- Why Is It So Hard To Wake Up In The Morning? Your Body Might Have This Message For You
- Can’t Get Out of Bed
- I Wish I Knew These 15 Tricks To Waking Up Earlier
- 1. Plan your schedule to allow adequate time for sleep.
- 2. Gradually adjust your bedtime.
- 3. Optimize your bedroom for more efficient sleep.
- 4. Use visualization to fall asleep faster.
- 5. Use a sleep cycle monitor or app to wake up fresher.
- 6. Booby trap your alarm clock.
- 7. Remember why you are waking up early, positively.
- 8. Utilize acupressure to wake up.
- 9. Turbo-charge your morning routine.
- 10. Incorporate a nap into your afternoon.
- 11. Watch what you eat and drink after noon.
- 12. Banish electronics before bed.
- 13. Make your mornings stress-free and simple.
- 14. Address any potential snooze-stealing issues.
- 15. Keep your sleep-wake schedule as consistent as possible.
- zen habits : breathe
- The Zen of Waking Up Early: 10 ways to solidify a morning wakeup ritual
- 1. Find your “purple pill”
- 2. Reward yourself
- 3. Take it easy on yourself
- 4. Create a solid nighttime ritual
- 5. Shut off your devices past a certain time
- 6. Reduce your exposure to blue light 2-3 hours before bed
- 7. Stop consuming caffeine 4-6 hours before you sleep
- 8. Ease into the ritual
- 9. Anticipate obstacles ahead of time
- 10. Be honest with yourself in the process
- 1. Turn up the light
- 2. Get the sleep you need
- 3. Sleep at the right time
- 4. Wake up at the same time
- 5. Ditch the snooze button
- Make your coffee bitter
- Grab a few minutes of direct sunlight
- Pull your hair
- Splash cold water on your face
- Use your computer as an alarm clock
- Take a meme break
- Pop a strong mint
- Massage your hands
- Interact with a complete stranger
- Play fast-tempo music
- Stretch your back, neck and legs
- Take off some layers
- Flip your head upside-down
- Bite a lemon!
- 34 Ways to Wake Up Feeling Refreshed and Ready to Go
- 1. Just say no to snoozing
- 2. Leave your phone alone
- 3. Shine some light on the matter
- 4. Make the bed
- 5. Pump up the tunes
- 6. Diffuse a zesty scent
- 7. Pull your hair — no, really
- 8. Stretch
- 9. Get out of your jammies
- 10. Douse your face with cold water
- 11. Drink water before caffeine
- 12. Eat protein for breakfast
- 13. Make your morning work for you
- 14. Be consistent with your routines
- 15. Pass on that afternoon coffee run
- 16. Avoid alcohol
- 17. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow
- 18. Prep your morning mojo
- 19. Get your breakfast ready
- 20. Use a sleep app
- 21. Keep your room cool
- 22. Keep the screens out of your bed
- 23. Choose an alarm that’ll make you want to wake up
- 24. Make sure your alarm is set — and far away from you
- 25. Choose an alarm with a brain teaser
- 26. Have an evening routine
- 27. Play white noise
- 28. Don’t linger in bed if you can’t sleep
- 29. Get a better pillow
- 30. Choose the right mattress
- 31. Assess your blanket situation
- 32. Adjust the lighting
- 33. Keep the walls a neutral color
- 34. Ban Fido from your bed
- A New Day Dawns
- Ready for a better night’s sleep?
Why Is It So Hard To Wake Up In The Morning? Your Body Might Have This Message For You
If you’re not a morning person, waking up is hard to do. Maybe you hit snooze eleventy million times, eventually stumble to the kitchen for coffee, and wonder why it’s so hard for you to wake up in the morning when others seem to have no problem bouncing out of bed to greet the day like Joey’s annoying neighbor on Friends. The one who sings that “Morning’s Here” song, which jolts an angry Rachel awake after she and Monica lose a bet with the guys, are forced to switch apartments, and she ends up in Joey’s old room.
If you struggle to start your day, you probably want to tell that neighbor to shut up. For morning haters, there’s a few reasons why it takes you so long to get going. One surprising reason some people are morning lovers and others greet the day with dread might be genetic, according to a study from 23andMe published in the journal Nature Communications. A press release about the study reported that researchers identified 15 locations in human DNA associated with “morningness,” which is thought to be related to insomnia and other sleep problems. Yes, this is a real word that you can start using ASAP. As in: Leave me alone, I have morningness.
Marcello Zorzi on YouTube
“The study of more than 89,000 23andMe customers who consented to participate in research found that seven of the loci associated with morningness are near genes previously known to be involved in circadian rhythm.”
Another reason you struggle to climb out of bed is something called phase delay, according to Popular Science. This means that you adjust your sleep schedule to the demands of your life, like the time your expected at work, versus what your body needs. For people with phase delay, this forced schedule doesn’t align with your natural circadian rhythm. Unfortunately, the only way to get your body to align with your schedule is to get up at the same time every day, which means no sleeping in on the weekends.
If this sounds like torture, a study by mattress company Purple found that sleep quality actually decreases after 7 a.m., and those who participated in the study and reported feeling well rested said they regularly rise at 6 a.m. As a former night owl who now gets up ay 6 a.m., I can attest that this is true for me.
“Not only did the time of day play a part in sleep quality, but satisfied sleepers also slept for longer stretches: They averaged 7.3 hours per night (just above the minimum number of hours suggested for adults aged 18 to 64), compared to just 6.2 hours among their unsatisfied counterparts,” the study revealed.
Your quality of sleep also plays a role in whether or not you have a hard time waking up in the morning. If you’re tossing and turning all night, you’re going to be tired AF no matter what time you wake up. This is where practicing a clean-sleeping routine can help. While it’s called clean sleeping, it actually has nothing to do with having clean sheets, though that helps too.
Clean sleeping is all about having a solid bedtime routine that allows you to wind down before going to bed by indulging in your favorite form of self-care. Take a bath, practice yoga or meditation, spray lavender on your pillow, and unplug from electronics at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
It’s also important that your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, curtains or a sleep mask to block out artificial light, and a white noise app if you live in a loud urban area. The bottom line? If waking up early is not your jam, and you find yourself dragging all day, your body is telling you to take more time for evening self-care and to get up earlier, ideally at the same time every day.
Additionally, being meh in the morning could also mean you’re not drinking enough water. Experts recommend starting your day with a glass of water before you have any coffee or food. Skeptical? Try it for 30 days and see if you feel better. If you think you have morningness issues, you’re going to have to work a little harder to establish a new routine, but it’s still worth a try because being tired all the time sucks. #TheMoreYouKnow
Can’t Get Out of Bed
I have bouts of depression and have found that my biggest problem is that I want to sleep to escape my ruminations. In the morning, as I wake up, I start ruminating. In fact, I am ruminating so much about all the bad things that can happen to me and my guilt over the past that all I want to do is stay in bed. I do better when I make sure that I get no more than nine hours of sleep and set a time to wake up and spend the first hour exercising, reading the paper, reading a book, writing in my journal, or basically relaxing. It is just hard for me to get out of bed.
Sleep disturbance is almost universal in depression. Hypersomnia, or excessive sleep, is less common than is insomnia. but more typical of younger than older people.
Excessive sleeping is usually just what it is for you—a means to avoid dealing with what seems like an overwhelming and difficult life. You apparently use staying in bed and sleep as escape from the demands of your life, especially when you focus on what has already gone wrong and what may yet still go wrong with your life.
There is a strong relationship between depression and avoidance. Avoidance is a terrible coping mechanism. It instantly defines you as a victim by suggesting that somehow you can’t cope with whatever is going on, as if you’re a victim of life.
Escape, whether by excessive sleeping, or through alcohol or drug abuse, reinforces your belief that you can’t cope skillfully by managing things directly. That’s not a perception a depressed person should reinforce intentionally or unintentionally.
If you can’t face your life, then who can? If you don’t have the skills to manage what’s in your head and what’s in your world, there’s no one who can do it for you. As soon as you tell yourself you “can’t,” you must.
It is not a coincidence that on the days that you limit your sleep, get active in your own behalf, have a structure for the day, and move through it, you feel better. It would help for you to refine that process and make it a daily protocol for yourself. Some people need more structure in their lives than others, and you may be one of them.
I can safely predict that you will ruminate much less and feel much stronger and better when you feel you have developed the life skills to face your life rather than try to escape from it. And if you need to change your life in positive ways (new career, new hobbies, etc.) to do so, then do so. A good cognitive-behavioral therapist who will push you to be active in your own behalf might be helpful, too. You can do it.
I Wish I Knew These 15 Tricks To Waking Up Earlier
Many people have difficulty waking up early when trying to transition to a new schedule or simply seeking to get more done in the day. Others struggle with falling asleep early every night, making mornings a challenge.
Rising early does have real benefits that make it a worthwhile goal, like improving your chances of getting a workout in, putting you in a better mood, encouraging healthier eating and improved proactivity.
As a lifelong night owl, I know the struggle of trying to wake up and slog through the day on an early bird’s schedule. In my attempts to improve sleep habits and get better rest, I researched and found several tricks that truly made going to sleep and waking up in the morning easier.
Read on to learn 15 useful strategies for waking up earlier that I wish I had known years ago!
1. Plan your schedule to allow adequate time for sleep.
The average adult needs a minimum of seven hours (and up to nine hours) of sleep every night. The first trick to waking up earlier, is to make sure your bedtime allows you to get enough rest in every night without stressing over the clock or feeling fatigued the next day.
If you want to wake up at 6:00am, for example, then your bedtime needs to be no later than 10:30pm. Remember it takes an average of 10-20 minutes to fall asleep, and you also need to factor in time for evening pre-bed routines as well.
2. Gradually adjust your bedtime.
Move your bedtime and wake time in gradual, 15-minute increments to reduce shock to your system and daytime fatigue. Trying to change your schedule by an hour or more right away is a surefire way to feel tired and give up.
If you want to wake up an hour earlier, give yourself at least 4 days to make the transition, getting to bed 15 minutes earlier and setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier each day. You can spend a few days at each increment if that works better for you, too.
3. Optimize your bedroom for more efficient sleep.
For many nightowls, the biggest struggle is falling asleep early enough at night. Your bedroom plays a big role in this, so make sure you are setting the stage for the best sleep possible.
Temperatures should be cool, between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, your mattress and bedding should be cozy and comfortable, and your space should be clean and free of clutter.
Light should be kept to an absolute minimum as it can impair your melatonin production, as should distracting sounds. Light blocking shades or an eye mask as well as a sound conditioner or ear plugs can be helpful if you have limited control over the environment.
4. Use visualization to fall asleep faster.
Another helpful trick for falling asleep faster is to use visualization to clear your mind and relax. One study from Oxford researchers found visualization more effective than counting or simply laying down.
To do this, imagine a relaxing, calming scene and try to experience it in as much detail as possible with all of your senses. You might be walking down a beach at sunset or strolling through a calm forest.
If your thoughts start to wonder, come back to your scene. There are also guided visualization apps and YouTube videos that can help you stay focused and practice this technique.
5. Use a sleep cycle monitor or app to wake up fresher.
(Image from SleepCycle.com)
Smartphone sleep cycle apps or sleep monitoring devices can be helpful for avoiding groggy mornings and for tracking your habits.
When you wake up in an REM sleep cycle, it could take several minutes to recover from the groggy and foggy sleep state. These apps and devices aim to work by monitoring your sleep cycles and waking you at point that is most likely to have you feeling awake and well-rested (within a specified timeframe).
The other, and perhaps more useful, aspect of tracking your sleep is that you can see what disturbs your slumber versus which habits help you sleep better and deeper.
6. Booby trap your alarm clock.
(Image from NootropicDesign.com)
For those of us who have developed stealth alarm snooze skills, you may need to get a little creative with your alarm clock until your body is more used to waking up early.
You can start by placing your alarm far enough away from your bed that you have to get up and move, taping over or covering up the snooze button, or otherwise creating an obstacle that prevents you from slipping back off to bed.
Another solution could be to try creative alarm apps that require you to perform complex tasks before shutting off.
7. Remember why you are waking up early, positively.
(Image from psu.edu blog)
If motivation to get out of bed is your weakness, then create reminders for yourself about why you want to achieve this goal or positive affirmations to encourage you.
On smartphones, you could name your alert to match your motivation, such as: “Fit into skinny jeans!”, “Increase sales 20%!”, “Get an A+!”, or “Today is a special day!” or leave positive sticky notes on your alarm, pillow, or bathroom mirror.
8. Utilize acupressure to wake up.
One study from University of Michigan researchers found that basic acupressure techniques helped boost alertness. These simple techniques take only a couple of minutes, and can even be done in bed or whenever you need a boost during the day.
Stimulation points for alertness include the top of your head, top of the back of your neck, back of your hand between your thumb and index finger, right below your knees, and the center of the bottom of your foot.
9. Turbo-charge your morning routine.
Get going quicker after you wake up by incorporating water, light, activity and healthy food into your morning routine.
Start your morning with a big glass of cold water (some people also swear by warm water with lemon) to recover from nighttime dehydration.
Try to expose yourself to natural sunlight as soon as possible to support your natural wakefulness rhythms. A little energy-boosting aromatherapy can also help. If you are a coffee drinker, put a pot on and enjoy the aroma. Other good wakeup scents include orange, lemon, rosemary, and mint.
Next, try to do a little exercise, even if it’s only a couple minutes of light yoga or jumping jacks – just to get your blood pumping and energy flowing. Don’t forget to eat a healthy breakfast early as well to support your metabolism and energy levels through lunch.
10. Incorporate a nap into your afternoon.
If waking up earlier has you feeling sluggish in the afternoon, a short afternoon nap can refresh your energy levels and give you a second wind.
Shorter naps are best for boosting alertness without causing grogginess or impacting your nighttime sleep. Studies say naps between 10 and 20 minutes are best, just make sure to keep them around 8 hours before your planned bedtime.
11. Watch what you eat and drink after noon.
Certain foods, supplements and drinks can steal sleep by stimulating energy or causing indigestion.
Caffeine and other stimulants can affect you for several hours, so when trying to fall asleep early or adjust your schedule, it can be helpful to avoid them or at least limit them to morning hours.
Coffee, caffeinated tea, dark chocolate, sugar, guarana and diet/slimming supplements are all things to watch out for. Spicy, greasy or heavy foods to close to bed are also bad for Zzz’s.
12. Banish electronics before bed.
Another less obvious stimulant is light, particularly blue light that televisions, computers and other electronics emit. Light exposure at night can impair natural melatonin production, delaying drowsiness and keeping you up later at night.
Try to detach from your devices at least 60 minutes before bed – that means no smart phones, laptops, tablets, televisions and keeping room lights dim as well. Instead, try reading, listening to music or an audiobook, writing in a journal, a warm bath or relaxing stretching to wind down your evening.
13. Make your mornings stress-free and simple.
Does the thought of everything you need to do make you want to hide under the covers? Try getting motivated to wake up by paring down your morning routine and giving yourself something to look forward to.
You could lay out your outfit and get all of your things together at night, have quick and healthy breakfasts and lunches ready to go, set the coffee pot on auto-timer, and look for other ways to do your less enticing activities at night so mornings are smooth sailing.
14. Address any potential snooze-stealing issues.
If you’ve tried all of the trusted tricks for improving sleep habits but still find yourself feeling tired or have persistent sleep troubles, it might be worthwhile to chat with your doctor.
Certain medications, allergies, or other treatable conditions could be at the root of your sleep problems. Sleep apnea is a major one to be aware of, especially if you are a heavy snorer or wake feeling tired despite spending enough time sleeping.
15. Keep your sleep-wake schedule as consistent as possible.
And, saving the best for last, one of the most effective ways to get comfortable with waking up earlier is to stick to a consistent schedule, even on the weekends.
In addition to potential healthy weight benefits, a consistent sleep wake schedule means your body knows what to expect and reduces the likelihood of sleep problems. Set a sleep and wake time you can stick to every day of the week, aiming for no more than an hour of variation for the best results.
Share: What sleep tricks or changes help you fall asleep faster or wake up earlier?
zen habits : breathe
By Leo Babauta
I’ve found that waking early has been one of the best things I’ve done as I’ve changed my life recently, and I thought I’d share my tips. I just posted about my morning routine, and thought you might like to know how I get up at 4:30 a.m.
For many years, I was a late riser. I loved to sleep in. Then things changed, because I had to wake up between 6-6:30 a.m. to fix my kids’ lunches and get them ready for school. But last year, when I decided to train for my first marathon, I decided that I needed to start running in the mornings if I was to have any time left for my family.
So, I set out to make waking up early a habit. I started by getting up at 5:30 a.m., then at 5 a.m. When that became a habit, and I had to wake up at 4 a.m. or 3:30 a.m. for an early long run, it wasn’t a problem. And last November, when I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, I decided to get up at 4 a.m. to write for at least an hour a day. Now that I completed that novel-writing goal, I don’t need to wake that early anymore, but have settled on a happy compromise of waking at 4:30 a.m. Some days, when I’m really tired (if I go to sleep late), I’ll wake at 5:00 or 5:30, but that’s still earlier than I used to wake up.
Here are my tips for becoming an early riser:
- Don’t make drastic changes. Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to this for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.
- Allow yourself to sleep earlier. You might be used to staying up late, perhaps watching TV or surfing the Internet. But if you continue this habit, while trying to get up earlier, sooner or later one is going to give. And if it is the early rising that gives, then you will crash and sleep late and have to start over. I suggest going to bed earlier, even if you don’t think you’ll sleep, and read while in bed. If you’re really tired, you just might fall asleep much sooner than you think.
- Put your alarm clock far from you bed. If it’s right next to your bed, you’ll shut it off or hit snooze. Never hit snooze. If it’s far from your bed, you have to get up out of bed to shut it off. By then, you’re up. Now you just have to stay up.
- Go out of the bedroom as soon as you shut off the alarm. Don’t allow yourself to rationalize going back to bed. Just force yourself to go out of the room. My habit is to stumble into the bathroom and go pee. By the time I’ve done that, and flushed the toilet and washed my hands and looked at my ugly mug in the mirror, I’m awake enough to face the day.
- Do not rationalize. If you allow your brain to talk you out of getting up early, you’ll never do it. Don’t make getting back in bed an option.
- Allow yourself to sleep in once in awhile. Despite what I just said in the previous point, once in awhile it’s nice to sleep in. As long as it’s not a regular thing. I do it maybe once a week or so.
- Make waking up early a reward. Yes, it might seem at first that you’re forcing yourself to do something hard, but if you make it pleasurable, soon you will look forward to waking up early. My reward used to be to make a hot cup of coffee and read a book. I’ve recently cut out coffee, but I still enjoy reading my book. Other rewards might be a tasty treat for breakfast (smoothies! yum!) or watching the sunrise, or meditating. Find something that’s pleasurable for you, and allow yourself to do it as part of your morning routine.
- Take advantage of all that extra time. Don’t wake up an hour or two early just to read your blogs, unless that’s a major goal of yours. Don’t wake up early and waste that extra time. Get a jump start on your day! I like to use that time to get a head start on preparing my kids’ lunches, on planning for the rest of the day (when I set my MITs), on exercising or meditating, and on reading. By the time 6:30 rolls around, I’ve done more than many people do the entire day.
- Enjoy the break of dawn! As much as you can, look outside (or better yet, get outside!) and watch the sky turn light. It’s beautiful. And it’s quiet and peaceful. It’s now my favorite time of day. Getting up early is a reward in itself for me.
The Zen of Waking Up Early: 10 ways to solidify a morning wakeup ritual
Takeaway: To solidify a morning wakeup ritual, find your “purple pill”, reward yourself when you wake up early, take it easy on yourself in the process, create a nighttime ritual, shut off your devices past a certain time, reduce your exposure to blue light 2-3 hours before bed, stop consuming caffeine 4-6 hours before you sleep, ease into the ritual, anticipate obstacles ahead of time, and be honest with yourself in the process. Whew.
Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes, 11s. But it’s pretty skimmable.
Something worth thinking about before you read this article: waking up early has been shown to have no impact on your socioeconomic standing or productivity. That said, I think waking up early is most definitely a keystone habit that has the potential to create a chain reaction to change and rearrange the other habits in your life. Before you read this article, I think it’s worth seriously thinking about what you want to get out of waking up earlier. Personally, I love the feeling of having worked out, meditated, and planned my day before breakfast, but your mileage may vary.
Since I started A Year of Productivity about ten months ago, I’ve been slowly chipping away at my habits and routines to solidify a ritual to wake up at 5:30 every weekday. And let me say: even though I’ve woken up at 5:30 for the last two months, getting there has been anything but easy.
But I have learned a ton along the way.
The ten methods below have worked better than anything else to help me solidify a morning wakeup ritual. I’ve picked up a few of these strategies through research, but stumbled upon most of them through pure trial and error, and by throwing a bunch of ideas at the wall to see what stuck. Your mileage may vary, but I personally believe that most, if not all, of the items on this list will help you solidify a morning wakeup ritual as well. Good luck!
1. Find your “purple pill”
Every morning, right after my alarm clock wakes me up at 5:30, I take two purple creatine (workout) tablets that will help me work out longer. But here’s the thing: the bottle for the tablets clearly states to take them only 30 minutes before a workout, so as soon as I swallow the pills, they become a ticking time bomb that force me to be at the gym for 6. It does the trick every morning.
Even if you don’t have a morning workout ritual, you likely have a similar “purple pill” that will get you out of bed every morning. Here are a few examples:
- Buy a time-based coffee maker that will automatically brew you a fresh pot of coffee when you want to wake up
- Drink a huge glass of water right before you go to bed. You won’t have a choice but to get out of bed to use the bathroom in the morning!
- Don’t check your email past 6pm. If you’re anything like me, you’ll practically spring out of bed to see if you received anything new and exciting
Your mind is a stubborn beast, so often you have to trick it into submission. Finding your “purple pill” is one of my favorite ways to convince my mind to get out of bed every morning.
2. Reward yourself
When I interviewed Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, he talked about how important it is to reward yourself when adopting a new habit. He used the example of exercising more. “Even if you think you want to start exercising, your brain essentially thinks that you’re a liar and that you don’t actually like exercise. So what you have to do is train your brain so it knows that exercise is linked to something you know that you enjoy, like a piece of chocolate, taking a nice long shower, or spending 15 minutes on Facebook. It doesn’t matter what the reward is. What matters is it’s genuinely rewarding, and that you allow yourself to enjoy that reward.”
Every time you wake up early, reward yourself with something that is genuinely rewarding to you. My reward for waking up early is drinking a coffee. It’s genuinely rewarding to me, which has helped me a ton in solidifying my morning wakeup ritual.
3. Take it easy on yourself
The harder you are on yourself when you integrate a new habit into your life, the less likely that new habit will actually stick.
For example, think about how a lot of people form a habit to wake up early. They might not have a decent nighttime ritual, so they watch TV until late at night, and wake up tired the next day. Because they didn’t get enough sleep, they drag their feet all day long, are way less productive and happy, and are essentially worse off because they woke up early.
It’s worth repeating: The harder you are on yourself when you integrate a new habit into your life, the less likely that new habit will actually stick. As another example, don’t be hard on yourself when you hit the ‘snooze’ button 10 times in the morning; instead, think about what would make you spring out of bed in the morning, or ask yourself why you’re tired in the first place.
4. Create a solid nighttime ritual
I think when people ritualize waking up early, they have the tendency to focus too much on getting up early, as opposed to heading to bed early. But the two are inseparable–like two sides of the same coin. If you don’t create a solid nighttime ritual to go to bed earlier, you’re going to hate yourself the next day when you wake up early. If you’re average, your body needs a solid eight hours of sleep every night, and getting less than that will discourage you from adopting the ritual.
I personally think your nighttime ritual should include activities that:
- Serve as cues that tell your mind that it’s time to head to bed soon
- Help your mind rev down before you head to bed
What you include in your nighttime ritual is obviously up to you, but here’s what has worked well for me:
- 8pm: Put my smartphone and tablet on airplane mode, and put my computer to sleep
- 8pm: Take a shower or a bath
- 8:30pm: Meditate
- 9pm: Diary three things I’m grateful for, and one positive experience I had during the day1
- 9:15-9:30pm: Read in bed, then go to sleep
All of these routines help me rev down my mind, and provide me with a cue that I should head to bed soon.
Tip: All habit cues fall into one (or more) of these five categories: a certain time of day, a certain place, the presence of certain people, a particular emotion, and a preceding behaviour that’s been ritualized. For example, if you set your running clothes beside your bed at night so they’re there for you in the morning, that morning cue includes a time of day (6am), place (by your bed), and preceding behaviour (waking up).
5. Shut off your devices past a certain time
One of the habits I’ve recently adopted that has helped me wake up early is putting my smartphone and other devices into airplane mode from 8pm to 8am (1.5 hours before I go to bed, and 2.5 hours after I wake up). Airplane mode shuts off all of the radios on your devices (wifi, cellular, and bluetooth included), which prevents any emails, texts, tweets, Facebook messages, and other updates from getting in.
This ritual will take you a week or two to integrate into your life (if you decide to integrate it, that is), but once you do, its benefits are incredible. Here are a few of them:
- It will give your brain a chance to rev down before you head to bed, which will help you fall asleep much faster
- It forces you to tackle more valuable activities before you head to bed and after you wake up (like journaling and planning), instead of spending time on useless stuff like email and social media
- It serves as a cue that you should head to bed shortly after you shut your phone off
- It will allow you to be more mindful before you head off to bed, because your phone and other devices won’t hijack your attention
- Not having a phone by your bed means you won’t have any distractions to lay in bed with in the morning
- The ritual forces you to deal with you notifications when you actually have the energy to deal with them–when you’re not easing into the day, or tired from a long day
I could keep going, but I think you get the point. Shutting your devices off past a certain time will make you sleep better, and will make you much more calm and mindful before you go to bed and after you wake up.
6. Reduce your exposure to blue light 2-3 hours before bed
Exposing yourself to blue light is detrimental to your sleep. This one might sound a little weird, but it’s true.
Blue light has been proven to inhibit melatonin production, a happy chemical in your body that helps you sleep. In fact, one study found that participants who were exposed to no blue light before bed (they wore blue-blocking sunglasses–$10 on Amazon) slept 50% better, and were 40% happier after they woke up!2
Most of the blue light you see before bed comes from your electronics, like your smartphone or tablet. The solution? Pick up a pair of blue-blocking sunglasses, stop using your smartphone/tablet 2-3 hours before you go to bed, and limit your exposure to energy-efficient lighting before bed, which also emits a lot of light on the blue end of the spectrum.3
7. Stop consuming caffeine 4-6 hours before you sleep
According to the FDA, “fter drinking caffeine, it usually reaches its peak level in your blood within one hour and stays there for four to six hours”.4 In other words, if you consume caffeine less than four to six hours before you go to bed, caffeine is literally coursing through your veins as you’re trying to fall asleep.
My rule for making sure caffeine doesn’t compromise my nighttime and wakeup rituals: stop consuming caffeine six hours before I sleep.
8. Ease into the ritual
It’s near-impossible to will yourself into making huge changes to your life overnight, and I think this rule is especially true with waking up early.
The slower you ease into waking up early, the more success you’ll have with the ritual. For example, instead of waking up an hour earlier than you did yesterday, wake up just one minute earlier than you did yesterday. By easing into the ritual, you’ll create a series of small wins for yourself along the way (which helps in habit formation), you won’t discourage yourself, and best of all, you’ll practically be jumping at the chance to wake up earlier the next day if you ease into the ritual slowly enough.
Waking up earlier shouldn’t be a change you make overnight. Especially when the ritual is something you may practice for years–if not decades–it makes sense to integrate it into your life slowly.
9. Anticipate obstacles ahead of time
When I interviewed Charles Duhigg, one of the things he talked about was how important it is to anticipate where your breakdowns will occur as you form new habits. For example, if you’re heading on a business trip three weeks from now, that’s easy to anticipate and plan for in advance, but it’s way more difficult to figure out how you’re going to wake up early after you leave for the trip.
When you ritualize waking up early, make sure you look out on the horizon for any obstacles or commitments that might get in the way of your ritual. Chances are there will be periods when you don’t even want to wake up early–like when you’re on vacation–but planning how you’ll deal with obstacles ahead of time is another great way to solidify your morning wakeup routine.
10. Be honest with yourself in the process
I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when they try to integrate a new habit or routine into their life is they’re not honest with themselves in the process.
I’ll admit that sometimes it’s necessary to play tricks on our brains to accomplish more (like finding your “purple pill”), but when you integrate any new habit into your life, I think it’s crucial that you’re honest with yourself about why you’re succeeding and failing.
For example, chances are there’s a very good reason you hit ‘snooze’ six times every morning, like that you’re too tired, or that you’re trying to move your wakeup time back too quickly. Or if you constantly have trouble going to bed at a decent time, chances are there are constraints that you have that keep you from getting to bed on time. Is Jimmy Fallon’s show simply too funny to not watch? Are your kids keeping you up late into the night?
Being honest with yourself about what’s preventing you from going to bed and waking up early will not only help you recognize what improvements you need to make to wake up early, but it will also help you with the other tactics in this article.
The items in this list are what has worked for me, but I’m confident that these tactics will work wonders for you, too.
From Jeff: This is a guest post by Loren Pinilis. Loren operates Life of a Steward, a site about time management from a Christian perspective. You can subscribe to his blog or follow Loren on Twitter.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
For years, I wanted to wake up early. It seems almost all successful people get going before sunrise, and I wanted to be one of them. But when my morning alarm would go off, all the good intentions in the world couldn’t pull me out of bed.
I understood the benefits of waking up early. I made plans to wake up early and write, just like the recent challenge in the 15 Habits series. But that discipline was gone in the morning.
The groggy person hitting the snooze button wasn’t the same clear-thinking person that had set the alarm the night before.
When I realized waking up early is a battle fought on two fronts, everything changed We must prepare our bodies, but we must also trick our sleepy minds.
Here are eight tips to help you win the fight and wake up early:
- Take the first steps
- Cultivate a mental environment
- Develop a “get to” attitude
- Create some accountability
- Sleep well
- Never snooze
- Stick to your wake time
- Build momentum
1. Take the first steps
The toughest part of the morning is simply getting out of bed. An alarm across the room is an old trick, but I don’t want to wake up my wife in the process. So I have my iPhone next to my bed with a soft alarm that I can turn off quickly.
To keep myself from falling back asleep in the morning brain-fog, I have another alarm across the room set for a few minutes later.
It’s extremely loud and will jolt my wife awake if I don’t walk across the room and turn it off first. Even my foggy mind understands that, and the fear of a startled and cranky wife drives me to take those first few steps out of bed.
2. Cultivate a mental environment
Here are a few ideas to wake your brain up (and keep it alert all day long):
- Listen to podcasts related to waking up early.
- Read about people who were early risers.
- Remind yourself about the importance of writing every day.
Fill in the cracks of your day with inspiration on how and why to wake up early.
You can rationalize a lot when your alarm goes off. But if you’ve immersed yourself in this environment, even your hazy morning mind will feel compelled to wake up.
3. Develop a “get to” attitude
Get excited about your day, and you’ll jump out of bed. Don’t drive yourself with guilt about why you have to wake early. Make waking early something you get to do.
Of course, the joy of creating can drive you. But don’t be afraid to motivate yourself by doing something fun in the morning. Play games or indulge in leisure reading.
Better yet, think of the benefits that others will receive from your work. You can also keep track of your progress and reward yourself when you reach a milestone.
4. Create some accountability
Recruit a friend to hold your feet to the fire. You can have weekly meetings or even call or text each other when you wake up.
There are great online groups — such as the fellow artists here on this community, the upcoming Tribe Writers community, or groups such as the Hello Mornings Challenge for mothers on Facebook and Twitter.
5. Sleep well
The struggle isn’t all mental. There’s a strong physical component and the amount — as well as the quality — of sleep you get is the most important factor.
Although it’s obvious, make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time if you want to wake up early. Also, pay attention to your diet and exercise. General physical fitness greatly impacts your sleep habits and energy levels.
6. Never snooze
Hitting your alarm’s snooze button doesn’t give you more of the restful REM sleep. Your body and mind aren’t recuperating youíre just wasting time.
Personally, I noticed that regularly hitting snooze made my thinking even cloudier when the alarm went off. Your mind starts to ignore the alarm bells.
7. Stick to your wake time
Wake up at the same time every day.
Your body becomes conditioned to this and regulates your sleep patterns accordingly. You get more of that precious REM sleep and when you have a regular wake time, your body actually begins the process of waking up long before your alarm sounds.
8. Build momentum
After you wake up early, the challenge is to stay up. Maybe you’ll love to relax and sip your coffee. But for me, getting too comfortable is dangerous.
I used to start my mornings by reading the Bible and praying. It was a fight to keep my eyes open. Now, the first thing I do is exercise. My heart gets racing, and afterwards I can give what matters most my best focus and attention.
Move through your routine quickly:
- Have the coffee ready.
- Set out your exercise clothes.
- Keep a vigorous pace and you won’t feel as drowsy.
When I depended on discipline and willpower alone, I had limited success waking up early. But I’m mastering my mornings now — all due to a few simple tricks. I hope they help you, too.
Free Download: Want a free video with additional tips to help establish your early morning habit?
What are some tips that have helped you wake up early? Share in the comments.
For so many of us, waking up is not easy, and it can be even harder in the autumn and winter months when the days are shorter and darker. The lack of sunlight at this time of year means our brain produce more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes us sleepy.
To help make rising a little easier, Bazaar spoke to the sleep experts Dr Neil Stanley and Dr Irshaad Ebrahim FRCPsych, who have several solutions.
We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article
1. Turn up the light
“Your body clock is directly linked to light and darkness, so exposure to bright light (preferably sunlight) first thing in the morning will help you get up and hit the ground running,” says Stanley. According to Ebrahim, “Bright light suppresses your melatonin production and activates the waking phase”. This, of course, is a problem in winter. Stanley says, “On darker mornings, use your normal morning behaviours (i.e. eating breakfast or showering) to signal to your body that you are up and intend to start the day.”
You could also try a wake-up light like the Lumie Bodyclock, which simulates a gentle sunrise during the last period of sleep. As Dr Victoria Revell, circadian rhythm expert at the University of Surrey, says: “Light therapy is a useful tool as it helps to keep your body clock on track during the dark winter months and can also directly boost your mood.”
2. Get the sleep you need
Contrary to the popular belief that we should be sleeping at least six hours each night, Stanley says, “Your sleep need is genetically determined, like height or shoe size. Anywhere between three and 11 hours can be considered normal, but getting the right amount of sleep for you is key.” To work out how many hours you need, Ebrahim says, “If you feel awake during the day, then you’ve had enough sleep; if not, you’re probably not getting enough. Try taking away or adding an hour to find your balance.”
If you find your sleep quality is the problem, consider investing in the right mattress for you. As chief product officer at Casper, Jeff Chapin, says, the quality of your mattress can determine just how well you sleep. “A well-designed mattress will provide ergonomic support, temperature regulation, pressure relief, motion isolation and prolonged durability, to give your body the rest it needs.”
3. Sleep at the right time
Your body clock dictates whether you are a morning lark or a night owl, which also affects the highs and lows of your mood throughout the day. Stanley says that this “is partly genetically determined, although the timing of our sleep can be dictated by our home lives and occupations.” Your body clock can be altered, but this requires some work. Ebrahim says, “With jet lag, it takes around 72 hours to get back into your natural sleep cycle. If you want to completely alter your cycle, you need to take melatonin (the sleep hormone) early in the evenings until it starts to naturally release at this time.”
4. Wake up at the same time
The body craves regularity, so having a set wake-up time is advantageous in getting you up in the morning. According to Stanley, “the body prepares you to wake up about one and a half hours before you’re actually awake.” By getting yourself into the routine of knowing when to wake, you can eventually maximise your sleep opportunity, and naturally prepare yourself to get up. “If your body doesn’t know when you are going to wake, it cannot prepare, and thus you are liable to feel groggy,” he says.
Put simply, snoozing is detrimental to easy waking. “Your body would like as much undisturbed sleep as possible. If you wake up and press the snooze button, this ‘snooze’ sleep is almost certainly going to be less beneficial than the unbroken sleep you would have had if you had set your alarm for the time you have to get up” says Stanley. Therefore, select the time you must get up to avoid pressing the button. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
Further improve your slumber and ability to wake easily with these smart buys:
Hybrid Mattress, King Size Casper johnlewis.com £760.00
“Our mattresses are made of premium materials that provide the optimal balance of comfort and support so you can stay cool and sleep soundly through the night,” Chapin says. The Casper Hybrid’s symmetric construction has five-zoned support in the base layer, ensuring that your shoulders and hips are well-supported and your spine stays aligned.
Bodyclock Starter Lumie johnlewis.com £48.44
Studies have shown that waking up with gradual light is proven to improve the quality of sleep and awakening. So stop using your phone to wake you, and try this light therapy clock that gently starts to brighten 30 minutes before your set alarm, waking you naturally as it reaches full brightness. (It also lets you set an alarm beep for reassurance!)
Morning Expert Wake-Up Drops This Works lookfantastic.com £16.00
Created using brain imaging studies, these invigorating drops are formulated with a blend of 100 per cent natural essential oils of peppermint, lavandin and rosemary; a combination proven to help sharpen focus, zap tiredness and boost morning positivity. try three-to-five drops in an oil diffuser helps to boost alertness and optimise wellbeing in the mornings.
Scent Well Portable Diffuser This Works lookfantastic.com £55.00
This Works’ portable diffuser is powered by USB, making it ideal for travel. Whether you use it with the brand’s Morning Expert Wake-Up Drops, or a specific essential oil such as eucalyptus to helps open nasal passages and aid decongestion in winter, it radiates fragrance through the air, while promoting a sense of well-being and rejuvenation.
Photo: Danielle MacInnes (Unsplash)
Unless you’re a morning person, waking up each day can be a challenge. Getting through the day can be so hard, and your bed is so soft.
And there’s a scientific reason for this: “Circadian rhythms are longer than a 24-hour day, so our sleep clock pushes us later,” Rebecca Scott, Ph.D. of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center—Sleep Center told Reader’s Digest. This means that your body’s transition into and out of sleep is more like a dimmer switch than one you can just flick on or off. In other words, it takes us a little while to fall asleep, and the same is true for waking up.
Given that most of us could use some help with that daily transition to being awake, here are a few simple tricks to wake yourself up naturally, quickly, and without spending more money.
Make your coffee bitter
When you feel like your coffee isn’t giving you the jolt you need, try reducing the amount of milk and sugar that you put in it. When every sip is more bitter than what you’re used to, you might just feel more awake while drinking it.
Grab a few minutes of direct sunlight
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a corner office that gets sun all day, light passing through windows just isn’t the same as the real deal. Step outside and let your skin grab some untouched sunlight, soak up some Vitamin D, breathe some fresh air and let your ears feel the openness of an unmuffled, non-office world.
Pull your hair
This one sounds bad but it really isn’t; slowly and gently tug at your hair to get blood flowing to your head in a new and refreshing way. It’s not as drastic as most of the other tips here, but if you’re just feeling the beginning tinges of sleepiness, it can help.
Splash cold water on your face
This one’s an oldie but a goodie, and it actually does work. Just don’t go overboard and come out of the office bathroom looking like you fell in. To really make this trick work to the fullest, step outside and let the fresh air hit your wet face.
Use your computer as an alarm clock
The basic idea is to make you actually pay attention to your alarm, instead of just going back to sleep. This way, your “alarm clock” is sitting across the room, so you have to get out of bed. It cost you hundreds of dollars—so you won’t slap it, and it forces you to actually use hand-eye coordination to look at the screen while using the mouse to stop the alarm.
Take a meme break
Sound juvenile? It might be, but laughter can help wake up a sleepy person better than almost anything but sheer terror.
Pop a strong mint
The stronger the better, because the effervescent effects do a great job of waking you up. If you’re on the verge of narcolepsy, consider getting a menthol stick—they’re so strong that they help actors fake tears.
Massage your hands
The area between your palm and your wrist is a fairly sensitive one. It’s also far enough away from the super-relaxing massage spots, like your neck or back, so giving it a minute-long deep rub can give you all the good feelings, while not putting you to sleep in the process.
Interact with a complete stranger
This is one that nobody ever thinks about until after it’s already happened by accident. If you’re feeling dead on your feet, mention something about the weather to someone nearby. Acting tired is no big deal in front of friends, but our bodies tend to wake up pretty quickly to avoid any sort of social awkwardness.
Play fast-tempo music
This one may seem obvious, or even cheesy, but if you’ve got the ability to listen to music where you happen to be falling asleep—take it! Play music you love, but absolutely keep it upbeat and fast.
Stretch your back, neck and legs
Don’t just sit up straight and yawn, but get out of your chair and stretch like you’re about to go running. Touch your toes! The point is to really stretch so that the blood gets flowing again throughout your entire body.
Take off some layers
It may seem like common sense, but we tend to forget the most basic things when our heads are cloudy with sleepiness. If you’ve got even one extra layer of clothing on and you’re feeling sleepy, taking it off might give enough of a chill factor to shake things up and stave off drowsiness.
Flip your head upside-down
With feet a bit more than shoulder-width apart, bend down as far as you can go and look back between your legs. The massive rush of blood to the head can be a big pick-me-up, just be sure you don’t come back up too quickly, or dizziness replaces clarity.
Bite a lemon!
Whether you like the sour fruit or not, you can’t deny the zesty slap to the face that it can provide in a time of need.
And if all else fails, you can always pull a George.
This story was originally published on 5/20/11 and was updated on 6/7/19.
34 Ways to Wake Up Feeling Refreshed and Ready to Go
Ah, bedtime. That glorious time of day when you drift into dreamland and forget your troubles. At least that’s how it’s supposed to happen.
For many people, the day-to-day rigor can keep your mind churning and your body tossing and turning until the alarm starts blaring in your ear the next morning. And why does that thing go off so soon after you fall asleep?
If a lack of restful sleep and worries about the day ahead lead you to hit the snooze button one time too many, you’re not alone. Here’s how you can kick the grumps to the curb and make the most of your morning routine.
1. Just say no to snoozing
Did you know there’s a word for hitting the snooze button over and over? Me neither. But it’s called drockling, and it’ll wreak havoc on your morning routine.
Drockling confuses your body’s internal clock so it’s hard to wake up refreshed. When you finally do roll out of bed, you’re more likely to be groggy and cranky. And is that really how you want to spend your morning?
2. Leave your phone alone
As tempting as it may be, reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up can derail your whole day. Checking social media and email can both be massive time sucks, leaving you with less time for your morning routine and rushing to catch the bus.
If you do find yourself with extra time in the a.m., opt for something that can help keep you grounded, like light exercise, journaling, or meditation.
3. Shine some light on the matter
Ever struggle to get out of bed on a dark, rainy day? It’s because your body needs natural light to reset its internal clock. That means if you don’t turn on a light, you’re more likely to burrow further down into your covers and call it a day.
You’ll start your day faster if you turn on the lights or open the shades as soon as you wake up.
4. Make the bed
Let’s be real. It only takes a couple minutes to at least straighten up the covers, and hospital corners are optional.
Making the bed helps get you moving in the morning and gives you a sense of accomplishment. And think of how much calmer you’ll feel at bedtime when you climb into a nicely-made bed instead of a mass of tangled sheets and blankets.
5. Pump up the tunes
If you turn on your favorite tunes, finding your morning groove is inevitable. So unless you’ve got sleeping kids you don’t want to wake, go ahead and pump up the volume. A bonus? Music makes you want to dance, so you’ll burn some calories, too.
6. Diffuse a zesty scent
Consider buying an aromatherapy diffuser for your bedroom. Inhaling a stimulating essential oil can awaken your senses and get you energized.
Some invigorating scents to choose from include:
- pink grapefruit
7. Pull your hair — no, really
If you simply can’t roll out of bed despite your best efforts, tug your hair. Gently pulling your hair not only gives you an eye-opening twinge; it also helps stimulate blood flow to your scalp.
Of course, if you take this advice to heart, don’t go overboard. Pulling your hair may get you going, but if you do it too hard, it’s also likely to tick you off — at yourself.
Stretching helps get blood flowing to your muscles, especially if your body is stiff because your partner is a bed-hog and you literally slept in the same position all night on one tiny area of the bed. Yeah, they know who they are.
Stretching may also help get you through your day by:
- increasing flexibility
- increasing range of motion
- increasing endurance
- decreasing risk of injury
Unsure about where to start? One of these stretches may be just what you need.
9. Get out of your jammies
If you stay in your jammies all day, you’ll miss out on how good it feels to don them at the end of a difficult day. We know everyone needs a pajama day now and then, but save it for a snow day when you’re stuck inside with a mug of cocoa and a roaring fire.
10. Douse your face with cold water
Don’t go as far as the Ice Bucket Challenge, but a few splashes of icy water will snap you out of dreamland fast. An added benefit may be tighter pores, but that theory’s unproven.
11. Drink water before caffeine
Drinking a glass of water before your cup of coffee or tea can help rehydrate your body and rev your metabolism. If you don’t drink water until later, you’re more likely to become dehydrated.
Dehydration may cause confusion, infrequent urination, fatigue, and dizziness — symptoms you definitely don’t want to experience throughout your day.
12. Eat protein for breakfast
Proteins are the building blocks of every cell you have. It just makes more sense to power your body with a high-protein breakfast, such as a hard-boiled egg or a protein shake, instead of a sugary doughnut or muffin that will mess with your blood sugar levels and sap your energy. Need some inspiration? Check out these high-protein breakfast recipes.
13. Make your morning work for you
Who’s in control when you wake up — you, or your morning routine? Many days, it may seem like the latter, but you can change that. Make mornings work for you by eating right, avoiding your electronics unless there’s an emergency, and prepping clothes and meals ahead of time.
If you’re one of many in your home, don’t be a morning martyr. Enlist the entire family to work as a team to make the morning rush less stressful.
14. Be consistent with your routines
If your bedtime, morning, and weekend routines are all over the map, you’re blowing your chances of sleeping well and waking up refreshed.
To support your body’s natural sleep cycle, develop routines and stick with them. This means going to bed at the same time each night and waking up the same time each morning.
There are countless things you can do the night before to step up your morning game. The key is to be consistent so the steps you take become habit.
15. Pass on that afternoon coffee run
Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for several hours. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, research has shown drinking caffeine six hours before bedtime reduces total sleep time by one hour.
Skipping that afternoon cup may mean the difference between getting a full eight hours of sleep and wishing for a nap around 3 p.m.
16. Avoid alcohol
A glass of wine may help you fall asleep when your nerves are frayed, but you don’t want to rely on it every night. Alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle and prevent you from reaching REM, or deep sleep.
And have you ever had a hangover? Enough said.
17. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow
Taking 10 minutes or so to choose your clothes for the next day, iron them, and lay them out can save you loads of morning stress. If you have kids, teach them to do the same. It’s an easy hack guaranteed to make your daily routine easier.
18. Prep your morning mojo
Coffee. That dark, rich fuel… er, beverage that makes you human again. Why struggle half-awake through half-open eyes to find your coffee filters and coffee when you can prep your mojo the night before?
Better yet, buy a programmable coffee maker that’ll have your morning cup of aromatic bliss ready for you when you wake.
19. Get your breakfast ready
Millions of adults and children skip breakfast. This can be harmful, as eating breakfast helps:
- control blood sugar
- improve heart health
- boost brain power
- boost immunity
- improve skin
To make sure you and your family enjoy a healthy breakfast (no, last night’s brownies don’t count), do some prep work. If you have time for a sit-down meal, plan the menu and set the table the night before. If not, make a batch of grab-and-go egg muffins or homemade protein bars on Sunday to have on hand the entire week.
20. Use a sleep app
There really is an app for everything! Sleep apps track your sleeping habits to help you determine your optimal bedtime and what time you should wake up. There are also relaxation apps and white noise apps that can help you fall asleep. Wondering which app is right for you? Here are some options to get you started.
21. Keep your room cool
It’s difficult to snooze when you’re uncomfortably hot and sweating buckets. Unless you’re used to sleeping in hot temps, keep your bedroom cool at night. You’ll sleep better and have fewer grungy sheets to wash.
22. Keep the screens out of your bed
Although turning to your phone first thing in the morning can be disastrous, using it before bed may be worse. That’s because electronics expose you to blue light.
Blue light is thought to stimulate your brain and block it from producing melatonin, the hormone that tells your body it’s time for 40 winks. Try cutting your screen time off an hour or two before you plan to sleep.
23. Choose an alarm that’ll make you want to wake up
It may be nice to wake up to the sound of a gentle rainfall or crashing waves, but does it really make you want to get out of bed? Doubtful.
Choose an alarm that’s not shrill enough to make you chuck it across the room, but annoying enough to make you want to get as far away from it as possible.
24. Make sure your alarm is set — and far away from you
It should go without saying, but to wake up on time, make sure your alarm is set each night. Place it on a dresser on the opposite side of the room or even in an adjoining bathroom — wherever you can still hear it! You’re less likely to hit the snooze button and fall back to sleep if you have to get out of bed and walk across the room to turn it off.
Take it one step further and make your alarm require you to perform a mental task for it to shut off. For example, the iPhone has an alarm shut-off function that requires you to solve a simple math problem. If math gives you an instant headache, use an app that requires you to snap a picture of something somewhere in your home before shutting off.
26. Have an evening routine
Humans are creatures of habit. Establishing an evening ritual helps signal your body it’s time for sleep. Consider drinking a cup of herbal tea — chamomile is a great choice — reading a book, or taking a relaxing bath before bedtime. Whatever your routine, don’t divert from it.
27. Play white noise
If you can’t stand the sound of silence, or you wake up at every little sound, white noise may be a great bedtime option for you. It helps keep the sound in the room consistent, and blocks out sudden noises that may wake you up.
You can purchase a white noise machine, keep a playlist running, or just keep a fan on throughout the night.
28. Don’t linger in bed if you can’t sleep
If you can’t sleep, don’t lie in bed counting sheep. Despite the hype, it seldom works.
Get out of bed and do a busy task such as folding laundry or sorting mail. It’s OK to read a book or magazine, but not on your tablet. Leave your electronics off. When you start to feel sleepy, go back to bed.
You can take all the above steps and still not sleep a wink if your bed is a mess of tangled covers and grimy bedding. Your bed is your oasis. Here’s how to create a comforting space that promotes relaxation and sleep.
29. Get a better pillow
An uncomfortable pillow is a prescription for a lousy night’s sleep. Find a pillow that keeps your head in a neutral position. Consider investing in a so-called smart pillow, which conforms to your neck and head. You should also wash your pillowcases regularly to keep things smelling fresh.
30. Choose the right mattress
Your college days of crashing on whatever surface is closest are over. It’s time to step up your game and invest in a mattress that best suits your sleep needs.
According to the Better Sleep Foundation, you should evaluate your mattress every seven years. If it’s not literally supporting you, replace it. There are many mattress options out there, from innerspring to memory foam. If you think it’s time to upgrade, visit a mattress store and test drive several types to find the best fit for you.
31. Assess your blanket situation
It seems like a cruel twist of fate that in many relationships one person loves piling on the blankets while the other is content to sleep with just a sheet. Blanket tension must be one of the main reasons couples end up sleeping in separate rooms. Too few or too many blankets can leave you either shivering or sweltering.
If you’re not sleeping well, review your blanket situation, and adjust accordingly. If you can’t get your significant other to compromise, it may be time to purchase a sofa bed…
32. Adjust the lighting
The right lightbulb is important if you’re struggling to sleep. Both fluorescent and LED bulbs give off melatonin-obstructing blue light. The National Sleep Foundation recommends using red, pink, or incandescent bulbs in your bedroom lamps to promote restful sleep.
33. Keep the walls a neutral color
For the record, neutral isn’t red, hot pink, or puce. Staring at neon walls is a surefire way to stay awake. If you’re dealing with a fiery shade left over from an earlier renovation, consider a room redo.
Switching to a soothing, neutral color such as light blue, grey, white, or beige may make all the difference and transform your sleep.
34. Ban Fido from your bed
Please don’t send hate mail! I’m an animal lover, and understand how comforting it is to snuggle in bed with a beloved pet.
But I’m also a realist, and unless your pet understands the concept of personal space, you’re more likely to get a better night’s sleep if they sleep in their own bed on the floor. This way you can keep them close without having to deal with constant shuffling throughout the night.
Good sleep habits and an effective morning routine can help you wake up feeling energized and prepared for the day ahead. Try these tips and techniques to start your day right.
A New Day Dawns
We’ve all had one of those days: groggy all morning, lethargic through lunch, and cranky all afternoon. You know one reason for your muddled brain and foul mood: sleep — not enough of it, and not the right kind. It would be nice if bedtimes and wake-up routines were only important in our childhood years, but adults can also benefit from a bit of early-hour planning.
If you haven’t been hopping out of bed each morning, ready to crush your to-do list, these handy techniques might help.
Quantity Counts: The foundation to a good morning starts with getting the right amount of sleep. Even adults need a solid 7-9 hours (yes, really!), so make sure you hit the sack at the right time the night before.
Feel the Rhythm: Quantity is important, but timing also matters. Your body and brain work best with a set wake-up time to keep your biological rhythms synced.1 Don’t vary your wake-up time too much — it can throw off your system from its natural routine.
Nightly Recharge: If you think you can skimp on sleep for a few nights and make up for it with a lazy day later on, think again. Make sure you’re getting a full charge of sleep every night to so you’re ready for the next day.
Snoozing Sucks: Turning your car on and off isn’t the best way to get it warmed up in the morning, and it’s no good for your brain, either. Hitting snooze to nod off for another restless 5 minutes may only leave you groggier when you wake up for a second (or third) time.2
Good Morning, Sunshine: If you can, wake up to bright, natural sunlight streaming through your window. If you can’t, at least get indoor lights going (and no, the glare of your cell phone screen isn’t enough). Research suggests that morning light can help you wake up more naturally and quickly.3
Get Moving: And not just to check your email — in fact, skip the tech if you can. Instead, get in a morning walk to start the day off right. Good sleep and exercise go hand in hand: moving your body will help you wake up in the morning and sleep better later that night.
Break Your Fast: You’ve gone all night without eating, and some of the latest research still shows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for staying fit and healthy.4 Prepare your breakfast the night before so it’s ready to go.
Pep Talks: If the day seems daunting, set aside a few minutes to get pumped. Maybe it’s meditation or prayer, or a bit of yoga — you do you! Focusing on your mental wellbeing for ten minutes can help with stress and anxiety over the next ten hours.5
Jump In: Once you’re ready to dive into the day, it’s a good habit to tackle the hardest tasks first. Research shows that your brain is at peak power at mid-morning, so that’s the best time for difficult tasks.6 Moreover, if you get the big stuff out of the way, the rest of the day feels like a breeze.
Ready for a better night’s sleep?
Start now with a “go to bed” alarm. It only takes a few seconds to start your new bedtime routine.
- Just take out your phone and set a “go to bed” alarm. This will tell you when it’s time to turn off the TV, log off social media and wind down for the night.
- Make sure the alarm repeats every day, so you’ll get the 7-9 hours of rest your body needs.
Tomorrow morning, wake up right, so you can be Healthy For Good!
Last reviewed May 2018
1 Phillips AJK et al. Irregular sleep/wake patterns are associated with poorer academic performance and delayed circadian and sleep/wake timing, Nature, Scientific Reports. June 12, 2017.
2 Paech G. Morning haze: why it’s time to stop hitting the snooze button. TheConversation.com. January 6, 2015.
4 Kahleova H, Lloren JI, Mashchak A, Hill M, Fraser GE. Meal Frequency and Timing Are Associated with Changes in Body Mass Index in Adventist Health Study 2. The Journal of Nutrition, Vol 147, Issue 9, September 1, 2017.
5 Shapiro SL, Astin JA, Bishop SR, Cordova M. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Health Care Professionals: Results from a Randomized Trial. International Journal of Stress Management. Vol 12, No 2, 2005.
6 How the Time of Day Affects Productivity: Evidence from School Schedules. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2016.