From the world’s top CEOs to local sports champions, early mornings are touted as a key pillar of productivity and success. But despite our aspirations, hitting those earlier wake-up times (especially in the cold, grey months) can be difficult. The good news is that there are some simple changes you can make to wake up earlier easily.
Let the light in
Light has a powerful effect on our circadian rhythms, the internal clock that affects how alert and sleepy we are at different points in our day. As our bodies are awakened by light, it’s no surprise that being shocked awake by a blaring alarm in a dark bedroom can leave us feeling groggy and ready to hit the snooze button.
But as we can’t all leave our blinds open all night to rise with the sun, how can we use light to help start our day easily? One option is to try wake-up lights like those by Philips, which work by gradually building light over around 30 minutes to ease you into a state of wakefulness.
Once you’re awake, try to get as much natural light exposure as early as possible to help boost your alertness. Try opening the blinds, having a cup of tea outside (or near the window) or taking a morning walk around your neighbourhood.
Time your caffeine
For many of us, daily cups of coffee are a ritual. And whilst we often talk about how helpful it is for morning alertness, what we might need to know is that consuming caffeine too late in the day can harm our sleep.
So, how can we work with caffeine to maximise its benefits and minimise its drawbacks? Studies suggest that to prevent caffeine from disrupting our sleep, we should avoid drinking it between 8-10 hours before bedtime. That means if you go to bed around 10 pm, you should try to have your last cup of coffee before 2 pm. The better you sleep, the easier it will be to get up and out of bed in the morning.
Get enough sleep
Quality is just one part of the equation; with sleep, quantity matters, too. For most adults, between 7 and 9 hours of sleep is recommended. When you’re regularly exercising, getting enough quality sleep is essential to allow your body to recover and repair muscles. If you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning, chances are that you’re not getting enough. Try testing out different lengths of time in the 7-9 hour window to figure out the right fit for you.
Struggling to drift off? Try our Fall Asleep With Third Space Spotify Playlist
Build a routine
Whatever your morning ritual looks like, whether it’s going for a run, hitting a class or doing some gentle stretching and meditation, establishing a consistent routine can help to reduce decision fatigue.
When you wake up at the same time every day, it becomes easier to build out a pattern that over time becomes a natural part of your day. This can be particularly helpful on days when you might be feeling tired or unmotivated, as you don’t have to spend mental energy deciding whether or not to get out of bed.
Establishing your routine may feel harder to begin with, but stick with it – your future self will thank you.