If you're not a morning person, getting up early can really suck. And unfortunately, a lot of parts of life (i.e: most jobs) require us to get up well before we might actually want to. The goods news is there are ways to feel more awake in the morning that can make getting up early way more tolerable. It's just about knowing a few tips and tricks and not doing anything to actively make waking up even harder.
A lot of articles out there will stress the benefits of waking up about two before earlier than you need to, giving you time for a slew of life-changing routines, like journaling and meditation. And to this I say: good luck, and you do you. As for me, I'm way more into just figuring out how I can wake up in time to shower and eat breakfast and not feel like I had to claw my way out of bed, or like I just want to curl up and sleep for ten more hours.
At the end of the day, I'm not a morning person and I know I'll never truly be one. I don't want to revamp my entire life to "get the most out of my mornings" — I just don't want them to suck. If this is sounding familiar, and you just want a few practical tips to being able to wake up without feeling like death, you've come to the right place.
Here are 11 super effective tips for feeling more awake in the morning.
1. Don't Hit 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.
2. Try A Burst Of Cold Water
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.3. Don't Drink Coffee Right Away
4. Keep Your Alarm On The Other Side Of 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.
5. Invest In An Alarm Lamp
Philips Light Therapy Wake-up Light, $69.99, Walgreens.com
I first heard about alarm lights when my roommate purchased one for her bedroom. Basically, instead of getting jolted awake in the dark by a loud sound, the lamp gradually brightens during the hour before your alarm goes off, mimicking the sunrise. That way, your body has already been prepped for waking up.
6. Get An Alarm App
There are actual alarm apps that require you to "prove" you're really up before they turn off. For example, the SpinMe app from iTunes requires that you stand up and spin around twice before turning off. How cool is that?
7. Set Your Intentions
A piece for Everyday Health noted that having a specific, positive reason for wanting to wake up early can give you that extra little bit of motivation that you need to actually do it. Have you decided that you want to start eating a nutritious breakfast every single morning? Or maybe you want to carve out time for mediation. Let your true motivation for getting up early pull you out of bed.
8. Try Melatonin
Natrol Melatonin TR, Time Release, $5.99, Drugstore.com
That same Everyday Health piece reminded us that getting up early starts with getting a good night's sleep the night before. And if you have trouble falling asleep, they recommended trying melatonin, an over-the-counter, natural sleep aid. The supplement should help realign your internal clock.
9. Train Yourself Gradually
Leo Babauta, founder of Zen Habits, recommended getting up ten minutes earlier than you usually do for several days in a row, and then getting up ten minutes earlier than that for several days, and so on and so forth until you're rising at your desired time. This will reduce the shock to your system.
Babauta also recommended moving in the morning to jump start you energy levels. This doesn't mean you have to hit the gym hard for a workout, but just that you should get your blood flowing and circulation moving. I'm personally a big fan of a morning stretch routine.
11. Limit Screen Time Before Bed
This is another tip for 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.
Waking up early may never not be fun for a lot of us, but it doesn't have to be painful. Incorporate a few of the above tips into your routine, and sat hello to some easier wake ups.