When it comes to sleep, quality often matters more than quantity.
Being able to effortlessly fall asleep each night means you’ve managed to get your body into a good routine.
That’s going to promote a more restful night.
Maybe you try to do things on an evening that help you to wind down.
But do you realize that what you do each morning also has a powerful effect on a good night’s sleep?
People who fall asleep within 10 minutes or less usually do these things every morning…
1) Watch their caffeine intake
A lot of us rely on that morning cup of Joe to get us ready for the day.
You might think that bedtime is a long way off, so it’s okay to indulge in your daily pick-me-up. But caffeine affects everyone differently.
For example, one study found that caffeine disrupts sleep for morning people more than night owls.
As highlighted in Scientific America:
“Some people’s bodies clear caffeine within a few hours, but lunchtime coffee may still be in the system of other people even late at night. Therefore it’s hard to say whether any particular person could avoid the effects of caffeine on sleep by simply steering clear of coffee (or tea) in the afternoon or evening.”
Depending on how your body processes stimulants like caffeine it could be taking a real toll on your nervous system.
2) Have a consistent wake-up time
Even if you don’t realize it, we are creatures of habit. A sleep schedule helps your body get into a set rhythm.
When you wake up at the same time every morning you set yourself up to become sleepy at the same time every night too.
It’s all about regulating your body’s internal clock, which makes it easier for you to feel naturally tired when bedtime rolls around.
One survey even found that people who have a strict wake-up time reported being more contented in life than those who didn’t.
According to Chris Winter, M.D., medical director of the Sleep Medicine Center at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Virginia and author of “The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It,” that’s because these routines are powerful:
“Sleep drives our schedules as humans and everything about our bodies works a little bit better when we’re on a schedule. We digest better, our hormones function better, we’re in a better mood, our skin looks clearer, and yes, we’re more mentally focused and productive.”
People who fall asleep quickly tend to rise at the same time each day, even on weekends.
That means setting an alarm for the same time every morning and, even though it’s tempting, avoid hitting the snooze button!
3) Get plenty of natural light
This is another one that is down to Mother Nature.
These days we’re bombarded with artificial lights. It means that we can work and play at any time.
But our bodies are still biologically designed to follow the natural patterns of night and day, and so light exposure becomes crucial to our sleep cycles.
Natural light helps regulate our circadian rhythms, signaling to our brain that it is daytime and enhancing wakefulness.
Opening the curtains as soon as you wake up kickstarts your day with an energy boost.
We can incorporate more natural light exposure into our mornings by:
- Stepping outside for a few minutes
- Opening window coverings to let sunlight in
- Investing in a light therapy lamp for dark winter mornings
Plenty of light during the day can help us to fall asleep on a night according to research.
In fact, every extra hour we spend outside can help us drift off 30 minutes earlier.
A 2019 review of research concluded that “light can also be used as an effective and noninvasive therapeutic option with little to no side effects, to improve sleep, mood and general well-being.”
4) Make their bed
Whether you make your bed or not may seem like an irrelevant choice.
But a National Sleep Foundation poll found that people who regularly make their bed were 19% more likely to say that they got a good night’s sleep most nights.
It could come down to creating a sense of calm in your sleep environment.
Libby Sander who is an expert in organizational behavior says mess can equal stress:
“Clutter can make us feel stressed, anxious and depressed. Research from the United States in 2009, for instance, found the levels of the stress hormone cortisol were higher in mothers whose home environment was cluttered.
“A chronically cluttered home environment can lead to a constant low-grade fight or flight response, taxing our resources designed for survival.”
It’s a morning habit that only takes a few minutes but might make a real difference when it’s time to climb into bed.
5) Make time for exercise
Engaging in longer physical activity during the day is beneficial not only for our overall well-being but also for promoting better sleep at night. So says the research.
People who fall asleep quickly often incorporate some form of exercise into their morning routine.
This helps regulate their energy levels, making it easier to wind down when bedtime approaches.
According to studies, particularly moderate to vigorous exercise improves our sleep quality by helping us drift off quicker and reducing the time we lie awake in bed.
However according to Charlene Gamaldo, medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, the jury is still out on the best time of day to exercise:
“We have solid evidence that exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality. But there’s still some debate as to what time of day you should exercise. I encourage people to listen to their bodies to see how well they sleep in response to when they work out.”
6) Eat a healthy breakfast
I confess that most days I find myself skipping breakfast. But they say that it’s the most important meal of the day.
Are they right?
Well according to recent research, yes and no.
It undoubtedly helps fuel us up with important nutrients to start our day and function optimally.
But some studies suggest it’s not the worst thing to miss, as long as we have a generally good diet.
Yet, as pointed out by Medical News Today, there is evidence that ditching breakfast messes with your circadian rhythms.
Research discovered that “those who skipped breakfast also experienced larger spikes in blood glucose levels after eating. The authors of the study thus suggested that eating breakfast is vital for keeping our internal clock running on time.”
A nutritious breakfast is often a staple in any morning routine.
A breakfast that includes protein, whole grains, and healthy fats can help stabilize blood sugar levels, contributing to a more restful sleep later on.
7) They take sleep-boosting supplements
There’s been a lot of yo-yo-ing over the years as to whether supplements actually do anything.
Some studies have claimed they can be very beneficial whilst others suggest they are infective at best and can even be harmful in certain circumstances.
I guess the point is that science is rarely straightforward.
Experts agree in an ideal world it’s best to get all of our nutrients from our food. But some supplements do seem to work.
According to Penn Medicine, even though the evidence isn’t conclusive, certain supplements can improve well-being with little to no risk.
Some of those may even help you fall asleep faster.
In particular, the following supplements are said to boost sleep-promoting hormones or help calm brain activity:
- 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan)
- GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)
8) They prioritize relaxation techniques
It’s tempting to leave it until later, but incorporating relaxation into your morning routine helps set the tone for a calm and peaceful day.
The evidence shows that mindfulness makes a difference not only to your sleep quality but also to your stress levels and cognitive function.
If you struggle to drift off on a night because your brain is busy thinking, it can also help you to switch off the monkey mind and stay more present.
Relaxation techniques to try in the morning include:
- Meditation (which studies have found might enhance melatonin levels to help you sleep)
- Deep breathing exercises
- Listening to soothing music or nature sounds
- Journaling or practicing gratitude
Research says that mindful movement such as yoga can also help to improve the quality and duration of your sleep.
However you choose to do it, starting the morning consciously carries through to the rest of your day.
If we want to sleep better, we need to look at how our whole day affects our night’s rest, and not just those final hours before bedtime.
People who fall asleep within 10 minutes or less usually have established morning routines that prioritize consistency.
They seize the day by getting plenty of natural light exposure, engaging in physical activity, having a healthy breakfast, and supporting themselves with relaxation techniques.
Just a few healthy habits like these can set us up for a better night’s sleep.
Give them a try and you may find yourself dozing off faster than ever before and waking up refreshed and ready to take on the day.
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