An early alarm might be the worst way to wake up. How I get started makes a huge difference in how I feel about the day, and I often have trouble waking up, leaving me feeling sluggish and tired for hours. Transform yourself into a morning person with these suggestions for how to wake up early and energize yourself for a running start.
Begin with Mindfulness
If you really don’t want to get out of bed just yet, make yourself a deal: You’ll sit up and do some bed yoga first, and see how you feel after that. Chances are that after you finish your second seated twist pose, you’ll be thinking more clearly.
Try Morning Coffee Alternatives
Although coffee may be your drug of choice, consider other energizers. Kombucha is a brightly flavored drink that will wake up your senses, and the probiotics it contains can help your digestive system get going. Like coffee, you can either buy some or make your own.
Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day (No Matter What!)
Research tells us that you go through cycles of deep and light sleep in very predictable patterns. If your alarm wakes you up when you’re in a cycle of deep sleep, it will be much harder to get up. Experiment with different wake-up times and record your findings. If a certain time is particularly painful, try 20 minutes earlier or later the next day and see how that feels. Once you find your light sleep zone, stick with it. Try to wake up at the same time every day — even weekends. If you think of it as your time regained rather than sleep lost, it will be worth it.
Use Natural Light
Blackout curtains can certainly help us ignore the signs that morning has broken, but that false dark is confusing for getting up early. If the first rays of sunlight are peeking out when you have to get up, let them reach you by getting some thin curtains or even opening the drapes before you go to bed. The natural light will help your body recognize those diurnal cycles. If you have to get up when the world is still dark, a light-brightening alarm could help.
Sleep experts say this one again and again. Don’t look at the clock and then burrow yourself in deep for 10 more minutes of hibernation. You’ll only find it more difficult to get up when the alarm rings again. If you consistently find yourself waking up 10 minutes before the alarm goes off, get up! That’s your light sleep zone.
Be Exercise Ready
A lot of us plan to exercise first thing in the morning and then miss our chance if we hit the snooze button. The night before — no matter what — capitalize on that intention and set out your exercise clothes. The bonus of exercising in the morning is feeling productive and accomplished early in the day. That is always enough to spur on my positive energy.
Mariko is a high school English teacher who has three children, illegible handwriting and an obsession with mail-order artisan ice cream. She lives in Hawaii, but she makes a point to eat her way through big cities as often as she can.