Lose an hour in the morning and you will be all day hunting for it.” – Richard Whately

Waking up early; it’s something many of us have dreamed of doing, yet never managed to achieve consistently. As our lives become increasingly confined to the indoors and our routines get thrown off-kilter, it’s easier than ever to find ourselves reaching for the snooze button when our alarm goes off in the morning.

Perhaps we’re staying up late watching Netflix or endlessly scrolling on social media, and as a result, feel tired every morning. Or perhaps we simply can’t seem to find the willpower to leave the comfort of our beds when it’s 6am, just to work from home.

Whatever it is that’s keeping you from getting up early, rest assured – there’s always a solution. Despite the lockdown, it’s never been a better time to become an early riser. 

Here are our 5 tips on how to wake up early in the morning, easily and naturally, even when working remotely. 

Go to bed early to wake up early

Without a doubt, the best thing you can do to help you wake up early is to go to sleep early. The average adult needs 7 to 8 hours sleep per night, teenagers need 8 to 10 hours, and primary school-aged children need 9 to 11 hours (1). If you’re setting an early alarm, work backwards to determine the time you need to hit the hay to make sure you’re getting this optimum amount of sleep. Without enough hours of sleep, you’re not only guaranteed to be tired, but you’re also putting yourself at risk of damage to your physical and mental health

When setting your alarm for an earlier wake-up time, make sure you also bring your bedtime forward. The goal is to wake up early while still enjoying the multitude of health benefits that come with getting enough hours of sleep. 

Tips on how to get to bed early: 

    • Keep your bedtime regular (even on weekends) to train your body to feel sleepy at the same time each night. This will encourage your circadian rhythm, or inner body clock, to fall asleep and wake up earlier naturally
    • Stay away from screens an hour before bed. The blue light emitted from smartphones and other screens prevents sleepiness, as it stimulates the brain and suppresses the production of melatonin, the brain’s sleep hormone. Try to eliminate screens an hour before bed and reach for a book instead.

Resist the snooze button

Research has proven that hitting the snooze button when you wake up only makes us more tired, and has negative consequences for our health (2). 

Snoozing for 10 or 15 minutes does not allow a complete sleep cycle to take place. A full sleep cycle has a duration of about 90 minutes, and in this time, we pass through four stages of sleep. Completing every stage of a sleep cycle allows us to wake up feeling rested and rejuvenated. 

But when you hit snooze, you’re forcing your body to be woken up again before a full sleep cycle is able to be completed. When only given 10-15 minutes to nap, the body is confused about whether it should be asleep or awake. This explains the groggy, tired feeling we often get after snoozing.

We recommend getting out of bed as soon as possible after waking. Make your bed, and leave your bedroom. Even though it can be hard on dark, cold mornings – if you can resist the snooze, you’re doing yourself a favour. 

 

Let the sunshine in 

If you can, expose your brain to natural light within the first few moments of waking up, as sunlight helps the body and brain wake up and become alert. When your alarm goes, reach over and open your curtains or blinds to let some natural light in.

Natural sunlight is considered a full spectrum light – it boosts vitamin D production and signals to the brain that it’s time to suppress melatonin, the sleep cycle hormone. Resist the urge to peek at your favourite social media apps first thing in the morning. If you’re using your phone as an alarm clock, consider turning off your notifications. Or better yet, remove phones from the bedroom and opt for a good old-fashioned alarm clock instead. 

A number of sleep solutions can offer help. The Nox Smart Sleep Light uses intelligent technology to help you get your sleep schedule on track – emitting a soft yellow light in the morning that simulating a natural sunrise, to help you wake up. The Nox also emits red light at night, encouraging the production of melatonin (contrary to the blue light emitted from smartphones). 

Tip: If you’re waking up in the dark before daylight, seize the opportunity to perch yourself in a place where you can watch the sunrise while you enjoy breakfast.

 

Start the day on a positive note

We all know waking up early is easier said than done, especially on those cold mornings when the only place you want to be is warm under the covers. When you can achieve waking up early, it’s important to reward yourself for doing so.

Try to have something to look forward to every morning, to help give you the willpower to get out of bed. This is particularly important when your home doubles up as your office. Take the time to make yourself a delicious breakfast, or splurge the few extra dollars on your favourite expensive coffee blend. And rather than hopping on to your laptop right after waking up, why not spend some time reading a book or listening to a podcast? 

Whatever it is, giving yourself more incentive to wake up early in the morning will help you achieve your goal. 

 

Create the ideal environment for sleep

Getting a good sleep is essential if you want to become an early bird. Creating an ideal environment for sleep will allow you to enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep – in turn making it easier to wake up in the morning. Your bedroom should be your sleep sanctuary, reserved only for sleeping and sex.

When it comes to your sleeping environment, the ideal scenario is a cool, dark and quiet room. Invest in block-out curtains or an eye mask to keep out unwanted light, and listen to white noise or wear earplugs to prevent any unfamiliar noises from disturbing your sleep. Try to keep your room temperature between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius as well: this makes it easier for your body to reach the optimal temperature for sleep.

Finally, a comfortable, supportive mattress will give you your best chance at getting the quality sleep you need, along with a good bed base and comfortable pillows. The best thing you can do to become an early riser in 2020 is to get your best night’s sleep yet.

Sources:
(2) Moorhead, A., ‘The science behind why hitting the snooze button is bad for you’, news.com.au, 3 June 2016 https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/the-science-behind-why-hitting-the-snooze-button-is-bad-for-you/news-story/88ddf312b5aaba64575710d0a86cc41e 

 

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