There is nothing more important than a good night’s sleep to increase productivity and have a fruitful, enjoyable day. Not only do you need good sleep hygiene, but you also need to know how to wake up early, alert, and ready to get your productive day started.
Why is a quality sleep and wake cycle so important?
A quality sleep and wake cycle contributes positively to overall health and wellbeing, as well as helping to reduce and manage stress. Furthermore, healthy sleep hygiene can help with management of depression and anxiety.
So, let’s look at how YOU can wake up early and feel good doing so, even if you hate mornings! (Ahem – without drinking 10 gallons of coffee!) There are 13 tips in all, broken down into 3 key areas, starting with…
Finding Deep, Restful Sleep
Waking up early, alert, and ready to conquer the day starts with quality sleep. Improving the quality of your sleep leaves you better rested, able to wake, and ready to rise the next morning. How do you improve the quality of your sleep, though?
1. Start with where you sleep. Is your bed comfortable? A comfortable bed and pillows can help you fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake more energized in the morning. A mattress topper is an inexpensive way to improve comfort if you don’t want to buy a new bed or mattress set. New pillows can also be a cost effective investment in improving the quality of your sleep.
2. Assess what distractions might be interfering with your ability to sleep. Many people like to fall asleep watching a program on their television or computer. The sound and light from the screen can prevent you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep. You may find yourself jolted awake by loud commercials or noises. If you need sound to fall asleep to, some type of white noise generator or even a fan can be a better choice.
3. What about your windows and curtains? Do you have a lot of light pouring into the room through or around your curtains? Blackout curtains are an excellent way to block any outside light from interfering with your ability to enter deep sleep, or waking you too early.
4. Avoid eating and drinking too much in the few hours before bed – especially anything with caffeine. This will minimize the chances of you needing to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (your evening meal likely contains a lot of water, and snacks such as fruit do, too).
That goes for alcohol, too. Some people like to have a glass of wine or a drink before they go to sleep. While it may help you get to sleep, alcohol interferes with your ability to reach deep and restful sleep, which negatively impacts your ability to wake up the next morning. The same thing is true for nicotine products.
5. Limit your daytime napping. Though napping is a lovely, glorious indulgence of luxury, it does interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night. Even if you do decide on an afternoon nap, avoid napping after 5pm because it will hamper that night’s sleep.
6. And for the animal lovers out there, it’s not a good idea to let your pets sleep with you. Their movements and noises can wake you up, dragging you out of deep sleep and making it harder for you to wake in the morning.
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Breaking The Snooze Habit
Want to wake up early and alert? You need to break the snooze habit. There are some people who will hit that snooze button multiple times before they drag themselves out of bed. And why not? You’re tired! Right? Well, snoozing for fifteen minutes to an hour before getting out of bed may be contributing to why you’re still tired.
People that live for the snooze button often do not get to bed early enough the night before which makes it harder to wake up alert the next morning. By continuously snoozing, you are teaching your brain (and thus your body) to not wake up promptly.
7. Instead of snoozing, set one alarm and stick to it. There are a number of options and products out there for people who reflexively hit snooze. Putting the alarm clock across the room so you actually have to get up to walk to it is a simple option. There are also apps and products that make you solve puzzles to turn off your alarm, forcing you to think and start waking up.
The type of alarm you use can ease the transition from asleep to awake. Some alarm clock apps provide an alarm setting that gradually increases the volume until you wake up. This gradual increase, easing you into an awake state, can be better than the loud jolt of a blaring alarm.
8. Pick a static bedtime where you will be able to get about eight hours of sleep. Consistency can be difficult with a family or an erratic work schedule, but it is quite beneficial in improving the quality of sleep and your ability to wake.
Time To Get Out Of Bed!
It’s time to get out of bed when the alarm goes off. You need to get up, start moving around, and get the blood flowing so you get used to being active when your alarm sounds.
9. Do you exercise? A half hour of exercise not only helps generate more energy and a healthier lifestyle, but it also helps you fall asleep faster at night. Incorporate exercise into your day, even if it’s just walking the dog or running on a treadmill for a little while. Shortly after you wake up is a great time to work exercise into your schedule, before your busy day gets going. Whenever you choose to do it, the important thing is to make it a priority. Pencil exercise into your busy schedule and stick to it as seriously as any other obligation.
10. A blast of cold water can certainly help jolt you awake, whether it’s in the shower or washing your face in the sink. And speaking of water…
11. Rehydrate with a glass or two of cool, refreshing water immediately after you wake up. Your body and mind will appreciate the rehydration after a good night’s sleep. People tend to jump straight for coffee or even an energy drink, but these will dehydrate you further after going all night without water. A lack of alertness and lethargy can often be attributed to dehydration.
12. A quality breakfast provides much needed energy to get you moving in the morning. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Even a bowl of cereal or some fruit is more than enough to get you going.
13. Add some sound for more motivation! It’s well known that your favorite music will help your brain pump out some valuable dopamine. Listen to uplifting, inspiring, or feel good music in the morning. If you need further engagement, you may opt for an inspirational podcast, audio book, or motivational TED talk.
Develop The Habit
Developing a habit is the key to waking up early. It’s not just about what you do in the morning when you get up. It’s about how you conduct your life, structure your day, the substances you put in your body, and the environment that you are trying to sleep in. Creating a new routine and developing these habits will take some time and effort. Results from changing and developing better sleep habits typically do not manifest overnight.
Keep at it though. The most important part of developing new and better habits is consistency.
Identify the weak spots in your sleep hygiene, work on correcting those, and it should be much easier to wake up early, alert, and ready to conquer your day!