Waking well-rested starts with getting enough sleep. “Hitting the snooze button a couple times before getting up is a clear sign of sleep deprivation,” says Nathaniel Watson, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “If you are getting enough sleep, you should be able to wake up on time without a morning alarm.” Sounds easier said than done? First, follow these 10 tips for catching the zzz’s you need to wake refreshed.
1. Amp up your productivity
If you’re a regular snoozer, cutting out that extra nine minutes (or nine minutes times four or five) earns you bonus time each morning. Many creatives swear that early morning is the best time to write or think deeply and creatively about projects. Try taking a page from their book and dedicate even just a few minutes first thing in the a.m. to a project of your choice. You may be surprised at how rewarding it feels to start the day with a few tasks already checked off.
2. Eat a healthy breakfast
To be your best self, it’s helpful to eat a good breakfast (trust us, morning meetings are better when you’re not hungry). Whole grain carbs plus protein give you a quick hit of energy and keep you going all morning. For an all-in-one solution that you can prep ahead, try these homemade protein bars or overnight oats.
3. Exercise in the morning
Early in the a.m., your willpower stores are at their highest. By the evening, we get too busy and find too many excuses not to exercise. Plus, morning workouts will give you an extra shot of energy to carry you through the day ahead. Consider it your secret weapon as a newly initiated morning person.
4. Make moves
Finding the right alarm and where to put it can have a big impact on whether you wake in the morning. Try experimenting with the sound, timing and location of your alarm clock to help yourself get up when you need to. For example, some alarms wake you gradually with pleasant sounds to make the transition into daytime less jarring and more relaxed.
5. Seize the day
Waking up with a groan and thinking about all the things you don’t want to do is a terrible way to motivate yourself to get out of bed. Instead, think ahead to the best things you’ll do all day to fuel your desire to get up and at ‘em.
6. Try an app
There are several apps that promise to get you out of bed in the a.m. For example, Wake n Shake makes you shake your phone in order to turn off the app, while Better Me shares your failure to your Facebook every time you hit snooze. There are also apps, like Sleep Cycle, that use motion sensors to monitor your movement and determine the best time to wake you within a preset window.
7. Brighten up
If you need to draw shades at night to make your room dark or — shudder — you need to wake before it’s light out, you can’t always rely on the sun to wake you. Fortunately, there are gradual light-up alarm clocks that promise to lull you out of sleep less painfully than your standard alarm.
8. Prep before bed
Wondering what to do with that electronic-free hour? Use the time to get together anything you’ll need in the a.m. — like a healthy lunch, make-ahead breakfast or a gym bag. Shortening your morning to-do list just might make it easier to roll out of bed.
9. Get cozy
Temperature, noise, light and comfort can all impact your ability to sleep well. A cool, quiet room (around 65 degrees) has been shown to be an effective sleep environment. And if your mattress leaves you achy, you’ve got a good excuse to upgrade — your health may depend on it! The National Sleep Foundation offers even more recommendations for tweaking all of these for better sleep.
10. Take your time
Balancing your own well-being against other personal and professional responsibilities is tough. Often, finding the right work-life equilibrium starts with saying “No,” and so does getting enough sleep. Pare down your evening commitments so that you’ve got an hour completely blocked off to wind down before bed.
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