For millions of years, our ancestors relied on nature’s alarm clock – the sun. We woke up with sunrise and started to wind down with sundown. We all have an internal Master Clock that is very sensitive to the cycle of light and dark. This Master Clock controls a lot of our bodies functions, much more than just when to get sleepy and go to bed. It controls your gut and digestion cycles, hormonal cycles and even affects the effectiveness of certain drugs – more about this.
So if your schedule allows for it, a great way to wake up (and synchronize your body with the natural sun cycle) is to open up your drapes when you go to bed and allow the sunlight to wake you up. Getting a good dose of sunlight first thing in the morning has all kinds of health benefits. Plus, it is much less stressful to wake up naturally to the sun rather than relying on a loud and obnoxious alarm. If you are worried that the sun would not wake you up and you would just sleep until noon, then you are probably not getting enough sleep.
If you have bright lights (street lights etc.) that might interfere with your sleep and prevent you from having the curtains open all night, there are some technology solutions you can consider. There are several systems that will open your curtains at a set time.
Of course for most of us, our schedule does not naturally align with sunrise – so next we will look at waking up using an artificial sunrise.