Ever marveled at those magical unicorns called “morning people” and wondered how to make yourself wake up in the morning?
For those of us who tend to crawl out of bed like the undead, an easy wakeup may seem like a mythical, unattainable experience. But a good morning is less elusive than you may think.
Try these simple tweaks to your routine to help yourself wake up.
1. Just say no… to the snooze button
To avoid an a.m. fiasco, avoid drockling. Wait… drockling? No, we didn’t make that up. Sleep scientists in the 1970s coined this term to describe that in-and-out-of-it feeling we slip into as we hit the snooze button again… and again… and again.
The more you snooze, the more you lose. Falling back to sleep after waking up is also known as sleep fragmentation, which research shows can make you more tired during the day and give you that run-down feeling.
Eventually, your internal clock won’t know when to feel tired, throwing your sleep out of whack and making you a hard-to-wake-up Grumpy Gus in the morning.
Pro tip: Move the alarm
An easy way to stop drockling once and for all? Move your alarm (yes, that’s probably your phone) farther away from your bed, so you have to physically get up to turn it off.
2. Put. The phone. Down.
Raise your hand if the first thing you reach for in the morning is your phone. *raises hand*
While catching up on all the happenings in the world first thing in the morning seems important (wait, who tweeted what?!), it’s actually a major time suck. What feels like a few seconds of scrolling can leave you scrambling to get up and at ’em.
Avoid screen time first thing in the a.m. and choose a more productive activity like exercising, meditating, journaling, or even spending some time sitting outside with a hot cuppa.
3. Let the sunshine in!
Starting your day with a little sunshine can set you up for a great day. The sun’s sweet vitamin D goodness can boost your energy and elevate your mood.
Open the shades when you wake up or add some outdoor time to your morning routine. Taking a walk, reading on the porch, or enjoying breakfast or coffee outside can help start your day right.
Sunshine being elusive (we see you, winter months)? Flick the lights on as soon as you wake up.
4. Make your bed
We’re all guilty of not making the bed some mornings (OK, fine, most mornings). But taking a few minutes to make your bed gets you up and moving in the morning rather than crawling back into bed.
Besides, who wants to mess up a perfectly made bed when the whole day is ahead of you?
5. Pump up the jam
Cue DJ Rise & Shine! Turning on your fave tunes will start your day off with an extra pep in your step. Music makes morning tasks more enjoyable and can boost your mood.
Pro tip: Make a morning playlist
Taking a few minutes now to create the perfect playlist will give you instant access to your fave pump-up jams for many mornings to come.
6. Energize with some aromatherapy
The nose knows. Indulging in a little aromatherapy in the morning can give your senses the jolt they need to start the day energized and refreshed.
Investing in a diffuser and some essential oils can help your mornings make more sense. Wakeup scents include:
- pink grapefruit
7. And… streeeeeetch
A morning stretch sesh is a great way to get your body moving and your blood flowing! In addition to easing those tight muscles, stretching has many other benefits, including:
- boosted endurance
- increased flexibility
- greater range of motion
- decreased risk of injury
8. Crush an a.m. workout
A heart-pumping workout can also boost your energy level in the morning. Research has shown that exercise can help you wake up and stay alert. A study of people with chronic fatigue syndrome even found that exercise decreased their fatigue.
Exercise has also been shown to improve sleep quality and ease anxiety and depression (which can cause insomnia and excessive sleepiness).
9. Get out of those PJs
A lazy pajama day can be AH-mazing. But the COVID-19 world we’re living in can make basically every day a pajama day, which can throw off your wakeup.
Putting on fresh day duds can give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose for your day. (We promise there are comfy alternatives to jeans.)
Pro tip: Plan it out
Take the stress out of scrambling for something to wear by laying out tomorrow’s clothes tonight!
10. Take a cold shower
Cold water first thing in the morning may not sound pleasant, but it’s actually a refreshing way to start the day. Research has shown that immersing your body in cold water can help increase alertness through physiological changes like:
- increased heart rate
- increased blood pressure
- increased respiration
11. Splash your face with cold water
Taking a whole shower in the a.m. not your thing? Simply tossing a little ice-cold water on your face first thing can wake you up in a splash!
12. H2O before J-O-E
Many of us can’t function before that first cup of coffee, but you’re doing your body a disservice by jumping directly onto the Caffeine Express. Instead, start your day with a refreshing glass of water.
Gulping down some sweet H2O before enjoying your morning cup o’ joe helps your body rehydrate after a night of sleep and boosts your metabolism.
13. Enjoy a good-for-you breakfast
While unhealthy foods can make you feel lethargic and unmotivated, healthy foods can help increase your energy and improve your sleep quality.
Kick off your day with foods high in protein (like eggs!) and add fruits, veggies, whole grains, and foods high in omega-3s for even more nutrition.
Still slugging through your wakeup? To achieve the best sleep possible, get a bedtime routine in place and avoid activities that can mess with your body’s circadian rhythm (the internal clock that tells you when to sleep and when to wake up).
- Avoid p.m. caffeine. Drinking caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime can interfere with sleep.
- Don’t overdo the power nap. Enjoying too much naptime during the day makes it harder to clock the 7 to 9 hours of sleep your body needs to wake up refreshed.
- Skip the booze. It’s OK to enjoy a glass of your beverage of choice from time to time. But consistently indulging before bedtime can wreck your sleep cycle.
- Turn off the (blue) light. Stop using devices that emit blue light (like phones, tablets, and laptops) before bed.
Rough morning starts aren’t the only sign that you’re not getting the right amount of sleep. Other signs you need more sleep:
- excessive daytime sleepiness
- increased appetite
- brain fog
- lack of motivation
- frequent yawning
If you’ve tried every trick in the book and nothing helps you wake up, it’s time to call your doctor. They can help you figure out if a health condition is to blame.
Your doctor may also connect you with a sleep specialist for sleep study. A sleep study can help determine if your rough wakeups are the result of a sleep disorder. If you get a diagnosis, they can set you up with a treatment plan to ensure you have good nights that lead to good mornings.