I confess: my body clock is broken. My ideal workday usually starts at 3:00 am and ends three hours later – which means that I have the rest of the morning to do chores and run errands. Now, because I’ve spent the entire weekend reading until late in the afternoons, I wake up at 4:00 pm, which means that most establishments close an hour later, and the sun will set soon – leaving me unable to go out and perform errands. Plus, by the time 3:00am comes, I am already too tired to work.
Not an unusual predicament for web workers. Especially since we own our time. Although we don’t necessarily have a boss who prefers that we start at 9:00 am, waking up late in the afternoons isn’t ideal either.
So how can we fix a broken body clock?
Wake up at your regular time anyway. Easier said than done, especially if you turn in later that usual – but it works. Waking up at the same time everyday can help avoid the a difference between your body clock and your schedule. This should also be followed by sleeping at your usual time.
It may take a couple of days for you to be 100% back to normal if you just use this technique, so if you need immediate change you can try the other tips below.
Get as much light as possible. When you wake up at the right time, you should get as much bright light as you can. This tells your body that it’s time to wake up. A sensor in your eye tells your brain that it’s already daylight, and this resets your biological clock.
If the sun is already up, you can take a short walk outside or look through the window after you wake up. If you’re like me and you prefer to get up before the sun rises, staying in a well-lit room or working near a bright lamp can also do the trick.
Let caffeine and naps work hand in hand. If you’ve messed up your body clock and feel sleepy in the middle of your workday, drinking coffee and taking a nap may help. According to Dr. Mark Rosekind of Alertness Solutions, drinking a cup of coffee before a short nap (less than 45 minutes) can help you wake up much faster and won’t make you feel groggy.
Check with your doctor. There are many factors that cause changes in the body clock, including medication, travel, heredity, and even daylight saving time. If you can’t pinpoint the reasons behind your strange sleep patters and the above tips don’t work for you, consulting a doctor might get you the answers that you need.
Sleeping and waking up at any time may sound like a dream life for cubicle-dwellers, but we web workers know that having unpredictable sleep patterns can be impractical and unproductive. Hopefully, by applying these tips, I won’t find myself waking up at 4:30 pm tomorrow.
What’s your ideal schedule like? Do you wake up at the same time every morning? How does web work affect your body clock?