(This answer was posted by Andy Ooi on Quora)
I will tell you the answer. But first, let’s see how our bodies expect us to sleep.
Imagine a caveman from 5 million years ago. Obviously, he lived in a cave (he’s not called a “caveman” for nothing) with his tribe.
Here he is:
(They didn’t have cameras back then, so this is close enough)
During the day, he would go out and hunt animals and gather fruits with the other cave dudes. When the sun goes down, the dudes would come back to the cave. And they would start a fire and munch on the food.
The cave dudes and cave gals will then hang around the fire and tell cavemen jokes.
The dark night swept the land as the fire dies down. All the cave dudes and cave gals suddenly felt a wave of grogginess permeating their body.
Soon, all of them were snoring like a choral symphony.
Until the sun comes up again.
What’s going on here?
Why did all the cave dudes and cave gals felt sleepy at the same time?
No, it’s not voodoo or magic spells. It’s all biochemistry.
As the sun goes down, our bodies start to produce a type of hormone: Melatonin, to prepare us for sleep.
In the past few million years, our human bodies started to learn this pattern:
Sun goes down = darkness = time to produce Melatonin
As the Melatonin get released into our body, we start yawning. We get dizzy and our eye lids become heavy. That’s how we fall asleep.
But then, a dude named Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.
Then all hell breaks loose. Human vampires started to roam the planet. We changed our circadian rhythms.
Because our body needs that darkness to produce sleep hormones.
If you are having problems to sleep well and wake up early, here are 5 mini habits to the rescue.
5 Mini Habits That Save Your Sleep, and Wake You Up Early
Now, I am going to turn you into a sleep superhero. These are the 5 mini habits I use myself to wake up at 5am every day.
1) “Dark Sessions” 10-30 minutes before sleep
For a change today, don’t play with your smart phone before you sleep.
Turn off that phone, the TV, the computer AND all lights 10-30 minutes before your regular sleep time. Sit on your couch.
Enjoy the darkness. You will feel very primal, like a caveman again.
I usually meditate during my “Dark Sessions” and it helps with my sleep, a lot.
2) Dark Bedrooms
When you are on vacation, you usually get the best sleep. It’s not because you are at the beach, or because you have no stress.
It’s because hotels use black out curtains. Once you shut the curtains, you turn the room into a cave. Just like the cave dudes from 5 million years ago, you sleep like a gladiator when it’s dark.
So, make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible – get the blackout curtains. Also make sure there are no artificial lights in the bedroom.
3) Ban Technology From The Bedroom
Time to be honest: You play with Facebook and Whatsapp from your bed, don’t you?
Well, I did that too.
What happens a lot of the time is this: I would surf Facebook for “one last time”. The next thing I know is this:
It is 3am in the morning. I knew all celebrity gossip on the planet, and I was feeling like a vampire.
For a change today, ban that phone and iPad from the bedroom. Doing this will ensure you hit the pillow on time.
4) Move In The Mornings
Exercising releases Endorphins into your body, because it makes your muscles more resistant to pain. Our cavemen ancestors needed Endorphins to help them run away from all sorts of crazy monsters – saber tooth tigers, woolly mammoths and others.
But Endorphins also make us feel like super humans. Because the Endorphins stay in our body AFTER it is released. I used to feel more tired than a hibernating sloth after work. But after exercising in the morning every day, I can beam through the day full of energy and focus.
But why the mornings? Because you need to make magic happen, hustle that business, and get superhuman results during the day time, not at night.
5) Bring Positivity To Bed
I used crawl into bed thinking: “Oh my god, I only have 5 hours to sleep. I am exhausted!”.
Once I wake up, I thought, “There you go. I am super tired!”
Have you noticed that you wake up with the EXACT same thoughts you carry to bed?
So, instead of bringing complaints and negativity, bring positive energy to the pillow. Stop thinking about the challenges the next day. Think about how you can crush the next day like munching potato chips. Think about how you can be a super badass guy or gal who gods other people.
If you do this today, I can guarantee you will wake up tomorrow on time, full of energy and jumping out of bed like ninjas jumping over bamboo trees.
Putting It All Together
You now know how to sleep better and transform into a morning person. To help you remember it better, here’s a pretty infographic, just for you:
Seriously, it’s that simple.
But you need to do it. Pick one habit at a time, and implement it today.