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Moving your Sleep and Energy Schedule

Put your circadian rhythm to work for you today.

What determines when I go to bed and wake up?

Your energy schedule is determined by your circadian rhythm, which Rise refers to as your energy schedule. Your energy schedule, also known as your circadian rhythm, is impacted by three main factors: light, melatonin, and sleep schedule.

  • Light. Light is by far the most significant factor that starts and stops your energy schedule.
  • Melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that makes you feel sleepy and predictably follows exposure to light, which is why light matters so much. However, melatonin can be used by itself to help influence your energy schedule.
  • Sleep schedule. When you wake up and go to bed—your sleep schedule—impacts your energy schedule. The most noticeable effect is the impact your wake time has on your energy schedule as wake time directly influences when your morning peak starts due to morning grogginess.

Moving wake time and still feeling refreshed

You can put these insights into practice by taking these simple but powerful actions:

  • Set a new wake and bedtime goal. This should be a wake time that allows you to get your sleep need—to ensure that you don't accumulate any sleep debt. Try to gradually shift your bedtime by 30mins every few days.
  • Expose yourself to light as soon as you wake up. If you don't have sunlight you can get a light lamp.
  • Remove light 90mins before your target bedtime. These $10 blue light blocking glasses can help remove light—we're often surrounded by artificial light and blue light emitting screens.
  • Drink caffeine at a low and slow pace to help keep you awake, avoid it 10hrs before bed. This helps cope with the morning grogginess, but don't have it too late as caffeine stays in your system for 10hrs and will impact your bedtime.
  • Take melatonin—as low as 0.5mg—about 30mins before your target bedtime.
  • Take a nap, if you can, to help keep your sleep debt low. Avoid naps 8-10hr before your bedtime when possible.

As always, continue to use healthy sleep practices such as planning to wind down with something relaxing an hour before bed and having a good sleep environment—that's dark (or use our favorite a sleep mask), quiet (or use earplugs), and comfortable.

Can a night owl become a morning person?

Yes, but moving your wake time may be more or less difficult based on your genetics.

Genetics plays a large role in your preference for an earlier or later sleep time and wake time—your chronotype. If you can't find a job and lifestyle that matches your chronotype, which is true for many people, you can shift your chronotype with the advice in this article.

However, the strength of your genetic programming will determine how much time + willpower you'll need to shift your sleep schedule and if you'll easily fall back into your previous sleep schedule.

If you know that you're a strong early or late chronotype, it's especially important that you manage your light exposure, give yourself a few extra days to slowly adjust to your target wake time, and make sure you stick to it.