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There are two types of people in the world: those who feel energized and full of energy at 7 am and those are boosting with energy at 11 pm. The first type is known as early birds while the second type is known as night owls. Our bodies are all different and thanks to our circadian rhythm we feel awake and sleepy at different times a day. Studies suggest that early birds are ambitious people who focus on achieving goals and become leaders while making the best out of every day. On the other hand, research shows that night owls are people who tend to be more creative and who have their best ideas at night. However, we live in a world of early birds – we are expected to be working our busy schedules from early in the morning. Exactly because of this reason, some night owls want to learn how to go from night owls to early birds, and even though it's not easy, it's possible to achieve it with some minor modifications to our sleep habits.
Before we dig into changing our sleep habits, we need to understand our own chronotype. Your chronotype defines whether you're an early bird or a night owl. How does it do that? It is determined by our genes and describes our body's natural timeline along with the daily activities we do.
The definition of a night owl
When comparing night owls to early birds, the condition of being a night owl can sometimes be considered problematic, with a circadian rhythm disorder at our hands. The circadian rhythm synchronizes processes within our body, including sleeping and waking patterns as well as hormonal fluctuations and body temperature.
What happens with night owls is that they experience a delay in timing when night falls. A person who is regarded as a night owl goes to sleep typically two to three hours after an early bird. There is a tendency of falling asleep at 1 or 2 am, or even 4 or 5 am. Night owls like sleeping longer and they have difficulties getting up early. Some studies suggest that night owls are genetically predefined to have this condition.
It affects roughly 10% of the population and it can cause some health problems. Some people are sleep-deprived and thus end up being night owls due to snoring and ongoing sleep apnea, displayed by them or their partner. Its effects can be diminished with some anti-snoring appliances available nowadays that would also be able to make your transition from s night owl to an early bird easier.
How to become an early bird
In order to change your circadian rhythm, you need to start with your daily schedule. That includes some changes in your everyday morning and evening routine.
In order to start changing your schedule, you need to modify your sleeping and waking hours. An average adult needs from about 7 to 9 hours of sound sleep, so make sure you leave plenty of room for that. Gradually change to this new set time, by moving your bedtime and wake up schedule for just 15 minutes until you reach the desired time. Your new schedule will require you to adjust your meals as well. You'll need to make sure that you eat all your meals a bit earlier to fit your new sleeping and waking schedule. Don't try to change too much at once, it'll end up in failure. Build up gradually and remember to follow this new routine even at the weekends.
As far as your morning routine is concerned, you need to make sure to wake up with bright light and an alarm. But, there are some tips to follow as it is not as easy as it may sound. It's a good idea to immediately get out of the bed as you hear the alarm go off and breathe some fresh air while enjoying the first morning sunshine for about 15 minutes. Exercise in the morning as it wakes your body and mind.
When discussing your evening routine, there are also some things to consider. Make sure you adjust lighting before you go to sleep, in order to let your brain realize that it's time for sleeping. Invest in smart lighting systems that can mimic a sunset. For a sound sleep, it's also important to turn off all your electronic devices at least one hour before going to bed as they emit blue light that your brain interprets as sunlight. Consider using a natural sleeping aid, such as melatonin to help you sleep. Don't exercise a few hours close to bedtime – it will keep you awake. And also avoid eating late during the day, as some heavy foods tend to prevent you from falling asleep.
Switching from a night owl to an early bird is definitely not something that's achieved easily. However, with willingness, a clearly set goal, consistent and persistent wakeup, and sleep schedules, you are sure to succeed and maintain a successful lifestyle of a proud early bird.