Can I Change my Chronotype?
Somewhere in the labyrinth of your DNA is a small collection of genes that determine if you are a morning or an evening person. Some other factors like your hormones, sunlight, and age also determine if you`re tilted towards morning-ness or evening-ness.
So yes, you can override your biological and environmental influences and intentionally change yourself from a night person to a morning person. It`s not an easy thing to do, however, it`s possible.
What`s a Chronotype?
Your chronotype is your natural tendency to be more of a morning person or night person. It`s what people refer to in animal terms such as early birds, night owls, wolves, or dolphins.
How to Change your Chronotype
Your family’s needs, job, school schedule, or personal goals may require you to be more active and productive during morning hours This may mean that you have to alter your sleep and wake cycles. Here are some tips for aligning your sleep schedule with your current needs:
Gradually Change your Bedtime
You may start by going to sleep from 20 minutes to two hours earlier each night. You may do this gradually over a period of weeks.
Leverage Lighting to Realign your Body’s Clock
The human body has an inner clock that sets the circadian rhythms. That clock is highly sensitive to changes in light. Sunlight stimulates a wake-up response in your body. You can leverage this light to control your wake-up time. You should also limit your exposure to devices that emit blue light some minutes to bedtime. You can use bedside and nightlights lamps with amber or red bulbs that mimic sleepy-time sunset colors.
Watch your Eating Habits
Evening people tend to eat dinner much later than morning people do. They also skip breakfast, eat fewer vegetables, and consume more caffeine and alcohol than morning types. If you really want to fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier, then your eating habits have to change. You need to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, particularly close to bedtime.
Develop a Soothing Nighttime Routine
Going to sleep can be challenging, no doubt, especially if you’re trying to override a lifelong habit of nighttime activity. So how do you manage this? Try creating routines that send a bedtime signal to your brain. Meditate, take gentle stretches, read books, do some deep breathing, aromatherapy, journaling, and other calming rituals that will help you develop a pleasant and relaxing nighttime routine. Following this consistently will help you get that sleep cycle you desire.
Track the Positive Impacts
As your sleep cycle transitions, there will be some changes in your energy levels, mood, and productivity. Don`t let these changes go so quickly. Record them and let them motivate you especially on those days when you feel disoriented.
Reward yourself for Reaching Incremental Targets
Recognize the little accomplishments and reward yourself for them. It will surely help you stay motivated. So what will you do to reward yourself? Make up your mind.
Incorporate Exercise into your Daily Routine
Did you know that you can use exercise to move your sleep time earlier in the evening? So try exercising either in the morning or in the evening. Well, you can do both.
Give it Time
You`ve probably been a night person all your life, so becoming a morning person won’t happen overnight. Be consistent, celebrate the small wins, and just remain patient. It`s a marathon, not a sprint.
Ask for Help
If after doing all you have read and can do, then you should seek help. Speak with a specialist if your sleep remains disrupted, if you have insomnia, or you just need help working toward a different sleep schedule.
3 Health Benefits of Waking up Early
More Time to Exercise
Early risers find it easier to fix their workout into their schedule without rushing through it. So they spend more time working out each day and enjoy a healthier life.
Healthier Mind and Body
Early risers have a healthier mind and body. They feel less stressed and generally experience more positivity.
Being More Organised
Early risers seem to have more time during the day than others. Not only do they wake up energized, but they`re also more organized and generally do life better.
Some Fascinating Sleep Facts
- Many healthcare professionals say they rarely get to discuss insomnia with their patients.
- The most consumed drug in the world is caffeine. Many people consume it on a daily basis in tea, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, soft drinks, and some drugs.
- Humans are the only mammals that voluntarily delay sleep.
- The higher the altitude one is, the greater the sleep disruption. Sleep disturbance often increases at altitudes of 13,200 feet or more, owing to reduced levels of oxygen levels and changes in respiration.
- A 2008 study found that 36% of Americans drive drowsy or fall asleep while driving.
- People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites because their leptin levels fall. Leptin is an appetite-regulating hormone.
- Most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night, while some can function perfectly with as little as six hours of sleep. A few others, on the other hand, need up to 10 hours of sleep.
- People usually adjust to new altitudes in about two to three weeks.
- Regular exercise makes it easier to fall asleep and also have sound sleep sessions.
- Exercising intensively or just before bedtime makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
- Divorced, separated, and widowed people have higher rates of insomnia.
- Self-imposed sleep deprivation is one of the main causes of excessive sleepiness in the United States.
- It’s natural to feel tired at two times of the day: about 2:00 a. m. and 2:00 p. m. This is a major reason people have a post-lunch dip.
- Sleep is as important as exercise and diet.
- Shift workers are at increased risk of various chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases.
- Two-thirds of US high school students get less than 8 hours of sleep on school nights.
- Parents of newborns lose six months worth of sleep in the first two years of childcare.
- A recent study showed that 50% of UK pilots admitted to having fallen asleep while flying a passenger plane.
- People who go blind later in life can still see visually in their dreams.
- Science is yet to discover if animals dream during REM sleep as humans do.
- Young people of high school age need about 10 hours of sleep a night to get the brainpower required for learning.
- The body never adjusts to shift duties.
- Newborns sleep for a total of 14 to 17 hours a day on various schedules.
- Infants put to bed drowsy but not asleep are more likely to be “self-soothing,” and as a result, fall asleep independently at bedtime.
- Snoring is the primary cause of sleep disruption for about 90 million American adults.
Now that you Know…
Now you know that contrary to popular opinion, your chronotype can change. For many people, waking and sleeping cycles shift more than once in their lifetime. One of the biggest alterations in your chronotype may occur during your teen years. The onset of puberty comes with a big shift in sleep patterns. This phase may last as long as five years. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also affect one`s chronotype, particularly during the first two trimesters.