15 Ways to make waking up easier
Are you a morning person?!
Do you wanna be!?!
I know for some of us it's a hell yes, and for others it's a "hold on let me get my 4th cup of coffee before I talk to anyone..."
I can't tell you how many people I've talked to who wish that they could wake up earlier, wish that they could get more done, wish that they could get up earlier in the morning so that they can eat breakfast, workout, read, meditate - whatever!
But often we go about trying to wake up earlier wrong! We cold-turkey decide to start waking up earlier and pack our morning with a long, elaborate schedule of activities, some of which we don't even like! What's wrong with this? Well, for one, I can tell you from experience and from talking to those people that it doesn't work!
So, what does? Start by tackling these 15 ways to make waking up easier, broken up into evening and morning activities...
For the evening...
Get enough sleep! I know, I know! It's obvious as hell, but hear me out! The National Sleep Foundation says that we need to get 7-9 hours of sleep - boom, science! Yet, so many of us convince ourselves that these rules don't apply to us. False! So wrong! You may "feel fine," but your body likely could be functioning better if you were getting enough sleep. And, you're going to wake up so much better if you get that 7-9 hours!
Be consistent...even on the weekends! This one is hard, I know! But, we kind of rock our systems when we have at 5am-10 schedule on the weekdays, and a noon-3am schedule on the weekends. That Sunday to Monday transition is rough and that's because our body is never able to get used to things! Figure out a set schedule, and set that alarm for the same time no matter what day of the week it is!
Power down your electronics. Blue light from your electronics - computers, phones, tablets, TVs - affects melatonin production, which is what helps you fall asleep! So, when you've got your nose in your phone, kindle fire, ipad, or computer literally right up until you fall, asleep, chance are your sleep isn't going to be that good! You've thrown off your biology! So, power down! Decide that 30-60 mins before bed you're going to power down the electronics.
Wind down with a pre-sleep routine. Athletes have pre-game rituals, and whether we know it our not, most of us have morning routines. So, why not have a bed-time routine too? It can be something as simple as sipping on a decaffeinated herbal tea and reading for 10-20 minutes before you go to sleep. Make it simple and to the point, but, most importantly, make it consistent so that your body can recognize that it's bedtime!
Avoid alcohol right before bed. Alcohol makes you drowsy - we all know this. And most of us know from experience that a little alcohol makes falling asleep easier. But, what we may not know is that drinking alcohol right before we go to bed actually impairs the restorative part of our sleep cycle - the REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep. This may lead to more drowsiness during the day, making you feel more tired. So, though a drink with dinner may not be a bad idea, it will improve your sleep and make your morning easier if you skip the nightcap!
Nix the evening caffeine. Alright, I'm just going to say it - I love coffee! I'm from the birthplace of Starbucks, so I feel like it was a product of my environment! ;-) I would totally drink it all day, but this is one of those times, when talking about sleep and waking up in the morning, that I know I shouldn't! A single 8 fl oz cup of coffee can contain 80-120mg of caffeine. That's a lot! And though that kick in the booty may sound good when you're dragging in the evening, realize that that caffeine buzz is going to stay in your system for 4-6 hours. So, plan appropriately and maybe trade the evening coffee for some herbal, caffeine-tree! Your morning zombie self is going to thank you for it!
Sleep in total darkness. Plain and simple, the light we're exposed regulates our melatonin production, which I mentioned before. This is the key hormone that regulates or sleep patterns. When you're exposing yourself to light, you're messing with these patterns by altering that amount of melatonin that is or isn't produced. So, for the best night's sleep, make your room as dark as possible. Ditch the bright nightlights, get blackout shades or a sleeping mask, whatever! Just get your room dark to sleep better, and then to make your mornings easier. For more information on how light affects your sleep, check out this article.
For the morning...
Don't cold-turkey! Make it gradual! Whenever I talk to people who want to start waking up earlier, they just set the alarm for 5 am (after typically sleeping in until 7am) and seemingly expect to just fricken do it. Ya - that may work for a day, but long term? No dice. If you want to start waking up earlier, promise to make it gradual! Move your wake up (and bedtime!) up by 15 minutes incrementally. That way you're not putting yourself into sleep debt by making the adjustment cold-turkey.
Say no to your phone and get a REAL alarm! Where my people at who love their iPhone alarms? Me! Trust me I get it - it's great having that little dude around keeping me entertained right up until I close my eyes. But, then, if I have an idea or get bored or remember something, it's WAY too easy for me to pick him back up and start Facebook stalking or Instagramming and before I know it - it's almost midnight. Obviously, I've done this a lot! So, my friends, do yourself a favor and get a REAL alarm clock. Remove that temptation and actually get to sleep on time.
Put your alarm across the room. Has anyone else ever reached over, turned off their alarm, and woken up 45 minutes later without any recollection of having ever turned the dang thing off? I have done this so many times! Seriously. It's bad! Do yourself a favor and put that dang thing across the room! Forcing yourself to get up and get out of bed to turn off your alarm is a sure way to actually get you up and going in the morning, and keeps you from mindlessly swatting snooze in your morning, zombie grogginess.
Wake up to your FAVORITE SONG! Music is a powerful thing. In so many ways, it can set our mood and set the tone for our day! Instead of waking up to an obnoxious beeping or blaring alarm, set your alarm to some good tunes. Preferably, choose a song that actually gets you excited to tackle the day! My current alarm song? "I Believe" By: Yolanda Adams. Such a freaking pick me up!
Don't hit snooze. Okay, I'm just going to say it right now - I am guilty as charged when it comes to this one! I'm a snoozer. I have 4 alarms. But reading about this one has been enlightening to say the least! Did you know that as we near the end of our night's sleep, our body is releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to kickstart our wakeup? So, when our alarm goes off and we hit that snooze, forcing in 10 more fitful minutes of, we're actually disrupting the REM cycle of our sleeping patterns, and making ourselves more groggy - not less. Dang it. I guess I'll have to take my own advice on this one.
Give yourself something to look forward to! One of my many tips to waking up earlier is to start your day with something you look forward to! Maybe it's a hot shower, your favorite coffee drink, a delicious breakfast, all little you time, a FUN workout or class you love, great music... Even on days (like today!) when I wake up a little later then I planned, I genuinely look forward to my morning! Music, a nice hot cup of coffee ☕️, affirmations and gratitude, a fun workout, a yummy breakfast, and more music! What do you look forward to? What would make your morning ideal? Schedule that into your morning so that waking up can be even more exciting!
Workout! Elle Woods couldn't have said it better - "Exercise gives you endorphins! Endorphins make you happy!" Endorphins, which are produced by exercise, act almost like a natural drug, producing a euphoric sensation. Ever heard of runner's high? Yup - that's it right there! So, what better way to kick start your day than to instigate a natural high with a little sweat sesh?
Eat breakfast. The scientist in me almost didn't want to include this, because, well, the sources are contradictory. So, fair warning this is a personal preference here! I personally believe that mornings are better when you fill that tummy up with a good, nutritious, healthy meal. I personally find that it makes me more energized, more focused, and more productive when my stomach is full. Plus, I just LOVE breakfast and my mornings are better and more exciting when I don't skip it! For more information on the TRUTH about breakfast and weight loss, check out this well-cited article from Women's Health.
That's all for now! Sleep tight - and rise rested! ;-)