Quick But Powerful Tip: Get a light based alarm clock for much kinder, more alert start to the day
Setting Your Circadian Rhythm, the easy way
Waking up isn’t necessarily something that you may consider when analyzing how healthy your life is. But in reality, most people start the day sub-optimally from the second they open their eyes, literally. Humans evolved living in caves and sleeping under the stars. Our light - dark cycles were established based on the sun coming up and setting in a rhythmic fashion. Much has been written about how our modern use of artificial light in the evening can disrupt our circadian rhythms, reducing melatonin production and disrupting sleep. But the physiological mechanism by which we wake in the morning is dependent on light and often undervalued as a component of health. Our modern use of alarms to wake us at the desired time lead to suboptimal starts to the day and can be easily corrected for a far more enjoyable waking experience.
Very easily available products such as the Lumie body clock, a light-based alarm clock, work with the body’s physiology to wake you into a calmer, gentler and more energetic start to the day.
The way the body wakes up (ideally).
As the sun comes up and the level of light gradually rises, light seeps into the pineal gland through the translucent parts of the skull, eyelids etc. This causes melatonin production in the brain to gradually reduce, reducing the drive to sleep, and serotonin levels increase, rising mood and sending cues to the body to be more active. Cortisol, a stimulatory hormone, also rises, increasing blood sugar and blood pressure just slightly, drawing you into consciousness. The result is that you gradually enter the world of consciousness, ready to start the day, at the end of a sleep cycle, feeling like its time to be awake and that you are actually ready to depart bed.
Contrast that with the way you likely wake up currently. Lying in pitch black, a sudden alarm sounds, the adrenal glands, being connected to your senses at the speed of light through direct nerve innovation, respond in an instant, allowing a surge of adrenaline into your system, kicking you into a wakeful state with a mild stress response. With absolutely no harmony between your wake time and your sleep cycles, you may well be thrown into consciousness at the wrong time, resulting in a waking experience that could be quite unpleasant. Not yet ready to wake, slightly stressed, you hit snooze and resent the morning for another 9 minutes.
I cannot recommend strongly enough that you consider investing in a light-based alarm clock that gradually floods your bedroom with increasingly bright light over about 30 minutes. The waking experience is so much more pleasant and far kinder to your physiology. It sets up your day from the very first moment to be more in sync with your body and helps to establish a more regular and robust circadian rhythm.