It's that time of year when daylight creeps backward and darkness descends upon the land. As the daylight hours shrink, many areas of our country will be limited to only brief windows of glorious sunshine. You can check out this tool by the United States Navy to see where your area is headed. As nights become long and cold, and your bed becomes impossibly difficult to launch out of in the morning, how can you encourage yourself to get up? It might become a temptation to press the snooze button, over and over, as you snuggle into that luxuriously warm spot under your covers.
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But, as cozy as your bed might be, you don't want to make a habit of sleeping in too often...you might be setting up your day for stress, as you run late to work, appointments, or other pressing obligations.
So we'd like to present some surefire ways of normalizing your sleep in fewer hours of daylight:
Light therapy... it's a thing? Absolutely. There exist all sorts of "light boxes" and "light tablets" to help you get the simulated sunlight you need during the day so that you can sleep better during the nighttime. (As an added bonus, if you suffer from light-related issues, you might find yourself being happier during the day with one of these devices.)
The Verilux HappyLight Light Therapy Tablet delivers an incredible amount of light power at 10,000 lux. (So make sure you really need this before turning it on!) Place it next to your dark workspace or breakfast cooking area and enjoy a boost that will (hopefully) help you to relax later when it's time for sleep.
A Sunlight Alarm Clock
You're not on a tropical island, where the sunlight would naturally stream across your face, awakening you to the glories of the day.
So try for a second-best solution: a sunlight-simulating alarm clock, which will filter the warm rays of "almost sun" across your flickering lids, to rouse your weary eyes from sleep.
This UV-free light from Philips is well-reviewed; the manufacturer claims that it is "clinically proven to make waking up more pleasant." Enjoy a simulation of dawn light cascading into your bedroom, choosing the intensity level that suits your particular sensitivity range.
Adjusting Your Exercise Schedule
In the morning, it's dark, you might be sluggish, and you might want to stay huddled up for as long as possible.
But beware of giving into these "cave" instincts; don't hunker down... instead, energize your day with some early-morning exercise. You'll sleep better than if you exercised at night, as you won't be raising your body temperature immediately before attempting to hit the hay.
Here are some tips to get you out of bed in the morning, and onto the exercise train:
Put your workout gear next to your bed, and change into it immediately.
Put a workout video on your laptop/tablet/DVD player, etc... you can press play as soon as you awake and move around.
Set your alarm clock to upbeat music, and dance around the room
Embrace the Extra Hours of Darkness, Sometimes
Our last piece of advice is a little different than the previous advice, but it has its time and place.
Sometimes, you might want to just roll into the seasons, and go with the flow. Make sure not to sleep in too much (again, you don't want to be late), but feel free to shut off your devices, snuggle up, and hit the hay a little earlier at night.
You can enjoy a well-deserved, cozy sleep in your mattress from Land of Sleep.