Are you tired of the same failed routine every morning?
You set your alarm to get you up early the following day with the best intentions to get up and leave yourself plenty of time to enjoy the morning and get ready at a leisurely pace. Instead, it feels as though you have just got into bed after setting your alarm and somehow it is already making those horrible high pitched ringing noises to wake you up. You are not ready to get up yet so you hit snooze....five more minutes, another five minutes. Next thing you know you are running half an hour late and beginning your day in a highly stressful and negative situation.
I don’t have to tell you that getting yourself into a routine works wonders. If you go to sleep and wake up at a consistent time for enough days in a row, you may even find that you become your own alarm clock and your body will wake you up a few minutes before you have to hear the awful alarm going off. This is all down to your circadian rhythm or ‘body clock’. Most of us never give our bodies the chance to get into a rhythm and we ‘make up’ for our lack of sleep at the weekend which puts our body clock out of whack and so begins the disruptive cycle again!
Below are some tips which will help you to wake up refreshed and ready to make the most of your day.
Be accountable for something you enjoy. Finding something which is important to you will help motivate you to get out of bed. Sure, you dislike your job and resent your boss, but finding a reason to wake up early which isn’t for work will help you to get out of bed and start the day with something enjoyable. Having a nice sit down breakfast with your family, enjoying reading the paper with your morning coffee, hitting the gym to get those endorphins going or even recording a favourite TV programme and watching it in the morning instead of staying up late to watch it will help get you out of bed for a reason other than work. Personally speaking the gym is a great way to start the day and will leave you feeling alert, confident and happy.
Preparation Is Key
Preparing for the next day before you go to sleep is a great way to enjoy a leisurely morning and still put your alarm back 15 minutes. The parts of your morning routine which you think take two minutes probably take longer and these minutes add up and cause you to be rushing around trying to get ready. Packing your bag, making lunch for the next day and setting out your outfit for the next day are all time saving and will allow you more time for restful sleep. The bonus is that not only can you have a few minutes extra in bed, but you will have less to worry about when you are trying to get to sleep!
Know Your Body
The average adult requires 7-9 hours per night. Try starting with a consistent cycle of 8 hours sleep and see where your energy levels are after 2 weeks. You can adapt your cycle from here. Remember, consistency is key. If you are desperate to sleep in on the weekend, you are depriving yourself of sleep during the week.
One of the worst mistakes people make before trying to sleep is staring at a screen. Avoid your TV, laptop, ipad, mobile phone and any other device with a bright screen on it. Instead, power down by enjoying a relaxing bath, reading a book or talking with family/friends.
Adjust Evening Exercise
Take a look at your evening activities and see which nights you find it more difficult to fall asleep. While I am all for hitting the gym and working out regularly, vigorous exercise in the three hours leading up to bed will actually make it harder for you to fall asleep. It raises the core temperature and stimulates your heart, brain and muscles into a surge of activity. Exactly the opposite of what you need before trying to sleep!
Exercise in the morning can help relieve stress and put you in a good mood for the rest of your day. In order to reap the full benefits of training, complete your workout outside. Exposure to natural light when you wake up will help you to sleep better at night by reinforcing the sleep-wake cycle.
Alternatively you can try to exercise in the afternoon/early evening (straight after work). This will raise your core temperature a few hours before bed, allowing it to fall at the optimum time as you get ready for bed.
Jumping in the shower first thing in the morning can help wake you up. Alternating the temperature between cold and warm will help to wake you up too, but most people are against this idea. If this sounds like the worst thing to wake up to, try using a revitalising shower gel which will help increase alertness and improve your mood. Citrus smelling shower gels seem to be the most beneficial.
Get into the routine of getting out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off. Hitting snooze becomes a bad habit if you let yourself sleep in every day or purposely set your alarm early so that you can allow yourself to snooze. Try to avoid using an alarm clock with a big snooze button and do not put your alarm beside your bed. If it is within touching distance without you having to lift your head from the pillow, it is likely you may not even realise that you have slept in way past the time you should be getting up. Place your alarm clock on the other side of the room, so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.