A Little Help For Those Not So Morning People

Buena Vista Images via Getty Images
Buena Vista Images via Getty Images

In the perfect world we would all be morning people. We would wake up calm, refreshed and ready to tackle the day. But this isn’t a perfect world, and many of us have hectic morning routines that are considered a success only if we’re able to make it to work on time and with no coffee stains on our shirts.

Waking up early has many advantages. Not only does it allow more time for both productivity and leisure, but it makes our days less stressful. We know this.

However, try as we might, it seems no matter how early we set the alarm, we always end up hitting snooze (one too many times). We go to bed with the best intentions: We tell ourselves we will wake up with enough time to enjoy a healthy breakfast and put some considerable effort into our appearance.

But somehow those intentions slip away as we catch our Zzzs, and suddenly making that 6 a.m. spin class seems significantly less pressing when the sun is seeping through our blinds and our warm cloud of a mattress is hugging us.

It is not just how many hours of sleep we get a night that affects our ability to wake up early, happy and productive. All things considered, it is possible to slowly transform yourself into a morning person. Believe it or not, mornings can be the best part of your day.

No deadlines to meet. No children to feed. No emails to answer. It can be your time for solitude, where you are able to relax and check in with yourself — and make it to work on time. How?

1. Get more sleep. Duh, right? Let’s get the most obvious and irritating to hear one out of the way. Not only do many of us wish we had more sleep, we actuallyneed more sleep. Just like we need to make time for working out, we need to schedule 7-9 hours of sleep into our day because it is one of the most essential parts of our health. What we get from a good night’s rest cannot be supplemented elsewhere.

Still, people insist they are too busy to make time for more sleep. But if even the busiest of people divvied up the production of their days a little differently, there is no reason why eight hours a night is not attainable. You do not have to compromise health for success. Harvard Health research has found that getting a healthy dose of sleep on a regular basis is linked to:

• Increased memory consolidation
• Better metabolism and weight
• Heightened mood and concentration
• Lower blood pressure and stress levels

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body is not going to be good at changing other habits, and your motivation and production levels are nowhere near where they could be.

2. No screens in the bedroom. Or, at least make it so there are as few as possible. For some, yes that means the TV. If this seems too drastic, make it a point to turn it off at a certain time. Similarly, don’t use your laptop/tablet in bed. Although I won’t go so far as to suggest we leave our phones elsewhere, as many use them as an alarm, don’t let that screen be the last thing you look at before trying to fall asleep. Most of us spend our entire days looking at screens and this can be confusing for our brains.

Make your room a haven for relaxation and sleep. Although you may consider watching House of Cards in bed the definition of relaxing, when it comes to going to sleep it is hard for your brain to transition. You can be just as comfortable watching TV from your couch. Restrict your contact with screens at least an hour before bed. If you absolutely need to use your iPhone, at least adjust the brightness settings to as dim as possible.

3. Go to sleep when you are tired. Most of us have a certain time we usually hit the hay around every night. So when we have had an especially exhausting day, we ignore our brains when they are telling us we are drained and tired hours before we normally are. Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. Just like waiting too long to go to bed after taking a sleeping pill, powering through your tiredness instead of going right to bed can have adverse effects. It tricks your mind and causes you to feel wired while lying in bed, even when your body is physically exhausted.

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Source: Huffington Post | Casey Cavanagh

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