Define your motivation.
What’s your reason for getting out of bed at the time you need to? If you have a good ‘reason why’ then you’re half way to actually wanting to leap up and start the day.
Do you want to spend time having breakfast with the family? Are you involved with a project that you’re passionate about and want to make some progress before work? Do you want to do some exercise?
If your motivation is simply that you have to get out of bed to go to work, but you don’t much like your job anyway, this will be a tough call. Spend some time thinking about what you can do in the morning that will make that part of the day more enjoyable for you. Could you spend 15 quality minutes doing something you really like – a crossword, surfing your favourite website, sewing, planning your escape from the job you hate?
Re-think what you need to do in the mornings.
If you spend a lot of time rushing about getting ready in the morning, what can you prepare the night before to make this easier? Are the kids’ lunches and school bags ready and clothes laid out? Can you prepare the breakfast table? Are your keys easy to find? Have you planned what you’re going to wear?
This will allow you more time to either stay in bed or enjoy the morning. Part of the reason you may dread the morning might be the stressful rush of it all.
Know your body clock.
Our body clock, or circadian rhythms are what make us alternately wakeful and sleepy. Everyone is a little different, but if you don’t know what your body would do naturally then you may be fighting your own nature.
Most of us need about 6-8 hours of sleep. Even losing an hour here and there can make us feel tired and cranky, and more likely to hit the snooze button. If you find you’re chronically tired then it’s a good idea to start by finding out why.
Look at the article tiredness as a starting point.
Otherwise, try going to bed and go to sleep 8 hours before your alarm is due to go off. Do this on weekdays and weekends for several weeks and see if this strategy helps your morning wakefulness.
Cut the power before bed.
The blue light in many electronic screens – phones, TVs, computers etc., – can trigger the brain into more being more awake. This means that it takes longer to get into quality, restful sleep and therefore more difficult to feel lively in the morning.
So why not set an alarm on your phone to remind you to switch off your gadgets and get ready to power yourself down for bed.
If you have children, you probably know the advice for having a calming bedtime routine. Well the same is true for adults if we want a better night’s sleep. Switch off the screens and read a book, have a warm drink and get ready for sleep.
See the light.
We’re back to working with our body clocks with this tip. As dawn approaches and the light in the sky increases, the body starts to release its waking hormone: cortisol.
There are some ‘alarm clocks’ that are actually lights on a timer. They work by gradually increasing the light in the room as it gets nearer your wake-up time. This allows you to wake up more naturally.
Alternatively you could make a point of opening the curtains/drapes when you wake, switching the bedroom light on or going back to your computer screen to give your body a light boost in the morning.
6. What does your evening look like?
Some activities restrict the quality sleep we need. These include things like:
- Eating a heavy meal within 2-4 hours of bedtime
- Exercising 2-4 hours before bed
- Having a hot bath within 2-3 hours of bed
- Using the computer, watching TV etc within 1-2 hours before bed (see above)
- Working on worrying problems before bedtime
- Drinking caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime.
These are things that keep our minds and bodies awake for different reasons.
Look at your evening routine. See what you can change so you cut out activities that might be robbing you of quality sleep and leave you feeling groggy in the mornings.
Make it harder to snooze.
If your alarm clock is next to your bed and you routinely hit ‘snooze’ and have another few minutes’ sleep, then move things around. Move your alarm clock further from the bed so that you actually have to get out of bed to turn it off.
If you need to, have 2 alarms, both some distance from the bed.
Stick to your sleep schedule.
Some experts say that ‘sleep hygiene’ is essential for good morning waking. This means going to bed at a regular time and waking/getting up at a regular time, on weekdays and weekends. We discussed it in tip 3 above, so continue this regular routine if it works for you.
The exception to this rule is if you’ve lost sleep and need to catch up. It’s important to replay this ‘sleep debt’ but go back to your routine when it is repaid.