When my alarm went off in the morning, I used to feel two things: fear and stress. Why? Because I was scared of what the day held and stressed about how little time I had to get ready and out my door. In fact, this anxiety would usually sabotage my entire day, impacting my performance, happiness, and health.
Nowadays, things are different. When my alarm goes off—if I’m not already up—I open my eyes, shut it off, and get out of bed, relaxed and ready to experience a new day. I learned from my mistakes and figured out the best and healthiest way to run my mornings. The benefits have been almost immeasurable. I’m calmer, more organized, more productive, and I keep a far better pace and mood to the rest of my day. If you want to improve your mornings, here are a few tricks that can help you start your day the healthy way.
Forget About the “Snooze” Button: One of the hardest things to do when you first hear your alarm is to avoid rolling over and hitting the “snooze” button for a few more “valuable” minutes of sleep time. However, hitting that button could actually sabotage the rest of your day, making it even harder to get out of bed and creating a lasting grogginess that follows you around. When you first hear an alarm, you’re startled and it sends a surge of adrenaline through your body. And although it’s not the best way to wake up, it’s essentially a necessary evil. Getting up and letting this adrenaline carry you is a great way to start the day. If you hit “snooze” and fall back asleep only to awaken a few moments later, you’ll disturb another sleep cycle that can result in tiredness later in the day.
Awaken with Purpose: Making a list of daily goals to accomplish is a great motivator to get you out of bed. Take some time in the evening before you go to sleep to think about what you want or need to get done the following day. These goals could be work-related, personal, or social, but at least you know that when you roll out of bed, your day has some organization to it. Make sure to put one fun task on your list too, so that while there are things to do, you’re sure to have something to look forward to! This can also relieve some of the stress you might feel during the day.
Let a Little Light In: If you live in an area that’s not surrounded by all kinds of fluorescent and artificial lights, purchase blinds or drapes that will let some sunlight shine through. This provides a natural cue to your body that it’s time to get up, setting your circadian rhythm in place. Believe it or not, your body is programmed to get up when it sees sunlight and shut down in the darkness. Plus, if you’re able to wake up naturally, before your alarm, you can save your body that bit of stress.
A Few Extra Good Habits: Another great way to keep calm in the morning is to avoid checking messages and e-mails until you get to work or at least not until you have finished breakfast. If you do it right when you wake up, you could be setting yourself up for disaster. Knowing how long you take in the morning is also a good way to relieve stress; if you’re always 15 minutes late, get up 15 minutes earlier so you’re not rushing around! Lastly, remember to eat a good healthy breakfast. This provides energy for your morning and has lasting impacts all day long!
Source for Today’s Article:
Konnikova, M., “Snoozers Are, In Fact, Losers,” The New Yorker web site, December 10, 2013; http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/snoozers-are-in-fact-losers, last accessed September 17, 2014.