Optimizing Sleep: A 5-Day Experiment in Falling Asleep and Waking Up

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Sleep, often considered a principal factor of health and well-being, is a complex process that we haven’t quite fully understood yet. It can be influenced by a variety of factors, including lifestyle habits and environmental cues. Recognizing the significance of a good night’s sleep and the role it plays in your mood and productivity during the day, I embarked on a personal experiment. Spanning 5 days, I explore different strategies for both falling asleep and waking up, aiming to identify the most effective routine. Follow me along as I try to perfect my sleep habits with the help of my Fitbit sleep tracker.

Day 1: Normal TikTok Scrolling vs. One Alarm and Sun Lamp

Normal TikTok Scrolling:

For many, the nightly ritual of scrolling through TikTok has become commonplace. However, despite its convenience and clear entertainment value (when else can I stay up to date with the current trends and memes), it’s been well-documented how this activity can lead to heightened mental stimulation, making it challenging to unwind before bedtime. While it does provide an easy transition to falling asleep and the ability to brain rot in bed, I inevitably become annoyed by people online and the known impact of screen exposure on sleep quality is too big of a drawback to this routine.

Sleep Score: 73/100 (Fair)

One Alarm and Sun Lamp:

Contrasting the digital overload of TikTok, waking up to a gentle sunrise simulation offered by a sunlamp was a refreshing start to my morning. Mimicking the natural light progression of dawn, the sunlamp provided a very calm wake-up and allowed me to slowly transition from sleep to being up and ready to go. However, there is a risk of falling back asleep after the initial wake-up and my body has adjusted to the light so does need an alarm to remind me to actually get out of bed.

Day 2: Reading Without Phone vs. Multiple Alarms in 5-Minute Increments

Reading Without Phone:

Choosing to unwind with a book instead of a bright digital screen proved to be a good choice in my nighttime routine. The lack of screen-induced mental stimulation led to a calmer state of mind, easing the transition into sleep. However, I was restless to begin with and ended up a little bored but that may be more due to the book choice of the evening.

Sleep Score: 82/100 (Good)

Multiple Alarms in 5-Minute Increments:

Embraced the most common wake-up routine this morning with multiple alarms at 5-minute intervals. While it did offer a reprieve from the anxiety of oversleeping and a rushed panicked morning, the disruptive nature of frequent alarms meant my sleep was left fragmented and as a result, I had drowsiness that I could not shake.

Day 3: Meditation vs. Alarm on the Other Side of the Room


Went with meditation for this evening routine and followed a guided exercise on Spotify. It introduced a sense of mindfulness and relaxation that helped me feel ready to fall asleep. However, once the exercise was over, restlessness and boredom came quickly and highlighted the need for a balanced approach to mindfulness techniques.

Sleep Score: 68/100 (Ok)

Alarm on the Other Side of the Room:

Placing the alarm away from the bedside aimed to discourage snoozing and push me to immediately awake. While it was effective in ensuring I was promptly awake and up, the temptation to linger in bed while the alarm continued to play proved to be a challenge as I enjoy spending a few minutes in bed to collect my thoughts before the day ahead. I was left feeling rushed and slightly panicked.

Day 4: Watching TV vs. Music Playing a Favourite Song

Watching TV:

Opted for watching TV for my fourth night as it offered a familiar form of relaxation. However, the toughest part of this routine was simply deciding on the show I wanted to watch as I couldn’t be too interested in the show or too bored by it. The disruptive nature of the screen light also meant I woke up halfway through the night when the show changed, or a particular bright scene came on.

Sleep Score: 75/100 (Fair)

Music Playing a Favourite Song:

Waking up to an upbeat song did inject a dose of positivity and energy into my morning routine and I found a smile on my face before even stepping out of bed. However, the risk of associating the song with waking up can leave a once favourite song avoided at all costs. It was quite a startling awakening as the song began playing so song choice needs careful selection and moderation.

Day 5: Podcast vs. No Alarm, Curtains Open


Falling asleep to a podcast proved to be a stimulating yet non-intrusive alternative to screen-based entertainment. The absent of visual stimuli and the engaging nature of podcasts left me with a smooth transition to sleep and improved my sleep quality. Spotify also allows you to put a sleep timer on your podcast, so it goes off after a certain amount of time, avoiding waking me up in the night because a scene has changed.

Sleep Score: 83/100 (Good)

No Alarm, Curtains Open:

I fully embraced a natural wake-up approach for the last day of the experiment, devoid of any artificial alarm sounds and used the gentle natural light. This ended up being a serene start to the day, however, anxiety surrounding oversleeping and the lack of a structured alarm left me waking up way earlier than I would have normally, so as to not risk falling back to sleep.

Overall Reflections and Conclusions:

Throughout the experiment, each morning and night strategy revealed a unique set of benefits and drawbacks. Falling asleep to a podcast is still a firm favourite and what I found to be the most effective method, offering a balance of stimulation and relaxation without any bright screens. Similarly, waking up to a sun lamp provided a gentle and natural transition in the morning, allowing my day to start off refreshed and energised.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that individual preferences and lifestyles play a significant role in determining the efficacy of sleep routines. While my experiment offers insights into optimising sleep quality, the quest for the perfect sleep routine remains a highly personal journey, requiring your own experimentation and adaption. Prioritising sleep and investing in the quality of your sleep can help boost your energy and motivation.

Now that you’ve had a great night's sleep and awoken filled with motivation to seize the day, why not check out the opportunities we have available and apply today!