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There’s two types of people in this world: early birds who bounce out of bed at the first glimpse of sunlight and night owls who pull the covers over their head when it’s time to wake up.
Even if you fall into the second category, you can still learn to love mornings. Little changes to your routine can make a drastic difference so you feel ready to take on the day.
Some of these tips are great additions to your morning routine to feel more alert. Others you can implement as lifestyle changes to make sure you get enough sleep and are prepared for the next day. Here are some tips to help you get the sleep you need and wake up early.
1. Avoid Hitting the Snooze Button
A few extra minutes of sleep can be appealing, but resisting the temptation will make it easier to get up. That’s because drockling (the official term coined by sleep specialists in the ‘70s) throws off your body’s internal clock and leads to that groggy feeling called sleep inertia. Sleep inertia can last two to four hours, making those ten to twenty extra minutes less appealing when you consider your whole day.
2. Expose Yourself to Bright Light
Your body needs natural light to reset your internal clock. Start your day by opening the shades, but keep in mind filtered sunlight isn’t good enough. Direct sunlight exposure is best. Within an hour of waking, try to get outside for a walk or have your breakfast on the patio.
3. Make the Bed
No matter how rushed your morning routine, you can spare a few minutes to make the bed. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, gets you moving and makes it harder to crawl back under the covers.
4. Drink a Glass of Orange Juice
Not only do the natural sugars in orange juice give you a rush, its bright color can help stimulate concentration and increase energy. Pour yourself a glass in the morning for the visual effects, as well as the nutrients and energy boost.
5. Enjoy a Cup of Coffee
The sound and smell of fresh brewed coffee can be heavenly when you’re struggling to get out of bed. Caffeine boosts serotonin and dopamine levels, which stave off the blues, give you energy and help you to focus. If you don’t drink coffee, you could always opt for a cup of black or green tea.
6. Drink Two Glasses of Water
Before you stumble toward the carafe, you should rehydrate yourself after going hours without water. It can jumpstart your system and ensure that your body processes work efficiently. Starting the day with two glasses of water will keep you hydrated and make you feel more awake.
After six to eight hours of stillness, our bodies need to move. Add stretching to your morning routine to release the buildup of connective tissues in your muscles and reduce stiffness. It helps wake up your body by boosting circulation and decreasing pain.
8. Start Your Day With a Workout
Exercising in the morning can boost deep sleep, meaning you wake fewer times after initially falling asleep at night. It also gets your blood pumping so you feel more alert in the moment (and throughout the day). Exercise any time of day is beneficial, just make sure you don’t schedule a workout too close to bedtime or you may have trouble falling asleep.
9. Try Aromatherapy
Certain scents such as peppermint, citrus, rosemary and eucalyptus are known for their energizing properties. It’s easy to incorporate these scents into your morning routine using essential oils, shampoos or body washes. You could also try eating a grapefruit for breakfast or slicing a lemon to add to your tea.
10. Listen to Upbeat Music
Just as some tunes are great for relaxing at the end of the day, cheerful music in the morning can boost your mood and get your body moving. Instead of waking up to a buzzing sound that you’re anxious to turn off, try setting your alarm to a song with a strong beat and positive vibe.
Stress can make you feel tired and meditation is a great way to reduce stress and improve concentration. A few minutes of relaxation can help you feel more ready to take on the day, and keep you from feeling burnt out early in the morning. You can even use an app to replace your alarm with a guided meditation.
12. Eat Protein for Breakfast
Your body needs fuel to start the day and the choices you make can leave you with an energy deficit (especially if you skip this all-important meal). A high protein breakfast enhances human performance and alertness. Don’t let a time crunch cause you to miss breakfast; you can throw all these ingredients into a delicious smoothie to go.
13. Use Your Natural Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm dictates what time of day you’ll feel alert or sleepy. If you get enough sleep (most people need seven to nine hours), you can train your body to wake at the right time by creating a consistent rhythm. Move your bedtime back by 15 minute increments each week until you’re going to bed early enough to wake fully rested.
14. Skip the Afternoon Coffee
Drinking caffeine six hours before bedtime has disruptive effects on your sleep and can reduce your total sleep time by an hour. If you know you need to be in bed by 10pm, you should avoid a 4pm coffee run. We can all lose steam mid-afternoon, but our tips below to help you power through without caffeine.
15. Avoid Alcohol
Up to 11 percent of Indians use alcohol to fall asleep. While it can make you feel drowsy, it interrupts your circadian rhythm and can cause you to wake in the middle of the night before you’re truly rested. Plus, a morning hangover can cause irritability, sickness or fatigue.
16. Power Down at Bedtime
Resist the temptation to reply to one last email before you fall asleep. Just like caffeine and alcohol, blue light can be too stimulating before bedtime. It surpresses the release of melatonin, which helps induce sleep and delays your body’s internal clock. Consider setting a digital curfew a half hour to an hour before bed.
How to Wake Up Instantly
The midday slump is real, and reaching for caffeine or sugar may seem like a quick fix. However, both can keep you up at night if you have them too late in the day. The last thing you want to do is start a cycle where you get even less sleep. Fortunately, we have a few suggestions on how to wake up naturally.
- Go for a walk: Fresh air and sunshine will help you feel more alert, and the exercise will get your heart pumping. If you can’t go outside, stand and do some stretches to get your blood flowing.
- Shock your body: Splash your face with cold water, drink a glass of ice water or rub an ice cube on your wrist. Cold triggers the hormone adrenaline for a fast stimulating effect.
- Gently tug on your hair: The pulling can get blood flowing to your head and the sensation can help make you feel more alert.
- Mentally change gears: Studies show that brief diversions can help you refocus. Try a crossword puzzle or read some fiction to get your mind moving.
If you’re still waking up exhausted, you may need to look at the quality of your sleep. Investing in a comfortable mattress, sheets and pillows can help turn your bedroom into a sleep haven. The amount of sleep you get each night, as well as the quality of that sleep, can make all the difference when it comes to waking up well-rested and refreshed.