During the past few weeks I’ve heard from several of you that you’re currently struggling with waking too early. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, this is the time of year when our mornings are lightest (with birds chirping enthusiastically long before dawn!) and I suspect that may have something to do with the pattern I’m hearing about. As far as I can tell from my conversations, it’s affecting those in both Europe and North America, and both men and women.
I researched this problem further and gathered some insights:
- Remember, it’s not just you who’s struggling to sleep, or waking too early. Keeping this loosely in mind can help transform your sleepless anxiety into acceptance, which of course then helps you doze off.
- If you’re too hot, your rest will definitely suffer. With a suggested range of 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (15-19C), the ideal bedroom temperature might be cooler than you imagine. Open a window before you snuggle down… but obviously avoid sleeping in a draft. And if you get up (for example to use the bathroom) in the small hours, take the opportunity to close that window before the dawn chorus gets going.
- Talking of physical surroundings, last year I came up with a checklist for creating a serene bedroom. Making sure your bedroom is dark, so unwanted morning light can’t creep in, will help you not to wake up so early.
- There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that a full moon might mess with your sleep. Here’s a list of when full moon occurs: consider marking your calendar and don’t be too spooked if your shut-eye is disturbed then.
- It’s probably not too much light that’s the problem, but the wrong types of light at the wrong times of day. This article encourages natural morning light and recommends avoiding artificial evening light sources.
- Don’t take what I say here as medical advice! If this is a chronic problem for you, talk to your doctor. Remember to revisit your allergy medications in case they’re not adequate, or are interfering with your sleep.
- If you’re waking too early but want to give getting back to sleep a try, check out the tips and discussion here.
- There are a surprising number of easy tactics you can employ the day before, or sooner, to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. I gathered them in a checklist for you. Click to download your free copy:
I hope the ideas here and checklist are helpful. I’d love to know how you’re getting on with summer sleep patterns and what you’ve found helpful.
Photo thanks: Simon Matzinger