Waking is up hard to do.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Have you heard that if you need an alarm clock to wake up in the morning you probably aren’t getting enough sleep? In fact, some folks go as far as to say that an alarm clock is hazardous to your health.
We all know that getting enough sleep packs serious health benefits and that getting too little sleep is bad for our physical and emotional well-being. A recent study even showed that falling on either side of our sleep needs (as in getting too little or too much sleep) is bad for us. Getting too much or little sleep puts you at risk for heart disease and other conditions by increasing inflammation in your body.
In a perfect world, we’d all settle in at dusk (after a stress-free day, of course), get a great night’s sleep and wake up easily and naturally as the sun peeks over the horizon. That’s the healthy way wake up and helps us to ease into the day with a sense of peace and excitement for the day ahead.
I don’t know about your world, but my world is far from perfect. My current status often involves staying up too late, though not by choice, and getting up before the sun lights my side of the world. It’s not the healthiest way to sleep and wake and I feel it each day. But, while I work to create a lifestyle that is healthier and less demanding I still have to make the best of a lifestyle that is not suited to my sleep needs.
So, what can you do if you have to be at work at a certain (early) time and can’t go to bed until the work of the day is done? How do you get around the morning snooze-hitting-groggy-eyed-how-is-this-my-life feeling of waking up? Life is too short to wake up feeling miserable. I love a good solution to a problem and so I’ve incorporated seven things into my morning routine that make waking up easier. (Good news! None of my tips involves a cold shower, because in my perfect world cold showers do not exist.)
7 Ways to Wake Up Easier in the Morning
Use a Wake Up Light
Because your body is programmed to wake with the sun, wake up lights make it easier to wake up naturally. Just like the sun, wake up lights gradually light the room with a yellow light that signals to your body that it is morning time.
I’ve recently heard about a product called The Up Light that is an actual light bulb that fits in your bedside lamp. It’s controlled by your smartphone and fills your room with gradual light to make waking up easier. It’s great because it doesn’t take up extra space on your night stand, it travels easily because of it’s size and it changes colors depending on the time of day so that you can avoid bright lights before bed. Check out the KickStarter campaign for more info.
Play a Brain Game
Every morning after I wake up, I sit on my comfy bathroom rug with my smartphone and play a game. Usually, it’s Candy Crush Saga, but sometimes it’s a crossword puzzle or a puzzle on a my Kindle. This morning playtime, while it only lasts a few minutes, helps me to sort out the to-do list in my head while I wake up. Sure, I have to get up a few minutes earlier to accommodate the playtime, but it’s less than five minutes and it’s worth every second.
Here is my favorite puzzle app. This one helps me clear my head like no other game or puzzle and with each piece I put together I feel a little more ready to tackle the day.
The only caveat to this tip is that if you can’t use your smartphone or other device without getting sucked into social media or checking emails, you want to use games that don’t require electronics to play. This is not meant to be a time waster, but instead a brain simulator and shouldn’t take much time in your morning routine.
Sprinkle Grapefruit Essential Oil in the Shower
Did you know that essential oils can affect your mood? I’ve certainly found that to be true since adding essential oils to my daily routine. One of my favorite essential oils is grapefruit. It has such a bright, lovely scent that never fails to make me feel happy and uplifted.
To help myself wake up easier and get into a great mood before starting my day, I sprinkle a few drops of grapefruit essential on the floor of my shower (seriously, it only takes one or two drops!) and let the steam waft the scent up to my nose and around the whole bathroom.
When I run out of grapefruit oil (like I often do because I use it for so many things) I use orange oil, which has similar properties. While the orange oil does make me happier, it doesn’t have quite the same stimulating effect that grapefruit oil seems to.
Make sure the oils you use are high quality or the mood-enhancing effects will be diminished or non-existent. Find the highest quality essential oils here.
Set Your Morning Drink to be Made Automatically
Nothing makes me wake up happier than the smell of coffee wafting from the kitchen. Apparently just the smell of coffee can help you wake up faster.
For me, it’s a mental thing, too. When I wake up and smell the coffee I think to myself, “Yes! One less thing I have to do this morning!” The coffee is already made and waiting on me. It seems like such a small thing until you consider how I normally make coffee. I use whole beans that I have to grind. Often, especially on weekends, I use a french press and I have to heat the water and let the coffee brew before I can taste that sweet nectar of life.
When I’ve taken the time to grind the beans and program the coffee pot the night before, my weekday mornings seem so much easier. For me, the diminished flavor due to beans that were ground the night before is not enough to deter me from using the coffee pot on weekday mornings. However, if you insist on grinding your coffee beans just before brewing, check out this amazing coffee maker. (It’s on my Christmas wish list.)
Not a coffee drinker? Use a programmable coffee pot to make your tea, as well! Just place your tea bags in the filter area of the coffee pot or in the carafe itself, depending on how strong you like your tea. You can always use a programmable tea steeper, as well.
Gamify Your Morning Routine
This tip may sound silly to some, but I like to turn my morning routine into a game. On days when waking up is a chore it helps me to try to beat my best time for getting ready and give myself a reward when I do.
If your morning routine takes an hour, try to pare it down to 45 minutes. Reward yourself with 15 minutes of an activity you enjoy if you do. Maybe this means you spend 15 minutes watching YouTube Videos or reading a chapter of the book you’re currently enjoying.
For me, it means time to drink my coffee without being on the move, usually while browsing Pinterest. I’ve got my routine down to an art, so I’m not always able to beat my best time. Instead, I get excited when I happen to wake a few minutes early because it means I’ll have “reward time” if I don’t waste those minutes.
Cut the Unnecessary Things From Your Morning Routine
If you have less to do to get ready in the mornings you have more time to sleep. For example, I found that picking out my clothes at night when I’m alert and happy to be awake takes about a minute. Picking out my clothes in the morning when I’m groggy takes at least several minutes.
I can zip around the kitchen in the evening prepping the coffee and breakfast for the morning and making my lunch. When I leave these things for the morning I move more slowly and feel more irritated that I have to do so much.
Use Positive Affirmations
I believe that our thoughts shape our lives. If you wake each day thinking to yourself about how much you hate waking up or why you dislike your current lifestyle you will continue to hate waking up. If you’re not using positive affirmations to change your life you should start now. Even thinking about how much you love your bed is better than thinking about how much you hate waking up.
As you wake each morning, start with gratitude by saying (either to yourself or out loud), “I am grateful for this day.” or “I am grateful for the opportunity of a new day.” Gratitude for what is is always the first step toward more positive thoughts.
If you need some ideas for positive morning affirmations check out these resources:
Remember as you apply these tips to your morning wake-up routine that the ultimate goal is to create a lifestyle that supports the sleep habits that keep you healthy. Likely this time of early wake ups and too little sleep is just a season of your life. If it’s not and you can’t see any end in sight, it may be time to rethink your lifestyle and your goals in order to create a healthy lifestyle.