As someone who would not consider themselves a morning person, my morning inclination would be to hit snooze until I eventually decide to roll out of bed.
It was actually a case of jet lag that lead to my 6:30am wake up calls. When I stopped attaching a story to waking up pre 7am, I found that my mornings were much more enjoyable. I could get up early & get ahead of the day. However, I soon slipped out of the habit and started the battle with my alarm clock all over again…
Faced with an overwhelming work load (plus the desire to you know, focus on personal growth, exercise, my relationship, socialising and actual down time), I realised the key would be getting a head start in the morning. As the antithesis of a morning person, how did I actually manage it though? Here are my top tips to get you flying out of bed in the morning.
It’s pretty common sense when you think about it, but if you wake up feeling exhausted, you’re unlikely to bounce out of bed. To give yourself the best start you need to get a good amount (7-8hours) of good quality sleep- the prep for which starts the day before. I’m not saying you cut out your coffee… I know how good that flat white tastes…. but a good place to start is cutting out your coffee post midday. It takes 6 hours for the caffeine to leave your system, so that 4pm coffee might seem a good idea to get you out of the afternoon slump, but it’s also going to mean your body doesn’t feel the night time signals.
“Just one more episode…?”
I’m the first to get hooked on a good series, excitedly loading the next episode as I binge watch the whole series in record time. But when I’m so emotionally involved in the fact that Winter is Coming, or crying (again) at yet another emotionally draining episode of Grey’s, I realised I wasn’t actually switching off.
Not only does watching TV late into the night have this effect on how we feel, it also has an effect due to the light. Yes- I know, blue light has been banged on about before, but the research just keeps showing the extent of the negative effects it has on the body. For example, it makes the body unable to produce sleep hormones that have been linked to helping the body heal and cancer prevention. Turn off all screens an hour or two before bed for optimum sleep.
As well as the risk of getting emotionally drawn into Social Media (“what do you mean he has a new girlfriend..?!), or WhatsApp Groups (“no I do not want our group holiday to take place in Aiya Napa”), the phone is just as guilty of those pesky blue lights.
For true brain relaxation mode, switch it to airplane after 8pm…no-one needs you after 8pm anyway! I also suggest you leave it outside the bedroom, for reason that will be revealed, but not least so that the first thing you interact with in the morning isn’t your phone.
So now what?
Start reading that book you’ve been meaning to read. Start a journal, or a gratitude diary. Talk to your partner (or get intimate…).
I’ve found that without TV or my phone to distract me, my mind truly starts to switch off, which stops that whole ‘just as I’m about to go to sleep my mind thinks of every single thing, I ever did wrong’ syndrome. You’ll probably find instead of battling to find sleep; it finds you first.
A room filled with clutter and crap is not going to be the restful place for sleep. Make your room a sanctuary- hang up those clothes and light a scented candle (the Neom Sleep Scent is incredible). You can also try body sprays and pillow sprays. Some contain active ingredients, so when they’re sprayed directly onto your body, they can help induce a restful sleep. One of my favourites is magnesium– something the modern diet is often deficient in and is brilliant for helping relax a frazzled nervous system.
EUGH. Still the hardest one to contend with. Do not hit that snooze button. Just don’t. You’re setting the intention for a lousy day, and any sleep you get now will be crap quality because you’re mentally trying to calculate just how long can I press snooze for and still turn up to work looking like I’ve showered.
My secret weapon? The Lumie lamp. Not only does having an alarm clock mean I can leave the phone OUT of the bedroom, but the Lumie mimics sunrise, meaning I wake naturally, making me feel more refreshed that the grinding noise of an alarm in the pitch black. The light used also makes a huge difference to my SAD (seasonal affective disorder) so I tend to leave it on for a little while longer after my alarm.
Why are we all so obsessed with punishing ourselves? For years I used to try and get myself out of bed early so I could jump on the tube and roll into a gym class. For some people, this IS what they enjoy, for me, it felt like torture and put me in a terrible mood. Work out what works for you, but having something to look forward to makes it much easier to get out of bed.
For me, it’s the time to myself with a cup of tea, time to meditate and gently move through some yoga. I’ve found a couple of stretches and sun salutations are all I need to get my body feeling awake and rejuvenated. This is not true for everyone.
Some people are great at getting their exercise out of the way in the morning, and if you are then it’s a great time to do it. It ensures no matter what pops up in the day ahead, you’ve got your dose of endorphins already ticked off, and it can even double up as a commute, preventing the usual pack of sardine’s scenes on the tube/ road rage in gridlock/ train trauma.
Find a morning routine that starts your day off right and leaves you feeling good! For more inspiration, check out The Morning Miracle.
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