As someone who suffers from chronic fatigue, getting out of bed in the morning can certainly be difficult. How often I heard about the many benefits of getting up earlier: more energy, better performance, more creativity, less distraction, better health, etc, and I always had a strong desire to achieve this.
I’ll often find myself setting 15+ alarms on my phone just to ensure that I actually get up. Whether or not you’re dealing with fatigue from a chronic condition or sleep deprivation for another reason, getting out of bed this time of year can really be a challenge. It’s dark and cold which, while is awesome for falling asleep, makes you only want to snuggle deeper under the covers come morning.
Ever jumped out of bed running late only to feel completely scatterbrained all day? The way that you wake up can really have an impact on your day, which is why I think it’s so important to work with your body to help you better transition from night to day. With a little training and some good techniques it is quite possible to get up early every morning easily.
Use a Wake-Up Light
I personally use this wake-up light from Phillips. If you’ve never heard about a wake-up light before, what you do is set your alarm the night before and starting half an hour before your desired wake-up time, the light will gradually get brighter and brighter, simulating the sunrise. Now, why is this so great? Because it is naturally working with your body’s rhythms.
Our hormones are regulated by light (which is why the light from a screen can make if more difficult for you to fall asleep), so waking up gently with light can help you to feel more refreshed. More specifically, light helps to balance melatonin and cortisol levels, which helps you to feel more awake and focused during the day and sleepier come night time (Source).
I love this light especially this time of the year because it’s often so dark out. In fact, wake-up lights have even been shown to be helpful in managing depression and seasonal affective disorder (Source). If you need even more of a reason, light has been shown to be better wake us up then sound. So, I’ll usually set my wake-up light and then have a back-up alarm on my phone.
Use a Smart Alarm
If you’re like me and have to double check each night that you have multiple alarms set each night on your phone, I definitely suggest you check out a smart alarm. One of the reasons we often have such trouble waking up is because our body is currently in a deep sleep cycle, either stage 3 or REM sleep. This not only makes you harder to arouse, but can also make you feel groggy when you do wake.
What a smart alarm does is track your movement throughout the night to determine your sleep cycles, and then will wake you up anywhere during the half hour before your desired wake-up time when you’re in a lighter stage of sleep. I currently use a free app on my phone called SleepBot. I actually find myself needed to set only one alarm with this app, which is awesome!
Set the alarm clock away from your bed
The main problem with getting up early when you are tired is that, despite setting the alarm, you tend to postpone your early start by changing the alarm time or simply turning it off almost without realizing it. This is something that has happened to all of us, and that we tend to do when we don’t really feel like getting up, we feel lazy or our body needs more hours of rest. A good strategy to avoid this situation is to put the alarm far away from the bed so that you need to get up to turn it off.
Read also: Best Essential Oils for Good Night’s Sleep
Go to bed early
Although it may seem obvious,if you want to get up early, you must get to bed early. The problem with us is that going to bed early is often difficult. Most of the time we are active at night. We watch a series or a movie, we hang out on social networks, we play a game, we chat… and we don’t feel the urge to go to bed.
We let ourselves be tempted to watch more YouTube videos, chat longer on WhatsApp, and try to complete a few levels of our favorite video game. This leads to a late-night. It’s difficult to get up in the morning because we haven’t slept enough.
So if you want to get up early, you need to optimize the hours before you go to bed. You need to do things that are less stimulating. Things that make it easier to fall asleep, not activities that boost your dopamine.
To do this, read a book, listen to a podcast, listen to music, meditate… in short, do something that signals to your brain that it’s almost time to sleep. You will fall asleep earlier and you will have an easier time getting up early the next day.
Tidy up before going to sleep
Nothing is more demotivating than waking up and seeing dirty dishes in the kitchen or your bedroom in disarray. Before going to bed, give yourself a few minutes to tidy up your space. That way, when you wake up, you’ll feel more relaxed because everything is in its place and things look clean. This will help you feel that every day is a new opportunity, a chance to start from scratch.
Think positive before sleep
Before you go to sleep, think about waking up refreshed and rested, and all the good things that can happen the next day. Go to bed with positive thoughts about what you will experience when you wake up to program yourself to make it happy and energized. This may sound simple, but the first thoughts you have when you wake up reflect the last thoughts you had when you went to sleep.
As I previously mentioned, our bodies love a cool environment for sleeping. But, when we wake up in this same chilly environment, we’re only more inclined to want to stay in our warm bed! If you have a programmable thermostat, I recommend setting a cooler temperature during bedtime and into the night, and program it to start warming up an hour or so before you’re ready to get up so you wake up in a warm room and will be less likely to want to stay huddled under the covers. If you’re unable to do this, try putting a robe and slippers next to your bed each night so you have something warm to grab and throw on.
Quality mattress and pillows
To combat sleep deprivation when you’re a night owl, every detail counts. To successfully get up early and in shape, sleep quality must be at its highest! Arm yourself with quality bedding to boost your deep sleep and REM sleep, so you can get up early with ease.
For this, choosing a soft comforter, a comfortable mattress and an ergonomic memory pillow are the three keys! Make sure your pillow takes care of your neck and is adapted to your sleeping position and habits.
Massage is one of the most appreciated practices by all of us. It is a process that provides relaxation and well-being to relieve the daily pressure by simple and non-intrusive techniques. Foot massage help to relax not only the feet, but also the whole body. In addition, they provide the body with important benefits. Foot reflexology connects the different organs of the body to specific points on the feet: by massaging particular areas, we do good to the organs that correspond to them.
Eat a light dinner
If taking care of your environment is important to fall asleep at a good time and not to wake up in the middle of the night because you’re sweating too much or because you have to turn off the TV, having a light dinner is important. Why? Well, because heavy meals at night can cause insomnia and hinder restful sleep.
Rewards for waking up early
Incentives are part of the habit cycle. That is, in order for us to form habits, people need a trigger, a routine and a reward. In many occasions this is created unconsciously, however, if you manage to master this consciously, then you will be able to get what you set out to do.
In this case, if you manage to define small rewards that accompany the subsequent tasks you perform after getting up early, you can become a proactive person and you may even have free time to dedicate to yourself the rest of the day.