When You Have Trouble Waking Up

Is it so hard to fall asleep you can't wake up in the morning? Here's how to embrace your inner early bird.

From the WebMD Archives

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How to Wake Up More Easily

Want to become more of a lark? Sleep disorder specialist Lisa Shives, MD, has some suggestions for embracing your inner morning person:

Move your bedtime back by 15 minutes every three to four days. On these days, also wake up 15 minutes earlier. Adhere to this plan seven days a week (not just weekdays) until you're falling asleep at -- or close to -- the desired hour.

Get sunlight. Natural sunlight helps reset your circadian clock. If you are a night owl, set your alarm for 7 a.m. and get outside for 30 minutes to have breakfast or to walk the dog. Also, keep your shades open so your room fills with light in the morning to help you wake up.

Shut off electronic media or bright lights two hours before bedtime.

Take 0.5 to 1 milligram of melatonin before you want to go to bed; this will help set your circadian rhythm so you can fall asleep at a more appropriate time. Ask a sleep specialist when you should take it.

If these methods don't work, speak to a sleep specialist. Night owls, like shift workers, might have increased risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and certain cancers. One option you can ask your doctor about is light therapy. This treatment allows you to get light from a small light box to help reset your body clock, without medication.

Above all, remember that these steps are difficult and require discipline, so you really must want to change your sleep patterns.

WebMD Magazine - Feature Reviewed by Michael J. Breus, PhD on July 08, 2010

Sources

SOURCES:

Bryan Cyphers, Chicago.

National Sleep Foundation: "2009 Sleep in America Poll, Highlights and Key Findings."

Lisa Shives, MD, medical director, Northshore Sleep Medicine, Evanston, Ill.

American Psychological Association: "APA Survey Raises Concern about Parent Perceptions of Children's Stress."

Joyce Walsleban, PhD, RN, associate professor of medicine, New York University School of Medicine.

Alon Avidan, MD, associate professor of neurology; associate director, UCLA Sleep Disorders Program.

Taylor D. Sleep, November 2005; vol 28: pp 1457-1464.

March of Dimes: "Caffeine, What You Need to Know."

Sources

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