It’s 7 a.m. My alarm clock has gone off, waking me from yet another crazy dream I’ll later try to tell anyone who will listen. The loud sound, which is supposed to mimic a harp but is undoubtedly much less pleasant or soothing than such an instrument, causes my body to jerk and twist as I fight my way out of the blanket cocoon I’ve created for myself. I reach my hand blindly over to the nightstand to find the long charging cord attached to my phone, and finally I turn the startling sound off.
Do I jump out of bed and get my day going? Never. My alarm is merely meant to make me think about getting up. I tend to sit there and weigh the odds. Should I rest my eyes for another 30 minutes? Do I get up and go to yoga? Breakfast sounds good, too.
I’m not not a morning person, but I’m certainly not excited about the idea of leaving something so comforting in the morning: my bed. I rarely go back to sleep after my alarm goes off. I lay there, I think, I set intentions, and eventually — some days sooner than others — I get up.
The question of what will it take to enjoy getting out of bed immediately in the morning crosses my mind often. I like food. I like yoga. I like what the morning looks, feels and smells like. But why in the world can’t I just get up?
If the idea of becoming a “morning person” is mind-boggling to you, then you might be the type to spend just as much time as I do weighing the odds of whether it’s absolutely necessary to get out of bed. You walk hazy-eyed to the bathroom to shower. You might blast music to improve your grumpy mood. You throw back coffee to cure your exhaustion. But science says it doesn’t have to be this way.
Business Insider put out a video that provides easy-to-follow, scientifically-proven tips for skipping the snooze button and getting on with your day. The best part is, they’re all just simple tweaks that incorporate healthful tactics — giving you even more reason to follow through.
Much of the advice in the video relates to Circadian rhythms, which inform our bodies of when we should be asleep (when it’s dark) and when we should be awake (when it’s light). Melatonin plays a big part in this process, as the pineal gland, which produces this hormone, correlates with lightness and darkness to decipher whether it ought to be releasing melatonin or not.
Before You Go To Sleep
1. Curl Up With A Book
“The 30 minutes prior to bedtime should be spent relaxing.”
Because our body needs time to switch into sleep mode, it’s important to shift from stimulating activities to relaxing ones. Reading will help you to avoid bright lights, which will mess with your Circadian rhythms.
2. Stay Away From Food And Drink
“Drinking alcohol or eating right before bed can mess with your sleep, causing heartburn and sleep disruption.”
Alcohol may, at first, help you to hit the hay, but it also causes you to wake up more often in the night. Likewise, certain foods contain caffeine, which can keep you up. Spicy foods are also to be avoided before bed, as they can cause acid reflux which can repeatedly wake you up due to the discomfort.
3. How To Set Your Alarm Clock
“Place it across the room and don’t hit the snooze button.”
It’s best not to hit the snooze button since it’s been found to actually make you more tired, since your body reacts to the relief of cozying back up as a sign that more melatonin should be produced.
4. Don’t Go On Your Phone
“The light emitted from your phone mimics the brightness of the sun, telling your brain to stay awake and not produce melatonin.”
Again, bringing this back to the idea of messing with the Circadian rhythms, phones, laptops, TVs, and any other electronic devices emitting light simply do the opposite of what we hope. We yearn for relaxation, yet our body is being tricked by the artificial sunlight to keep up and at ’em.
When You Wake Up
1. Drink Some Water
“This will replenish the water your body lost while you were asleep from exhaling and sweating.”
Drinking water in the morning also increases the production rate of new muscle and blood cells.
2. Get Moving With Exercise
“A few minutes of basic yoga can be enough to wake you up.”
It’s also been found that exercising in the morning can aid in the increase of energy due to the elevated body temperature and adrenalin levels that are just two of the beneficial outcomes of being active.
3. Expose Yourself To Sunlight
“Once you wake up, exposing your brain to sunlight shuts down melatonin production, helping you wake up.”
Those black-out blinds are lovely for keeping the streetlights out at night, but when that alarm goes off, it’s best to pull them back and let the sunshine in.
A Little Extra Incentive
It’s not just about wanting to wake up, it’s about why it’s good for you, too. Studies have found that waking up early is good for your overall wellbeing, including your happiness, kindness, productivity, and more.
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