“Just five more minutes,” you whisper to yourself while pulling the covers over your head. Ten minutes later and you’re still not ready to get up. You find yourself hating the sound of the alarm clock, and struggling to keep your eyes open.
If this scenario sounds all-too familiar, you’re probably stuck in the morning rut. It’s time to make a change for the better. To feel more energized, you have to adjust both your night and your morning routine.
Having a better day starts with having a better night. Waking up in the morning is nearly impossible if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, and the time you went to bed is irrelevant if you’re having trouble falling asleep or waking up throughout the night. But sometimes, even when you get a full eight hours, the morning seems to come too soon and you’re still feeling groggy and lacking energy.
These six techniques are sure to help you feel rested, energized and ready to take on the day when the morning comes.
What To Do Before Bed
Log off at least an hour before bed. Studies have linked sleeplessness to the blue light that emanates from computer screens, tablets, smartphones, and other electronic devices. While all light interferes with sleep, blue light is particularly disruptive as it suppresses the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Bottom line: limit your exposure to blue light by leaving your device alone before bedtime. Log off and you will nod off.
Read a book. While there’s little scientific proof that counting sheep helps you fall asleep, scientists agree that you have a better chance of nodding off quickly if you drain your mind. Reading is a good way to tire the mind, and it’s also a good way to clear your head at the end of the day. Having a head full of thoughts is a sure-fire way to have a restless night sleep. The next thing you know you’re making mental lists, going over the errands you need to do in the morning, worrying about work, money, the kids, and the fact that the car needs an oil change. Distract your brain by tiring it out.
Keep cool. Turn your thermostat down about an hour before bed to give your room time to cool down. Experts say a decreasing body temperature is one of the ways the body tells itself it’s time to call it a night. To really take advantage of how body temperatures affect sleep patterns, try investing in a thermostat that can turn itself up about an hour before you have to wake up. This will help gradually wake you up, and will remove the temptation to stay wrapped in a blanket when the alarm clock goes off.
What To Do When You Wake Up In The Morning
Don’t hit the snooze button. We know… the idea of a morning without hitting the snooze button is like the idea of a morning without a cup of coffee. It’s unimaginable. But here’s the thing. Every time you hit the snooze button to steal an extra 10 or 15 minutes, you’re disrupting your body’s internal clock. In fact, hitting the snooze button actually makes you feel groggier and more persistently tired throughout the day. An extra 10 or 15 minutes is enough time to reset the body’s sleep cycle; however, as you’re unable to finish the cycle (a sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes), you wake up feeling more sluggish than you would have if you’d gotten out of bed when the the alarm first went off. In fact, The National Sleep Foundation calls this brief slumber “sleep inertia,” and it can impair your memory and decision-making capabilities.
Stretch or meditate. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Do you reach for your smartphone to check and see if you had any emails or incoming texts during the night? Do you flip on the TV to catch the news? Are you instantly stressed and worried about work? How you wake up in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. One of the easiest ways to kick start your morning is to spend five minutes stretching or meditating. We’re not talking about a full-blown exercise routine; we’re talking about taking a few minutes too loosen up the joints, increase muscle flexibility, and dispel tension. A stretching routine can easily turn into a moment of meditation and mindfulness, all of which can lead to a positive, upbeat mood.
Eat breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You know the saying, but do you follow it? And we’re not talking about a jelly donut at the drive-thru and a can of soda, either. The best way to kick start your day is to get your metabolism going. When you wake up in the morning, your blood sugar is at its lowest. You need fuel to feel energized and alert. You also need to hydrate. A large glass of water and a fresh, light, protein rich breakfast is the way to go. Think: Greek yogurt topped with strawberries and granola, or a homemade breakfast smoothie with chia seeds. If you really want to get your morning moving, you have to power-up and pile on the protein and healthy foods.
Apps To Improve Your Morning
Waking up can be difficult. Fighting the urge to hit the snooze button might be the most difficult task of the day. But getting up on the right side of the bed is a whole lot easier with the right app. While an app might not be able to assist you in getting eight peaceful hours of deep, tranquil sleep, there are apps that can help you kick start your morning:
- Sleep Cycle (available for iOS users and Android users): This free app uses your smartphone’s microphone to monitor your sleep cycle throughout the night. The app analyzes your sleep patterns to wake you up during the lightest phase of sleep (within a 30 minute window of your set alarm time), leaving you feeling more rested.
- Calm (available for iOS and Android users): Calm is a free app that helps you set an upbeat, positive tone for the day by offering over two-dozen guided meditation sessions. It takes you through seven de-stressing steps to help you start your day on the right side of the bed.
- Waze (available for iOS and Android users): If your morning commute can be inconsistent based on traffic, this free app is perfect for you. It uses real time traffic data to keep you updated on back-ups or accidents so you know exactly how long your commute will take.
How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. You want to get up and be able to put your best foot forward – positive, alert, and fully-energized. Follow these techniques and you’ll kick start your morning (without hitting the snooze button!).