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September 30

How To Wake Up Feeling Refreshed

“Why can’t I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the day?”

If you’re anything like Jim Taylor, you’ve woken up with this exact thought in your head too.

It’s a bright sunny day out, his wife is preparing breakfast and his kids are jumping on the bed trying to get him up. The ideal birthday morning. But the only thing holding Jim back is… Jim.

Jim thinks back to all the movies and commercials he’s seen where people are just magically getting out of bed. Can that really be so impossible to achieve?

“If I’m having such a hard time getting out of bed on such a great day. How am I supposed to get out of bed on the rougher days?”, says Jim.

It’s a complicated question. Thankfully, there is a simple (and natural) solution.

But first, we need to better understand sleep and bust some myths around it.

The 3 Steps To Understanding Sleep

1. So… Is it Insomnia?

Most people tend to assume that they have insomnia. And chances are if you have sleep problems, you’ve thought about this too. 

To tackle this issue, I’d like to introduce you to Patrick Fuller. The Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. What are his thoughts on insomnia?

“People throw that word around, but most cases of insomnia are not primary insomnia,” Fuller said. “In other words, that’s not the main issue.”

So if only “15% or so” of people that seek help concerned with insomnia truly suffer from insomnia, what is the true problem?

“People throw that word around, but most cases of insomnia are not primary insomnia.”
— Patrick Fuller

2. Circadian rhythm

A more likely cause that you suffer from sleep problems and morning exhaustion is because your body has adjusted to sleeping at the wrong time (and thus waking up at the wrong time).

This “adjustment” is called the circadian rhythm. It is the natural pattern of the body’s functions, which includes the drive for hunger and sleep.

If you have a difficult time falling asleep earlier or consider yourself a “night owl”, you may have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. Which basically means your circadian rhythm is out of whack. 

So why exactly is your circadian rhythm off? You probably have an idea already. But, the heart of the issue is something called “sleep hygiene”.

3. What Is Sleep Hygiene?

No. Bad sleep hygiene doesn’t mean you smell at night.

Sleep hygiene is the collection of behaviors, habits, and choices that can make it hard for you to fall asleep. These can include:

  • An irregular sleep schedule. Being a night owl or not having a consistent schedule.
  • Your sleep environment. Too much or too little lighting, unclean/uncomfortable pillows or sheets, uncomfortable temperature, etc.

To summarize: bad sleep hygiene leads to an irregular circadian rhythm which leads to you not feeling great in the morning.

So what’s the solution, you ask?

Solutions For Better Sleep

As it turns out, there are several simple solutions that anyone can apply right now. Here are some of the easiest and most effective ways people like you solve the problem of not having refreshing mornings today:

Schedules. Schedules. Schedules.

Consistency is key. It can definitely be hard but sticking to some simple schedules will have a dramatic effect on how good you feel in the morning.

Using just the alarm clock and reminder feature on your phone you can start today! Here are top 2 recommendations:

  • Use your phone’s alarms to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Set a recurring reminder in your phone to stop having caffeine after 3 PM.

Adjust your room for sleeping.

As mentioned before, your sleep environment is a big part of your overall sleep hygiene. Here are our top 2 changes we recommend for your room:

  • Experiment with your room’s temperature until you find the perfect comfortable temperature.
  • Avoid excessive sound and bright lighting by shutting off your lights and closing shades at night and opening your shades first thing in the morning. (Or even schedule them to do it for you!)

Sunshine!

You may have heard about melatonin before. It is great at night for when you want to fall asleep but it is not what you want when you’re trying to wake up feeling refreshed. What you want in the morning is serotonin.

If you expose your body, face and eyes to sunlight every morning, your body will actually increase serotonin production. On top of this, the body converts serotonin into melatonin in about 12 hours (aka when you are getting ready to sleep).

One solution is something like the Happy Light, which simulates the full spectrum light that the sun produces. However, the true key to waking up feeling refreshed is natural full spectrum light. 

The kind that can only be produced from the sun.


About the author

Trung Pham is the CEO and founder of RYSE, the company behind the next generation retrofit motorization product, SmartShades. Trung is also the co-founder of a rapidly growing entertainment app in Toronto.


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