Are you a night owl who hates having to get up in the morning? With only a few tweaks to your routines, you could change the waking-up part of your day into less of a punishment. You do realize that it can all change if you are well-rested, right? What you really need is to add a bit more time between going to bed and sunrise.
Fortunately, with only a few changes, you can boost your energy and your early-morning mood. Be honest — how often do you hit the snooze button when that annoying beep sound interrupts your sleep? However, unless you have a couple of more hours to sleep, pushing the snooze button will only worsen your mood.
Your morning is not in sync with your circadian rhythm
Think of your body as a computer. It’s programmed to sleep when it is dark and be awake when it is light. The closer you can realign your routine to match your body’s circadian rhythm, the easier it will be to get going in the morning. You will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at sunrise, and sleepy when your internal clock says it’s time to rest.
Move your alarm
Put your alarm out of reach. If you have to get up to stop the beeping, you’ll be halfway there.
Let in the morning light
Once you’ve got the alarm quiet, open the curtains — better yet, if you have a balcony, step outside. However, if the weather is gloomy, turn on the light. Your brain will recognize natural light and keep your body clock in sync.
Morning fog or seasonal affective disorder
Some people suffer from this mood disorder that occurs in areas where certain seasons have less sunlight. They experience depression, fatigue, social withdrawal and hopelessness at the same time each year. Treatment for seasonal affective disorder includes talk therapy, phototherapy, aka light therapy and, in some cases, medication.
Splurge on morning activities
Until you settle into a new routine, you will have to fight the urge to jump back into bed each morning. Plan a tasty breakfast, check out your favorite website or go to a scenic park for a morning walk. The idea is to plan something more exciting than your bed to chase the sleepiness away and rouse your brain.
Don’t skip your morning dose of caffeine
Did you know that caffeine stimulates the production of brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin? They help you focus, spike energy levels and boost your mood. In fact, people who regularly drink coffee are less likely to suffer the blues. However, if you do not fancy a cuppa java, you can get the same benefits from the caffeine in green or black tea.
Plan your sweat session for the mornings
Exercise will boost your nervous system as it gets your blood pumping. If you opt for early morning walks, you can schedule your gym session for the late afternoon. However, it should be a few hours before bedtime to avoid being so alert that you can’t nod off. Interestingly, yoga is proven to help with insomnia.
Don’t skip breakfast
Breakfast is your fuel for the day. Even if you have no appetite at first, eat a small breakfast of yogurt and berries or whole-grain toast and a poached egg. It will further keep your body in sync with your internal clock and help you focus. Breakfast will also help to make wake-up time seem less like midnight.
Can you go without a nightcap?
Although alcohol makes you sleepy, it does not bring a good night’s sleep and causes that groggy morning-after-the-night-before feeling. If you have a glass of wine or another drink, have one drink with dinner, or not within two to three hours before hitting the hay.
Powering down at night
Powering down before going to bed is as crucial as powering up in the morning. Melatonin is the hormone that helps to make you sleepy. Bright lights can reduce the production of the hormone. Along with overhead bulbs, the glow of the light emitted by cell phones, TV’s and computers also hamper melatonin production. Make sure the lights and devices are turned off at least a while before bedtime. You might have trouble falling asleep during the time that you work on changing your routine. Talk to your doctor about a melatonin supplement to take about an hour before bedtime.
Work on a calm wind-down routine
Falling asleep is easier after a relaxing evening. Avoid arguments with family members, emails or other stressors for about an hour before you go to bed. As mentioned, turn down the lights, TV and other light-emitting devices and then find a relaxing way to get in the slumber-mode. Take a warm bath or shower, do some stretches or meditate. In the same vein, reading a book in a room with low lighting can do the trick. Make sure you sleep for at least seven hours each night.
To sum up, work on adjusting your morning and evening routine in sync with your internal clock, and you will be amazed at how many ways you benefit.