Waking up in the morning, it’s the worst part of everyone’s day. Finding the energy to depart the comfort of your bed and the peace of your sleep to fight the trials and tribulations of the day before you can feel like climbing a mountain, but it doesn’t need to be this way.
On these bright, long summer days, with an excess of early-morning sunlight at our disposal, there’s an odd quirk within the natural biology of the human body that we can actually use to our advantage when seeking to rise up quick and sharp.
When paired with the world’s leading sleep-inducing products, never again will rise and shine feel such a hard task to achieve.
So here today, we’re going to introduce you to a product that, if used in a very clever way, can actually help wake you up in the morning, even if you’re waking up from not a very good night’s sleep.
The day around us is in a state of constant change, and the body reacts to what’s around it in many different ways. When it gets cold, the body shivers, and when the temperature’s higher, it starts to sweat.
Loud noises may cause us to jump, while the presence of animals has been shown to slow the heartbeat.
But of all the interactions that take place within the space of a 24-hour day, it’s the body’s reaction to light that’s the most interesting. Widespread, difficult to control and in increasing abundance throughout these bright summer months, what light and more specifically sunlight do to the body is entirely different to the experience it would have in the darkness of the winter months.
For some people, this can come as a major shock to the system, resulting in what’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SMUG dived into the seasonal snoozer of a problem in one of our recent and most fascinating blogs, which you can check out here.
SAD is a form of depression that many people experience when the seasons change. Symptoms are commonly more prominent during the darker, colder autumn and winter months; but oppositely some people may also feel SAD during the summer months and better in the winter.
Not to head too much off on a tangent, but we use SAD to emphasise our point that the body is extremely reactive to light. But biologically, why is this?
As we covered in our Blues of Blue Light investigation, the light emitted from digital devices, including phone screens, televisions and computer screens, suppresses the body’s natural ability to fall asleep and feel tired.
And it does this by producing a specific type of hormone called melatonin. Levels of this sleep-inducing hormone are typically low when we’re awake, and when we’re asleep, melatonin levels are high.
But when the eyes are exposed to the bright blue light of a digital device, they signal to the brain that no, it’s not actually time to sleep, the body should be wide awake! As we mentioned in our study, one of the biggest sources of this type of light isn’t actually digital at all, because the Sun is our culprit, or is it our savour? More on that to come.
Without any external influence, the body would fall naturally in tune with the rising and setting of the sun. A primordial instinct, the sun flushes the land and anyone sleeping on it with bright streams of sunlight, signalling the beginning of a new day and the end of another night; and vice versa.
So what’s to say about this natural alignment, this natural sunlight-sleep love affair; separated only by 93 million miles? And how can it be used to an advantage in the struggle of getting up in the morning?
The First Action of the Day
As far-stretched as it may seem, it’s the first few seconds of your day that will determine its outcome, a bit like waking up on the wrong side of the bed…
Having pioneered sleep science for the betterment of healthy living for many years, SMUG puts forward a solution that harnesses the power of both the light and the dark.
With a string of accolades to its reputation, including Hip & Healthy’s ‘Sleep Mask of the Year’ and The Independent’s ‘Best Buy of 2021’, SMUG’s Contoured 3D Blackout Sleep Mask is the only tool we trust to have in our arsenal when trying to wake up in the morning.
Worn by sleep champions in bedrooms all over the world, disruptive rays of sunlight are no match for the pitch-black environment this mask consistently delivers. Exposure to darkness on this scale triggers a chain reaction in an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus; or just SCN for short.
The SCN is very reactive to light and dark and is closely connected to the optic nerve in the eyes. When it detects darkness, it produces the melatonin that makes us feel tired and sleepy. On the flipside, when the SCN detects morning sunlight, it starts to rapidly flood the system of cortisol, which in turn tells the pineal gland to wake the body up.
The amount of cortisol directed by the SCN depends largely on the amount of light that the sensors in the eyes are exposed to, and this is where our technique comes in.
See, if you were to sleep in an environment where the availability of both melatonin-inducing darkness and cortisol-boosting light was available in equal measure, the setting would allow you to enjoy the best of both their benefits.
This can only be achieved by wearing SMUG’s Contoured 3D Blackout Sleep Mask while the curtains or blinds across the window are drawn back. The mask has been well-documented for its ability to provide consistent, undisturbed darkness whenever and wherever worn, and because of this, it’s very much possible to sleep with the curtains and blinds open as their usual task has been eliminated by the capabilities of the mask.
How does this help you to wake up in the morning? Well, if you wore the mask to bed, and then whipped it off when you were ready to get up, you’d be flooding the SCN sensors in your eyes with light from you’re open curtains and blinds, which would then in turn cause the system to be flooded with cortisol.
This polarising shift from pitch-black to sudden-bright might come as a slightly shocking experience to some, but if you’ve followed our technique this far, you’re clearly on the hunt for a morning wake-up technique that works.
This fresh boost of cortisol at the very beginning of your morning could make all the difference to the rest of your day. This profound technique for feeling more alert and awake in the morning all depends on your levels of light exposure.
Your sleep cycle would begin in the dimness of the night, protected by the Contoured 3D Blackout Sleep Mask while you rest, before reemerging into the bright morning sun as the mask’s primary task comes to completion. The trick is to go to sleep in the darkness and wake up in the brightest light possible.
To discover our full range of light-blocking, eyelash-protecting, can’t-sleep-without sleep masks, alongside our extensive collection of award-winning products, dive into our online shop here; our shelves are freshly stocked!
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