- Without an alarm, when do you normally get up?
- Before sunrise
- With the sun
- Late morning
- It varies
- When are you ready to go to bed?
- I turn in early
- Whenever the sun sets
- I stay up late
- When are you most productive during the day?
- Morning hours
- Mid-morning through early afternoon
- Midday until evening
- I get a burst of energy in the evening
- How hard is it to get going in the morning?
- No issues
- Not too bad, but I’m slow to get going
- Difficult because I feel like I’m off-schedule
- Herculean because I frequently wake during the night
- When do you feel an energy slump during the day?
- Early evening
- Late evening
- I always feel tired because of frequent sleep interruptions
- You describe yourself as:
- A practical, organized leader
- An open-minded, friendly people person
- An impulsive creative type
- An introspective, detail-oriented introvert
Mind your den. When you picture an animal’s den, what images spring to mind? It makes us think of a cool, quiet, dark, simple place of comfort — and this is a great way to model your bedroom.
Darkness is among the most important factors in getting a good night of sleep. Even the slightest light in the room is going to impair your circadian rhythms, so block all the light you can.
A set of blackout curtains in the bedroom is good. Also covering the LEDs on power strips and chargers is even better. However, best of all is using a sleep mask that will block all the light from inside your bedroom as well as outdoors.
Animals maintain a simple, tidy den. Keeping your bedroom lair free from clutter won’t just make it easier to navigate — it’ll help reduce your bedtime anxiety, too. This will also provide a more motivational environment in which to wake up. This especially applies to your nightstand: limit it to just the essentials.
And be sure to reach for your thermostat before turning in — sleep experts recommend a temperature of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler temperatures are why our animal friends like to burrow or nest in caves.
Stick to a routine. If you’ve ever had to face your pet’s mournful eyes when you feed them five minutes late, you understand how much animals appreciate routine.
And it’s important for you, too.
Waking at a specific time (even on the weekends) will keep your circadian rhythms running smoothly. Working out on schedule, having meals at the same time every day and maintaining a solid pre-bedtime routine will automatically let your mind and body know when it should be ramping up and when it’s time to wind down.
Nap. If there’s one area where animals have us beat, it’s catching 40 winks. The reason? Animals don’t fight sleep the way we do — when the urge strikes, even the stubborn mule will doze.
That post-lunch slump is real: part of our natural rhythms includes a natural lull in the afternoon. Give in to this impulse.
It won’t just restore your energy levels — a nap will also make you more alert, sharpen your cognitive ability, sweeten your mood, improve your stamina, and it’ll even boost your immune system!
Get into the wild. All that time that animals spend outdoors exposes them to the sunlight that keeps their internal body clocks running like a Swiss watch.
Getting as much natural light as you can during the day will keep yours running well, too. If you work indoors, try to situate yourself near a window or under a skylight. Sweep the curtains open when you first rise in the morning, and take your breaks outside whenever possible.
Since we humans don't hibernate when the weather turns cold (wouldn’t that be nice, though?), you may want to invest in a lightbox of at least 10,000 lux to simulate the sunshine you’re missing during the winter months.