Media influencers and entrepreneurs keep telling us that waking up early is the key to productivity.
Easier said than done.
So, no wonder you still find yourself bound to the bed and yelling at your alarm clock.
I have a solution that will help you love your mornings. These 5 simple steps are my personal experience on the way to become an early bird. And I’m willing to share them with you right now.
What’s Behind Your Troubles With Waking Up?
The answer is right here:
If you don’t suffer from any chroniс conditions that interfere with your sleep, chances are that the cause will be either sleep inertia or abnormal circadian rhythms.
Do you know this sluggish and groggy feeling that haunts you in the morning right after waking up? You don’t understand where you are and even the simplest tasks, such as washing your face or making coffee, require an eternity to perform.
This is sleep inertia.
The good thing is, it can be easily cured.
You see, some studies show that sleep inertia is linked to the sleep phase in which a person was at the time of their awakening.
Our average sleep cycle has two major phases: non-REM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). The non-REM phase consists of several stages:
- light sleep or drowsiness;
- medium sleep;
- deep sleep.
The deep sleep stage helps both the brain and the body rest and recover. However, if you wake up during this stage, then you most likely will experience grogginess and a decrease in cognitive abilities, which can take from as little as one minute to as long as four hours.
Or, until you have your coffee.
At the same time, awakening during REM or the light sleep stage will be the easiest since in these phases the brain is more alert.
“Try to make sunlight the first thing you see in the morning. Or, use a high luminosity lamp if you live in northern climates. The light will suppress melatonin production and help you wake up more easily.”
As I’ve mentioned above, another common problem can be a shift in circadian rhythms.
This is especially true for those who travel a lot or have work shifts at night.
Or, for students before an exam.
You see, circadian rhythms are our own built-in clock. And like any clock, they sometimes can go slow and require maintenance.
Now, here’s the thing:
Circadian rhythms are regulated by melatonin. This hormone is produced in complete darkness and helps us fall asleep. However, in some cases, melatonin production may be impaired. This most often occurs if:
- you like to scroll social media late at night;
- you had a heavy meal before bed;
- you didn’t have the wind-down time, so you go to bed agitated;
Thus, when the time of melatonin production shifts, so do the circadian rhythms, which leads to difficult mornings.
What Can You Do to Conquer Your Alarm Clock?
Now when you know what may hide behind your heavy mornings, let’s see how you can fix these issues.
#1 Figure Out Your Sleep Needs
The most obvious way to wake up easily in the morning is to sleep well at night.
And this is also the most difficult thing to do.
To make your mornings more cheerful, try the following:
- Find out how much sleep you need. To do this, keep a diary (or use a sleep tracker) for 7-10 days.
- Reorganize your day so that you could get the identified amount of sleep.
- Do not oversleep. If you go to bed late, it is better to get up at your usual wake-up time and then go to bed earlier in the evening.
“Make sure you stick to your sleep patterns on weekends too, even when the temptation to stay up all night is high. Because even one wrecked night may disrupt your routine, causing you to start all over again.”
#2 Use Your Sleep Logs Wisely
Sleep logs, along with tracking your bedtime, may also help understand the reasons why you fail in establishing your habit.
It is useful to revise your notes once in two weeks. Thus you will understand whether the things you have taken are working. If yes, proceed. If not, maybe it’s time to try some other strategies.
“Do not blame yourself if the results were suddenly not as bright as you expected, but praise yourself for trying instead and keep up the good work.”
#3 Have a Solid Sleeping Hygiene
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time. This will help your body adjust the sleep cycles according to your schedule. Thus, before the alarm rings, you will be either in the REM phase or in the light sleep phase, meaning you will wake up faster.
In addition to the wind-down time in the evening, do not forget about the morning time devoted to yourself. You can start your day with reading, browsing the news, or just going out for a while and enjoying the sunrise.
#4 Use Peer Pressure
Recruiting a friend with similar problems and tracking each other’s progress is effective for at least two reasons:
- a competitive spirit is refreshing;
- your reputation is at stake and you don’t want to look incapable of doing such a simple task;
Also, you can reorganize your schedule and plan activities that require responsibility from you to be done in the morning. This can be, for example, walking your dog or individual training. Besides aiding you to get up, these things can also give you an energy boost to keep you alert during the day.
“If you know that you need to do something important, say, at 7 a.m., your body itself will help you wake up. Science!”
#5 Play With Your Environment
When you don’t have any important plans in the morning, a warm bed looks much more compelling.
Here’s what you can do to make staying in a bed quite a challenge:
- Put an alarm clock at the other end of the room. An old trick, but it still works. Especially if your partner has a different sleep schedule and is not the type of person who will hold back their annoyance.
- Set the timer on the coffee machine so that your coffee would be ready right after you wake up.
- Do some stretching or yoga immediately after waking up. It will help release endorphins and give you an energy boost.