11 Sleep Hacks That Make It So Much Easier To Get Up Earlier In The Morning
Getting up early sounds about as fun as a dental appointment (i.e. no fun at all). But we all have to do it sometimes, and we often benefit from those few extra minutes or hours in our day. It's why a few strategies for waking up early that also won't make us hate life are actually pretty awesome.
I used to be one of those people who set my alarm for the last possible moment each morning, meaning I had literally just enough time to dash into the shower, throw on some clothes, and run out the door. Things like eating breakfast, exercising, or even just sitting still for a minute or two were therefor almost always out of the question.
And worse, actually waking up and getting myself out of bed was often excruciating. I was just so tired when my alarm would go off that I probably would have paid good money to curl up and go back to sleep again. Needless to say, it was a pretty unhappy way to start the day, and often set the tone for my whole morning.
However, now (to my own surprise) I'm typically an early morning person, getting a ton of small odds and ends done before my roommates even wake up. It feels awesome, and I never want to go back.
If you're also someone who struggles with waking up early and feel like you're always rushing out the door in the morning, here are 11 super clutch tips that should help you wake up earlier and not even be mad about it.
1. Cold Showers
According to a piece in Entrepreneur by CEO and productivity writer Phil Dumontet, a blast of cold water for 30 seconds before leaving a morning shower works wonders for our overall alertness, as it increases our heart rate and breathing. As unpleasant as it sounds, the results are worth it if you're someone who routinely struggles in the morning.
2. Limit Screen Time The Night Before
According to a piece in Wired, reading or viewing LED screens before bed can have major impacts on our ability to fall asleep — which in turn will make it way harder to get up the next morning. Try to have a "no phone or tablet" allowed rule 45 minutes before bed, and replace it with journaling or good old fashioned book reading. I promise you'll fall asleep faster.
3. Listen To A Guided Relaxation Video
OK, I know I just said to NOT view LED screens before bed, but if you really have trouble calming your mind I highly recommend listening to a guided relaxation video on YouTube. I like to turn the brightness on me screen all the way down so I'm listening in total darkness.
4. Put Your Alarm Clock Across The Room
A compilation piece on Apartment Therapy on ways to make sure you don't fall back asleep in the morning recommended simply positioning your alarm clock across the room from where you're sleeping. This way you have to physically get out of bed and move in order to turn it off. I find this trick especially helpful on days when I really can't afford to oversleep.
5. Get An Old Fashioned Radio Alarm
In addition to placing your alarm across the room, think about getting a radio alarm clock and setting it to an upbeat, top 40-station. That way not only will you have to physically get up to turn it off, but you'll instantly be exposed to energizing music and sounds.
6. Don't Press Snooze
And for my final alarm clock tip, don't ever press snooze! According to Rafael Pelayo, MD, a sleep specialist at the Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center in a piece for the Huffington Post, we're far groggier after we've woken up and then fallen back asleep for a few minutes than when we initially wake up. So even though it might feel good in the moment, don't be tempted!
7. Do It Gradually
Leo Babauta, founder of the site Zen Habits, recommended training your body to get up early gradually instead of jumping in all at once. "The best method for changing the time you wake up is to do it gradually — 10-15 minutes earlier for 2-4 days, until you feel used to it, and then repeat. If you get up at 8 a.m. normally, don’t suddenly change it to 6 a.m. Try 7:45 a.m. first," he wrote.
8. Get Some Sun
According to Mariana Figueiro, PhD, program director of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center in a piece for Prevention, getting about 30 minutes of sunlight every morning helps keep our circadian rhythms on schedule, meaning we won't end up feeling sleep deprived. So eat breakfast by a window, or sit on your stoop with some coffee.
9. Have A Go To Morning Stretch Routine
As certified yoga and Pilates instructor Kristin McGee said in a piece for Fitness Magazine, "Whenever you get the blood rushing toward your head, it definitely wakes you up!" Incorporate some fluid stretches into your morning that get the blood flowing upwards.
10. No Caffeine Six Hours Before Bed
This is another one that targets the night before as opposed to the morning of your wakeup routine. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that consuming caffeine as early as six hours before bed has "important disruptive effects" on our sleep patterns.
11. Always Have A Yummy Breakfast Awaiting
This is a personal tip. Literally nothing makes me happier than an awesome breakfast, so I'm way, way more likely to be okay with getting up if I know I have a greek yogurt and berry parfait, or overnight oats waiting for me. Some people I know also set the timer on their coffee makers so that they wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
Waking up in the morning should never feel painful, and if you're getting enough sleep the night before, as well as creating a few morning rituals to boost your energy, you shouldn't have too much trouble. Now go forth and be that morning person you were born to be!