What is the most stressful time of your day? Is it after an intense workout, or when you get to the office confronted with enormous responsibilities?
For many people, just getting out of bed in the morning causes the most physical and mental stress that they will feel all day. Waking up tired is an awful feeling, and it can impact your entire day.
So how do you turn your mornings from nightmares into daydreams? These 13 strategies will help.
Waking up refreshed starts with making smart choices before your bedtime. Your body’s time to renew itself is at rest, and you cannot possibly get the rest you need if you cannot settle down for sleep. Make these changes for better sleep, which leads to a better morning.
People who move their bodies during the day report better sleep at night. You don’t have to be a workout fanatic. Walking the dog, doing some yoga or going for a swim will help you sleep better at night.
2. Get electronics out of the bedroom.
Electronics stimulate your brain, making it much harder to fall asleep. Take the TV out of your bedroom, and put down your phone at least a half hour before bed. Most phones have controls you can set to make them turn off and then on at a specific time. That is a good idea if you can’t help yourself from reaching for your phone when you should be sleeping.
Instead of watching TV, read a regular book, have a low-stress conversation with your partner or spend some time petting your cat. Some people pray or meditate for 20 minutes before bed. Calming and relaxing activities tell your body that it’s time to start shutting down.
3. Use essential oils.
Calming scents can help improve your sleep. Dilute an essential oil in coconut oil or peanut oil, and massage it onto your wrists and temples. Or buy a diffuser to put the fragrance into the air. Lavender is the perfect choice for calming and resting your mind. Other options are sandalwood, chamomile, and ylang-ylang. Experiment to find the ideal combination for you.
4. Cut back on sugar.
Sugar is a dangerous substance. It seems to give you energy but then zaps it away. Consuming sugar right before bed is particularly harmful to restfulness. Eating sugar before bedtime can cause your blood sugar to plummet as you sleep. The result is that your body doesn’t rest and you’re even more tired when you wake up.
5. Don’t consume caffeine after 4 p.m.
Make a conscious decision not to drink or eat caffeine after 4 o’clock in the afternoon. People often believe that caffeine doesn’t affect them, but they are shocked at the difference in their bodies when they cut back. Introducing a chemical like caffeine into your bloodstream before sleep is setting you up for a restless night and a terrible morning.
6. Stay on schedule.
Most people go to bed at a different time on weekends than they do on weeknights, but it’s not a good idea if you want to get the most out of your rest. Your body is at its best when it has consistent rhythms. Going to sleep at the same time every night is tremendously helpful in keeping your body’s sleep patterns steady.
A restful night is only one part of waking up feeling great and ready to face the day. You can also make changes in the morning that will help get your moving.
7. Stay on schedule.
Just as going to bed at the same time each night is essential, getting up at the same time each morning can make a huge difference in the way you feel. Your body loves consistency, and allowing it to work in a rhythm causes it to perform more efficiently.
Many people get up early to go to work or school all week and then allow themselves extra sleep on the weekends. Some people call this “make-up” sleep, and it is nowhere near as refreshing or healthy as the rest you get from following a regular sleep pattern.
8. Don’t hit snooze.
The snooze button can be a tempting treasure when you first wake up, but you must resist the urge. Falling back to sleep for five more minutes is only going to confuse your brain and make it harder for you to get out of bed. Set your alarm clock for a specific time, and get out of bed when it goes off. Forget the snooze button even exists.
9. Use a gradual alarm.
Being startled awake by an obnoxious noise isn’t good for your body or your mood. Instead of a traditional alarm clock, try one that wakes you up gradually with a low-key sound that slowly gets louder. Another gentle alternative is an alarm clock that wakes you up with a soft light that gets brighter.
10. Open the shades.
Your body was made to wake up with the natural light of the morning, so give yourself some sunshine. Open the shades and let the sunrise pull your body out of sleep.
11. Wake up 30 minutes earlier.
If you wake up groggy each morning, you might be interrupting your sleep cycle at the wrong time. It is much harder for your body and brain to spring to attention when awakened from a deep sleep. By setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier, you might be able to catch yourself during a lighter phase of sleep.
12. Set a second alarm.
Once you get your body going, it will be easier to wake up fully. Put a second alarm clock across your bedroom or even in another part of your house. That forces you to move and helps you become alert.
Your body may feel tight and heavy after sleep. You can get your blood flowing again by stretching your muscles. When you get out of bed, do some simple stretches for your legs, arm, back, and chest. Ir feels good and gets you ready to start the day.
Mornings can be the worst time of the day, especially if you aren’t getting restful sleep. Set your body up for morning success with these 13 strategies. You’ll wake up feeling energized, and that will lead to better nights and better days.