To find a good rhythm of sleep, you must first readjust your rhythm of life: move it forward or move it back depending on the case. For this, you can trust a hyper-effective natural ally: light. It is she who synchronizes our internal clocks day after day so that they remain set to 24 hours. Depending on whether you expose yourself to light in the morning or in the evening, you can gradually change your sleep pattern in one direction or the other. If natural light is not enough (especially in winter, when the days are short and the weather is cloudy), you can acquire a light therapy device that diffuses light as powerful as that of the sun. This is not the case with the usual lighting we use in our homes. A few examples: in a street normally lit at night, you receive between 30 and 80 lux, the unit of measurement of light intensity. In your living room, in the evening, you can count on 200 to 800 lux maximum. In comparison, at dawn or dusk, when the natural light is still quite weak, it corresponds to 1,000 to 5,000 lux. As for a moderately sunny summer day, it provides you with between 50,000 and 100,000 lux. The difference is glaring! It clearly shows that the current lighting in our homes, offices, shops… cannot compete with natural sunlight, even on cloudy days.
Find more tips and exercises to reconnect with sleep in the book Sleep finally! without drugs by Doctor Philippe Maslo and Marie Borrel (Leduc.s Editions)
You go to bed early / rise early
You’re going to put your clock back so you can fall asleep later. Quite naturally, your waking time will also change and you will find a rhythm more compatible with a busy social life. It’s up to you to go to the movies without pitching your nose in your armchair as soon as the credits end! But be patient. It doesn’t happen in a day.
Take advantage of the natural light in the late afternoon (after work on weekdays), before sunset. Treat yourself to a walk or bike ride in the open air, even if it’s overcast. You will still receive a good dose of light. Walk home from work to your home (or at least part of it if the distance is too long). Count at least 30 minutes outside, if possible a little more (up to an hour).
In the morning, protect your eyes with filtering sunglasses, even if it’s raining. This is not to protect your eyeballs, but to prevent light rays from reaching your brain.
If that’s not enough, buy a light therapy device. Expose yourself every evening under the lamp between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., for about 30 minutes, at a power of 5,000 lux.
From the end of the first week, start delaying your bedtime. Without rushing too much: 15 to 30 minutes a day. Go gradually. When you have found a rhythm that suits your biological clock and your social life, continue the light baths for about ten days in order to firmly anchor the resynchronization of your sleep.
It’s tempting to think that a strong cup of coffee after dinner helps delay your sleep. this is not a good solution. admittedly, you might stay awake a bit longer. but keeping “on the nerves”. The quality of your sleep would suffer and the effect would not register over time, except to do it every day which would harm your sleep in the long run.
You are late sleeper / late riser
Long evenings don’t scare you. It is in the morning that the shoe pinches. The ringing of the alarm clock pulls you out of limbo when you have not yet nor your night. At the weekend, you try to neutralize the fatigue accumulated throughout the week by sleeping until noon, but this only shifts your biological clock even further.
You will gradually advance your bedtime by taking in the light in the morning and protecting yourself from it in the evening. Gradually, you will have less trouble waking up in the morning because your sleep time will get longer. It takes about ten days before you begin to feel the effects of this change.
Take advantage of natural light in the morning. Schedule a ride before 10 a.m., or walk all the way to your place of work (or at least part of it). Do not protect your eyes, even if the weather is fine. It is in the first part of the morning that the external light must penetrate to your brain.
At the end of the day, protect your eyes. Simple filtering sunglasses will do the trick. Wear them even when the weather is cloudy or rainy. The less natural light your eyes receive at the end of the day, the more your sleep will naturally progress.
If that’s not enough, get yourself a light therapy device and expose yourself in the morning (before 10 a.m.), for 30 minutes, to a power of 5,000 lux (15 minutes at 10,000 lux if you can tolerate the light emitted by the lamp). You may need to set your alarm even earlier to schedule your session before you leave home, which won’t be easy at first. But you will quickly benefit from this effort. You’ll get sleepy earlier and earlier (a slow progression all the same), and you’ll wake up feeling better.
In the evening, flee the screens. Tablets, laptops, smart-phones… give off a bluish light which delays falling asleep. So if you’re used to surfing the Net, playing games, or checking your email one last time after dinner, don’t. Turn off these devices after 6 p.m., or use them only when absolutely necessary and for as short a time as possible. And if you really can’t do without them, treat yourself to special glasses that filter blue light.
==> Which sleeper are you?
Some sleep like babies, others can’t sleep a wink all night. And you, how do you sleep? To find out your “sleeper profile”, answer the ten questions developed on the advice of Dr. Michel Lecendreux, psychiatrist, specialist in sleep disorders in children and adults.
Do your sleep report
Do you suffer from insomnia? Sleep disorders? Do your sleep report with Therasomnia, a behavioral and cognitive therapy method that naturally teaches you how to get a good night’s sleep.