Do you long to wake up refreshed and feeling full of energy? Are you not getting the quality or amount of sleep you need? Do you have difficulty drifting off, or lie awake in the small hours, with bad dreams? Try these 5 steps to reset your sleep-wake cycle from sleep expert Professor Idzikowski.
For simplicity, I’ve assumed that you want to condition your body so that it’s ready for sleep at 11pm and ready to wake up at 7am. If these times don’t suit you (for example, if 10pm until 6am works better with your schedule), that’s fine – you can change the times, but try to make sure they allow for seven to eight hours of shut-eye every night.
1. You’ll need to set aside four weeks for this, because conditioning your body into a new routine won’t happen overnight (excuse the pun). Clear your diary of all social engagements that would keep you out late in the evening and let your friends and family know that you are not contactable between 11pm and 7am.
2. Set your alarm clock for 7am and make sure that it’s on its loudest setting so that it wakes you straightaway. Put the alarm clock out of reach so you have to get out of bed to stop its noise.
3. On the first night of your new routine, practise your pre-sleep rituals in time for you to be actually in your bed by 11pm with your eyes closed, regardless of whether or not you feel sleepy.
4. When your alarm goes off, get up. Immediately. Go to the window, open the curtains and let light flood in. If it’s still dark outside, turn on all the lights. Artificial light isn’t as effective at setting your biological clock as natural light, but it’s better than trying to wake up in the gloom.
5. Repeat this ritual every night and morning for the whole four weeks, by the end of which you should have reconditioned your body into a healthy sleep-wake cycle. You’ll know you’ve done it because you’ll naturally feel sleepy at 11pm and you’ll be on the cusp of wakefulness when the alarm sounds in the morning.
One of the world’s leading sleep experts, Professor Chris Idzikowski, reveals his wisdom in a down-to-earth and reassuring way. Sound Asleep gives you the in-depth understanding you need to make your sleep more restful, more energising and more satisfactory.