“Starting tomorrow, I am going to wake up earlier and have a proper morning routine!”
“Starting from Monday, I am going to prepare and eat my breakfast at home.”
“I should really get into the habit of waking up with the first alarm. No more snooze buttons!”
How many times have you promised yourself that you will change your morning routine for the better, and then choose sleep over early wakeup once the alarm went off at 6.30 am? Instilling new routines and habits is a challenging task. It’s not enough to set up your intentions, come up with achievable goals, and create a clear action plan. Small identity and behavioral changes need to be made so the habit can stick long-term.
Starting your day early, without snoozing the alarm and having time for yourself, can make your days more fulfilling, productive, and mindful. In this article, we’ll share with you a few tips on how to actually wake up in the morning with your energy levels up and not feel sleepy and tired for the rest of the day.
1. Those Who Wake up Early Go to Sleep Before Midnight
This is more of a reminder than a tip: once you start waking up earlier, you will get tired earlier. Although many of us are full of ideas on what to do once night falls, try to fight off this tendency and respect your body’s desire to rest.
Develop an evening routine that is set around relaxing, wind down rituals that can help you become a morning person. Define what type of rest you need in order to recharge all your batteries. And, finally, prioritize your sleep. For anyone looking to live a mindful, healthy, and intelligent lifestyle, sleep is a fundamental part of the success recipe.
2. “Sound Is the Vocabulary of Nature” (French Artist)
Many people assume that soothing alarm sounds can only make us fall asleep faster. This may happen if you go to bed too late and you’re extremely tired. However, if you’ve collected at least the minimum number of hours necessary for a good night’s sleep, a soothing alarm sound is a much better option than loud, disruptive ones.
The thing is, abrasive alarm sounds––even if it’s your favorite dance song––makes you immediately wake up, jump out of the bed, and hit the snooze button. The soft tunes of birds, flutes, or your favorite delicate song, on the other hand, will wake you up into the joyful, or at least pleasant, mood of a new day.
3. Let the Sunshine In
We are often advised to sleep in a dark room in order to have a better quality sleep. And while living in a city and having street lights right in front of your bedroom window can delay your falling asleep, remaining in the dark once the day has begun will affect how easily you can wake up the next day.
Morning light gives our brain a cue to wake up, while total darkness invites us to remain in a deep sleep. What you can do is find curtains that are more transparent, or you can only semi-shut the blinds. If this is not an option for you, you can invest in a sunrise alarm clock. This type of alarm clock begins to emit yellow light and gradually brightens your room some half an hour before it goes off.
4. “Smell Is the Closest Thing Humans Have to a Time Machine” (Caryl Rivers, American novelist)
And while the best wake-up cue is sound and light, smells can also do a lot for our transitioning into consciousness.
As you’ve seen in the previous tip, we can detect the light of a new day even through closed eyelids. Survival-wise, the sense of smell is one of the most important senses, as it gives us useful information about our environment, danger proximity, and food quality. Although today we no longer need to rely on this sense to the same extent we used to, we can still use it to condition our brain into new healthy habits. That’s because the smell-detecting centers in our brain are very close to the amygdala, the emotions center of the brain.
Odors might not wake you up immediately, but a couple of weeks of training yourself to feel certain scents right after waking up––or associating particular smells with early morning–– will help you engage yourself and your mind into an active mode. For many people, the smell of morning is the smell of coffee or certain foods they consume every morning (freshly squeezed juices, baked or toasted bread, essential oil diffuser). What does your morning smell like?
5. Get Up, Stand Up
No matter how sleepy you are in the morning, getting up from bed makes you at least 10% more alert. It’s much easier to hit a snooze button if your phone or alarm clock is lying next to your pillow.
Put your phone somewhere out of reach, perhaps even in the bathroom (if it’s close enough to your bedroom). Once the alarm goes off and starts getting louder, you will be forced to get out of bed, and perhaps walk straight into your shower to wake up.
6. Raise the Stakes for Waking Up
You know how they say that people don’t value the things that are free enough? And while the truth behind this statement may not be universal (because we also say that the most important things in life aren’t things at all), there is something to it.
Waking up to do something your brain would mark as “can survive without it”, like a jog or a stroll around the neighborhood, can result in you giving up on the early wake-up habit. Sometimes, in order to hold ourselves accountable, we need to raise the stakes. Enroll in a no-refund yoga or pilates class, or promise another person you’ll cover a certain expense if you cancel or are late to your mutual morning activity.
This will help you stay motivated because nobody wants their laziness or inertia to hit their wallet.
It sounds simple, but getting your life together and waking up early to have a more productive day can be quite difficult, especially if your schedule is tight and you’re on the verge of burnout.
You easily slip into the never-ending cycle of broken promises to start a new day from a clean slate, sleeping in, rushing through the day, ending up tired, stressed, and late. Remember that everything is in your own hands. Set your priorities. Apply two day rule to help you keep up with your new habit, and soon you will see how waking up fresh can actually help you exit this cycle and get your life back on track, with enough time for self-care and self-love.
Follow these six simple tips to improve the quality of your sleep and start waking up with a smile on your face with something as simple as inviting a few rays of sunlight to your bedroom or using a soothing alarm instead of some disturbing noise. Of course, other positive and mindful activities should accompany your morning routine, like filling out your Five Minute Journal, as well as other rituals that you look forward to.