In the perfect world we would all be morning people. We would wake up calm, refreshed and ready to tackle the day. But this isn’t a perfect world, and many of us have hectic morning routines that are considered a success only if we’re able to make it to work on time and with no coffee stains on our shirts. Don’t fret night owl—there are perks to waking up with the sun, and we’ve got some tips on making it easier.
Get More Sleep
Call me Captain Obvious, but its true! Not only do many of us wish we had more sleep, we actually need more sleep. Just like we need to make time for working out, we need to schedule 7-9 hours of sleep into our day because it is one of the most essential parts of our health. What we get from a good night’s rest cannot be supplemented elsewhere. Still, people insist they are too busy to make time for more sleep but really there is no reason that justifies why eight hours a night is not attainable.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your body is not going to be good at changing other habits, and your motivation and production levels will be nowhere near where they could potentially be.
Power down an hour prior to sleeping
Make it a point to shut off any screens an hour before the sleeping time, even if you think of catching up on your favourite TV series as a means of relaxing, don’t do it in bed. Although I won’t go so far as to suggest we leave our phones elsewhere, as many use them as an alarm, but just don’t let that screen be the last thing you look at before trying to fall asleep. If you absolutely need to use your phone or laptop, at least adjust the brightness settings to as dim as possible.
Any kind of light can shift circadian rhythms, making it harder to sleep at night. And if you’re constantly plugged in, you’re even less likely to hit the hay right away. Research has shown that the blue light emitted by electronics like laptops and cell phones disturbs sleep even more than natural light.
Listen to your body
Most of us have a certain time we usually hit the hay around every night. So when we have had an especially exhausting day, we ignore our brains when they are telling us we are drained and tired hours before we normally are. Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. Just like waiting too long to go to bed after taking a sleeping pill, powering through your tiredness instead of going right to bed can have adverse effects. It tricks your mind and causes you to feel wired while lying in bed, even when your body is physically exhausted. And who wants that?
Create a night time ritual
Slather on your favourite skincare products, read a book, reflect on the day. But whatever you choose, make sure it is something that will be a calming experience and one you can repeat every night. Over time, your body will get used to this ritual and know when it is time to shut down and go to sleep. Also make sure you clean your room before hitting the bed to avoid any distractions later at night.
You snooze, you lose!
Set one alarm for when it’s time to rise—and maybe another one a few minutes later in case you snooze through but not more than that. If you wake up feeling groggy even after plaenty of sleep, blame the REM cycle (Rapid Eye Movement ) and the twenty alarms you set and snoozed. Disrupting sleep an hour or so before actually getting out of bed may disturb our REM cycle, which helps stimulate brain regions linked to cognition – don’t want to mess with that!
Get moving immediately
The moment you wake up, get up and get moving. When we lay in bed, checking our Twitter feed, or rolling around yawning, we are allowing ourselves to let the grogginess sit in. Stretch every extremity for 15 seconds to provide your body with the much needed flow of oxygen to get you going!
Get up at the same time everyday
Don’t set your alarm the night before and base it off of whether or not you have to shower, if you can be a little late, etc. You know when you creepily wake up just minutes before your alarm sounds? That’s your internal clock. Don’t mess with it, once the rhythm is set you won’t even need an alarm clock.
Have a quick workout session
Okay okay, I’m not asking you to lift weights first thing in the morning or go cray cray. But doing a regimen such as yoga or a quick jog releases bad toxins in your body, ones that negatively affect our sleep. Obviously, a good workout is something everyone should be fitting into their schedules on a regular basis. But for those of us that are so busy we think we can’t even afford more sleep, working out can sometimes be put on the back burner — which is a huge mistake.
Have something to look forward to
Schedule your week so that you have something to look forward to, even if that something is calling a friend to catch up, going shopping, or trying out a new place for lunch (hey, it’s the little things, right?). Give yourself a reason to hop out of bed – don’t wait for Friday to be excited.
And remember, you don’t have to implement all the steps at once, take one step at a time and you’ll be surprised to find yourself waking up early in the morning refreshed, energized and loving it!