How many of you hit the ‘snooze’ button this morning? “Just one more time” you tell yourself. These photos that I see of people’s alarm clocks – while hilarious – are also the BEST way to feel WORSE waking up. That little bit of extra sleep that you think you need is so fragmented and of poor quality that it makes you feel much worse than what you would’ve waking up on your first alarm. Daylight savings recently hit Sydney, and it took my body a few days to adjust!
We all know that we need to get a decent nights sleep in order to have a productive and engaged day. But what if you’re doing everything that the ‘change makers’ are in my Sleeping Your Way to the Top blog and still not feeling energised in the morning? Below are the top six tips for helping kickstart your morning routine.
Even for those not experiencing sleep apnea at night, we often can have uneven breathing cycles through the night, which can decrease the amount of oxygen to the brain. Ever find yourself yawning incessantly when you wake up? Yawning is one of the body’s mechanisms to try and get more oxygen. So while you’re still lying in bed, try the 4-7-8 breathing technique to get the oxygen pumping around your body and wake every part of you up!
#2 Seek Out Natural Light
At night, we want to make the room as dark as possible because light destroys the melatonin (our sleep hormone) that helps us to go off to sleep. So clearly one of the best ways to wake up is to seek out natural light. Even five minutes standing in the sunshine, or if you’re lucky enough to have light streaming onto your bed, can do wonders for helping the body to realise its time to wake up! This is one of the best techniques for the transition in daylight savings, as the light is a natural indicator to the body that it’s time to get going.
#3 Drink a Glass of Warm Lemon Water
While you’re standing out in the sunshine, make a glass of warm lemon water for yourself. Not only will the lemon start the detoxification from all the built up toxins in your body from the night before, but even mild dehydration can make you feel tired and lethargic. Starting the day with a full glass of water kickstarts the movement of fluids and toxins through the body, and helps you to feel more energised.
#4 Have a Cold Shower
This is often reserved for the die hards with ice baths or morning ocean swims but it doesn’t have to be. Start with a warm shower and build your way up to turning the hot water off (completely if you can!). The shock of the cold water for the body is like a strong hit of caffeine. If you think this is too much, just start with splashing cold water on your face. When you start to see the benefits of that, it might convince you to pop into the shower!
#5 Experiment With Your Hours
Ever find that you feel much more awake around 30 minutes before your alarm went off than after it? While there are standards for the amount of sleep that we need and the quality hours (10pm-2am) there isn’t much more that needs to be adhered to. If you find that sleeping later and waking up later works well for you – stick to that. If you are an early to bed, early to rise, then you are supposedly much more wise. But experiment. I used to sleep from 11pm-7am. And waking up was a really big struggle. After a weekend away of waking up at 5am, I decided to play around with my sleep hours. Now, I’m in bed by 10pm and up at 5.30am feeling refreshed and energised! It all depends on your body so play with it.
#6 The Alarm
How much do you dread the alarm in the morning? Have you tried different ring tones or different songs, but still whenever it goes off you just want to hurl it across the room? I discovered a new app called Sleep Cycle, which is an alarm that wakes you up in the right stage of your sleep cycle (hence the name!). There are five stages of sleep that we go through, and being woken up or disrupted in the middle of the REM stage will have you feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus! The app gives you a 30 minute window (this is optimal) to wake you up as it recognises when you’re naturally starting to wake. Playing with this will also help you to experiment with your hours.
So what makes a ‘successful’ wakeup and morning? Having a ritual. Tie all of the above recommendations together and you have the beginning of a customisable blueprint for your own morning ritual. The most successful people in the world are borderline OCD about their morning rituals – nothing can mess with them. If you want to start the day right – create a ritual.