“Could you do 6.15am?”
It was a question I asked a patient of mine a few months ago who called and asked for an emergency physio appointment.
Yet believe it or not, the guy in this story said no.
And the reason he gave was that he wouldn’t be out of bed at that time of the day.
A patient in so much agony remember that he was unlikely to be able to sleep because of the back pain he was suffering.
It’s almost so illogical that the only conclusion that I could ever think of, is that most people are not lucky enough to ever be introduced to the concept of changing their sleeping habits to find more energy and time in their day.
And by changing it, I mean reducing the time spent in bed.
And as I discuss the topic more with my patients, always more so at this time of the year because of the dark nights leading to inevitable lethargy that sets in, I find lots of people are confused by the issue of tiredness and the role that their bed has to play increasing it, or as they think, even solving it.
As I mentioned last week, rarely is the latter true. That by spending more time in bed (more than eight hours is already one too many) you will feel more alert.
It rarely, if ever, will.
So with that in mind, here are five real world tips for inside your bedroom, to get you up and out earlier on a morning:
l If you’re going to bed anywhere around 10ish, aim not to eat after 7pm. This will help you sleep easily as your digestive system will be able to switch off too.
Quality is more important than quantity of sleep.
l When your clock goes off, you’ve got to get up within minutes. Resist the temptation to hit the snooze button by leaving your phone just out of reach so that you have to get up.
l Have a plan waiting. Something like the first 20 minutes to get active on a small trampoline or static exercise bike, 20 minutes to read a great book and perhaps the next 20 minutes to write and plan you day ahead (that little tip alone will make your day seem to last longer).
l Set the alarm clock for the same time everyday. That means Saturday and Sunday.
Understand that it’s not what time you go to bed that decides how “tired” you will feel, or to be more accurate, the lethargy you will suffer, it’s what time you get up.
To find more time in your life and feel way more healthier, you must never change the time on your alarm clock
l Be the fittest you can possibly be. It’s no coincidence that most people when they get into a great exercise routine, often daily, will report both needing and wanting less sleep.
Get up early. It’s tough at first. And expect it to take about 60 days for this to feel normal and the “grogginess” to go. But the prize waiting for you at the end of rising for just one hour early every morning, is the equivalent of an entire work week worth of spare time in your life, every month.
And perhaps just enough time to go and get your “dodgy” back fixed. The one that’s likely keeping you awake all night anyway.