The ratio of natural light to darkness that we receive over 24 hrs has a huge impact on how we function as human beings.
With it being the time of year when daylight hours are fast receding, it means waking up when it's pitch black. This isn't natural and so our bodies resist.
Getting out of bed during winter can become a daily battle between your circadian rhythm (body clock) and the undeniable fact that you have to be up at a certain time. And the struggle is real.
There is hope however; with a little help from modern technology combined with some ancient wisdom.
Rise and shine sleepy head, it's time to get a grip on waking up.
This app is a real game changer. Clever software analyses your sleep patterns and wakes you up in a light stage; as opposed to jarring you out of deep sleep, which leads to serial snooze offences and that horrible, groggy feeling.
It's also advised that you turn your phone onto airplane mode while you sleep with it near your head, to stop unnecessary cellphone radiation and to ensure that you are not disturbed from late night phone activity.
This is another genius invention that could dramatically improve the unavoidable act of extracting your body from the bed each morning. It works on the premise that you wake up naturally with the rising sun and so it mimics this effect, allowing you to stir gently from slumber.
According to the Lumie website: "Waking with light helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle and has even been shown to boost mood, energy and productivity levels." If this is the case, it's definitely worth a go! I know I'll be purchasing one.
Wind down with a bedtime routine
A healthy bedtime routine could be the most beneficial thing for improving your quality of sleep.
Routine: Set a time for getting into bed and when you need to be up and stick to them. Once your body has had a chance to fully settle into a set night/morning routine, you will naturally fall asleep and wake up far more easily.
Digital detox: It's not news, the artificial light from screens and the stimulating effect it has on your eyes and your brain hinders falling asleep. Read a book, or soak in a warm lavender oil bath before bed instead.
Sleepy tea: There are some truly beautiful and powerful teas available made from ingredients that are proven to aid with sleep. In fact, this Dr Stuart's tea, with 20% Valerian root, even comes with the warning: "Can cause drowsiness. If affected do not drive or operate machinery." Now that is what I want to read on my sleepy tea, which gives you absolutely none of the "hangover" effects that pharmaceuticals do. Just botanical extracts being all effective again.
Watch this video for some extra tried and true advice for better sleep;