The world seems to be split into camps, those who can hop out of bed without a struggle and those who will do anything to stay in their cosy cocoon, timing their morning routine to a tee.
With the effects that the past two years have had on us, as well as the fact that almost half (48%) of UK adults say that bad sleep has negatively affected their mental health according to MentalHealth.org, getting enough rest is more essential than ever.
Sadly, becoming a morning person doesn’t happen, well, overnight.
However, there are changes you can slowly make to your routine to help make this happen. And, we’ve spoken to several experts to provide you with tips that you won’t want to snooze on.
How to wake yourself up
If you’re not one for rolling out of bed the second your alarm goes off and spend the rest of the day thinking about when you’ll squeeze in a nap or some sleep, follow these tips to help make waking up a breeze.
Set your room up for a good night’s sleep
Waking yourself up is far easier when you’re not feeling rough from the night before, whether your room was too hot or cold, or your mattress left you with back aches.
Wellbeing expert Penny Weston advises keeping your bedroom at around 18°C.
Weston, Director of Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat, also recommends that it is quiet and dark, and tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Darkness is critical for sleep. It sends the best signals to your brain that it is time to go to sleep.
‘Try shutting the bedroom door to seal out light from other rooms. A cool room also aids sleep and while many people don’t like sleeping with the window open, a bit of fresh air can really aid sleep.’
To help improve your chances of a good night’s sleep, Sleep Junkie’s in-house sleep expert Christine Lapp suggests using earplugs, blackout shades or an eyemask, plus any noise that could disrupt sleep.
Be mindful of what you read
Whether you’re getting stuck into yet another must-read novel or are catching up on celebrity gossip from the day, it’s important that you don’t start reading anything too juicy before bedtime.
Many of us are all too familiar with getting gripped by a book that’s getting tense and the next thing you know, it’s 3am.
The same goes for reading stressful or morbid news articles before bed as you may feel stressed without realising it, and then be left tossing and turning for hours.
Weston says: ‘Don’t start reading something too complicated. Pick a book which will help you switch off.’
If you don’t trust yourself not to get carried away, set an alarm for the time you need to get some shut-eye and stick to it, no matter what may be on the next page.
Write a to-do list for the next day
‘It can therefore help to write a to-do list for the next day to organise your thoughts and clear your mind about any stress or anxiety you may be feeling.’
This doesn’t have to be a comprehensive lengthy list, just the top five tasks on your mind or things you want to achieve the next day – from booking a doctor’s appointment to finishing that pesky presentation.
Ensure you get enough sleep
Again, the key tricks to waking yourself up in the morning surround ensuring you get enough quality sleep to do so.
Diren Kartal, Online Fitness Coach at Project X, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘By having 7-8 hours of good quality sleep is going to automatically make it easier to wake yourself up the following morning. If you don’t currently have a consistent bedtime routine, get yourself one!
‘It might sound silly but it’s a good idea to even set yourself an alarm in the evening to alert you to get yourself ready for bed!’
Psychologist and sleep scientist Theresa Schnorbach, who is also a Sleep Expert at Emma Sleep, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours a night; getting less than this could mean you’re waking during a sleep cycle which could be a reason for morning grogginess.
‘Get to know your sleep habits and listen to your body – draw your awareness to how your daily routine and habits impact your sleep in order to find a routine that works for your body’s natural sleep cycle.’
Set an alarm daily and stop snoozing
Dr Gareth Nye, a lecturer at Chester Medical School, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘The best thing you can do when you wake up is to get out of bed straight away!
‘You should also avoid the snooze button. As tempting as it is for an extra five minutes in bed, you are actually confusing your body making it harder to wake up.’
Try setting yourself a goal of waking up during your first alarm each day and you may gradually find it getting easier as time goes on.
Remember, you’re unlikely to gain anything other than stress and significantly disturbed sleep if you keep snoozing every five minutes.
Improve your morning routine
As well as avoiding your phone before bed, you should also train yourself to avoid scrolling when you wake up, too.
Not only can it be an overload and immediate stress for your mind when you wake up to 25 WhatsApp messages and ‘urgent’ emails, but it also means you’ll risk wasting far longer in bed.
Kartal reiterates this and adds: ‘Your brain needs time to wake up and to not be automatically be bombarded with messages.
‘As we are scrolling on our phone looking at content that interests us, we are flooding our brain with hits of dopamine.
‘Then you deal with a dopamine crash, you begin looking for more dopamine, and the vicious cycle begins.’
Instead, he suggests giving yourself five to 10 minutes, at the most, before moving on to the next stage of your morning routine.
‘Making your bed is a fantastic way to start the day. You have done a task, you have instantly achieved something in your day, you are starting your day off with intention and purpose and getting yourself moving,’ he explains.
Get physical and load up on natural light
Theresa Schnorbach says: ‘As we move into summer, one of the best and easiest ways to wake yourself up in the morning is simply by exposing yourself to bright light.
‘Light plays a huge part in our sleep-wake cycle as our circadian rhythm is a central circuit that is sensitive to light, called the suprachiasmatic nucleus.
‘This controls the production of the hormones that support us when we sleep and when we wake. In this way, light can be used to both help with better starts as well as rest.’
Anna Mapson, a registered Nutritional Therapist owner of Goodness Me Nutrition, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Do some exercise as soon as you can on waking – it helps get the blood moving around your body.
‘Ideally combine this with daylight as soon as you can as well. Getting daylight in early on helps to regulate the production of melatonin which helps us sleep better the following night.’
Diren Kartal adds: ‘Take control of your day ahead and start it off on a positive foot (literally) by trying to get yourself up and out and moving.
‘If you cannot physically get out of the house for a morning walk, just get moving around the house, run up and down the stairs, do the hoovering, etc. and before you know it you can easily have clocked up a couple of thousand steps. Those happy hormones will be circulating around your body by now’
How to become a morning person
Optimise your bedtime routine
You should be avoiding using your phone at least an hour before bedtime. Try to keep it in another room around that time or, if that’s too daunting, keep it away from reaching distance.
Kartal says: ‘Too many of us get caught up in scrolling Instagram for hours into the evening or watching a three-hour movie when really we could do with getting to bed a bit earlier.’
He adds: ‘Don’t start scrolling on your phone, turn off all devices and lights as studies show even a small amount of light from a device can interrupt our sleep.’
Lapp explains: ‘Blue lights from electronic devices can block the production of melatonin, a neurotransmitter that helps you sleep.’
Many smartphones now have ‘downtime’ or ‘sleep time’ features that block off notifications at a certain hour.
These options can also turn on ‘Dark Mode’, along with softer and warmer lighting to avoid your eyes taking in too much blue light before bed.
Lapp adds: ‘You need to allow yourself at least an hour to unwind before you head to bed. Use this hour to do something relaxing.
‘Take a bath, enjoy some tea, or practice mindful breathing. Reducing stress as you head to bed can help you sleep because stress is correlated with insomnia.’
Kartal also suggests taking a warm shower before heading back to your bedroom, which should be at the aforementioned optimal temperature.
One of the many reasons you could be feeling dazed and tired in the mornings may be due to dehydration.
Kartal advises consuming two litres of water throughout the day. The key word being ‘throughout’, as he warns people not to glug the majority just before bed, to avoid having a night of disrupted sleep and multiple trips to the bathroom.
You should also have a glass of water when you wake up to keep yourself hydrated.
Cut down on booze and caffeine before bed
If you endure bizarre dreams, constantly waking up through the night and feeling like you’ve had about 10 minutes of sleep after a night out with friends, it’s likely to be down to alcohol.
Booze disrupts your sleep cycle, and Kartal tells Metro.co.uk: ‘If you are going to drink alcohol close to your sleep time, this is going to have a massive effect on your sleep.
‘REM sleep is a deep sleep so that we can recover. We cannot get sleep back and sleep is like a superpower, so choosing to drink alcohol before sleep is going to affect it.’
And, when it comes to caffeine, you should avoid this completely after 2pm, according to Lapp. This it because its effects can last until bedtime and could hamper your chances of a good night’s sleep.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to sleep/go to bed when you’re sleepy
Lapp warns against forcing sleep and, instead, listening to your mind and body.
She says: ‘Start thinking about going to bed around the same time every night, but don’t go to bed until you feel very tired. This might mean you go to bed later than you intended, but you still need to wake up at the same time each day.’
While it may be uncomfortable for a few days, due to feeling sleep-deprived, Lapp adds that it’ll make your body sleepier earlier in the evening as time passes.
And, if you suffer with waking up in the middle of the night and fail to go back to sleep, do not force this again.
Instead, Lapp adds that you should get out of bed.
She suggests that you: ‘Read a book or do something relaxing until you are sleepy. If you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, repeat the cycle again.’
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