How to Become a Morning Person
Resetting My Internal Clock
I learn from my snooze sage that to get back on track, I need to stick to a reasonable sleep schedule. But a little research shows me there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to how much I need each night. When Harvard Medical School scientists monitored hormone levels in people who slept more than nine hours nightly and compared them with those of others who slept less than six, the sleepyheads secreted more melatonin. Translation: Some bodies are hardwired for more sleep, others less. (Hmm.... Something tells me that won't fly as an excuse in the office. "I'm so sorry I missed our 8:00 a.m. meeting, boss, but my circadian clock didn't go off.")My Bedtime Story
"The best way to determine your individual sleep needs is to let your body guide you during a week of vacation. In other words, don't use an alarm clock," Dr. Haward says. Since I don't have any getaways coming up, she suggests that I start with seven to eight hours a night (the average amount adults need, although some naturally need more) and see how I feel. In an effort to squeeze in a morning run around Brooklyn's nearby Prospect Park, I decide to get up at 7:30, which means lights-out at 11:30 the night before. "Be militant about these times, even on the weekends, when you're used to sleeping in. A regular schedule is crucial," Dr. Haward advises. She warns me that if I'm feeling more tired than usual after a couple of days on the new schedule, chances are I'm still working my way out of debt -- sleep debt, that is. Even though I'll be getting the eight hours I need, it will take a while for those two extra hours a night to have a positive impact on my energy level during the day. Although it won't happen overnight, my new schedule will help me make deposits into my sleep bank account so I'll wake up feeling energetic instead of exhausted.
What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.