t always look blue. It’s pretty much any bright light that gets emitted from screens and other electronic devices such as computer and TV screens.
Sleep experts recommend trying to get as much natural light during the day as possible, then reduce the amount of exposure to blue light at night. Instead of reading on your computer, for instance, you may want to reach for a book instead. If you absolutely have to be on your devices late into the night, there’s also now a range of special blue light blocking glasses that can potentially help reduce its negative effects. Flux is also a popular app that gradually makes your screen more sepia-toned (and less blue) as it gets later into the night.
Don’t Check Your Phone Before Bed
It’s always tempting to reach for your phone and begin scrolling when you’re lying in bed awake, but while that may help with your boredom, it definitely doesn’t do your sleep schedule any favors. Sleep experts are pretty much unanimous on the point that you should give your phone a rest and keep it out of arm’s reach when you hit the hay. Not only does the phone emit sleep-defying blue light, it can also be a source of anxiety, since it’s linked to stressful work and social situations.
Keep It Consistent
One of the simplest reasons your sleep schedule may be thrown off is because you’re trying to go to sleep at wildly different times of the night each day of the week, which can be further exacerbated by long sleep-ins on the weekend. Sleep experts recommend trying to keep things consistent – pick a steady time for yourself to hit the hay and try to stick to it. While it may make you feel like you’re a kid who can’t stay up past their bedtime, you’ll thank yourself in the morning. Going to bed after a late night on the weekends? Do your best to get up at the same time that you would during the week. It may seem counter-intuitive, but you’ll thank yourself when you feel well-rested by the time Monday morning rolls around.
Give Melatonin a Shot
Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces and it plays a role in regulating the circadian rhythms that control your sleep cycle. When you’re jetlagged or your sleep cycle is out of whack, it can help to take a little extra melatonin as a supplement to get your rhythms back on track. Easy to find and inexpensive, it’s a potentially easy option to realign your patterns after they get thrown off.
Do keep in mind that sleep experts warn that a lot of the melatonin you see in stores contains far too high a dose for you to feel your best the next day. It’s understandable to think that taking a lot of melatonin is the fastest way to zonk you out for bed, but instead try a less-is-more approach and look for bottles with a slow release dose of 0.3 milligrams that simulate the way our brains naturally release the chemical. (Get ready for some potentially weird dreams either way.)
Try A High-Tech Solution
There’s a growing industry around fixing the problems of sleep, which has resulted in some novel new services and items that you can try to regulate your patterns. One of the most successful is an app called Timeshifter, which is designed to help you get over jet lag. Once you put in your itinerary, it can give you detailed instructions on what to do to sync up your body clock with the right time zone. These range from seeking out bright light for a certain period of time to giving caffeine a break for a few hours.
There’s also sunrise alarm clocks, which simulate the feeling of dawn during the last few minutes of your sleep cycle. Studies have shown that such an effect can help you feel more rested and alert. It’s a more peaceful way to wake up after you do eventually fall asleep.