Can You Make Yourself A “Morning Person”?
How can I make myself a morning person? Asked so many of us… often. But can you really change your early-morning-bleary-eyed ways?
Blame your genes…
Got a housemate who’s already done a workout and put a load of washing on by the time you drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Blame your genes. “Everyone has a genetically determined ‘chronotype’,” explains Barbara Helm, associate professor of biological rhythms of natural organisms at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
It’s the scientific answer to the whole “morning person” thing and it’s determined by something called your “endogenous circadian cycle”. Somewhere between 23.7 and 24.7 hours long, it defines things such as when your body temperature rises before you wake and it’s influenced by factors including age and gender. It explains why toddlers are alert at 5am, teenagers don’t surface until noon and your housemate is superhuman.
So what can you do?
And while you can’t change your chronotype, you can advance it. “Light is the primary cue affecting body-clock timing,” says professor Debra Skene, head of chronobiology at the University of Surrey. “Using a wake-up light or sleeping with the curtains open will advance your clock.” Taking magnesium daily has been shown to improve sleep quality. Oh, and cutting that Queer Eye marathon short and going to bed earlier won’t hurt either.
And blue light?
Thirty: the number of minutes of blue-light exposure that could reduce your blood pressure, according to a new study by the university of Surrey. The kind of light emitted by your smartphone screen might be the bedfellow of insomnia, but it’s thought to increase molecular signalling, leading to the relaxation of blood vessels and increased blood flow, meaning a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. So, it’s not all bad news. Maybe just avoid the half hour before bedtime though, okay?