The morning alarm is a symbol of hope. It is always set with the best of intentions, with a desperate wish that it works and we do actually get up at the right time to meet the demands of the day. And yet somehow, alarms are also a symbol of hate. Because it always seems to ring way before we're ready to rise. So, we forget all about the wishes of the previous night and our determination to wake up early and hit that snooze button, letting all our plans to have an early morning fade away. This needs to change. NOW!
The key to waking up early is inside your body. According to sleep researchers (yes, there is such a thing), an important factor in being able to wake up early in the morning is the timing of our circadian rhythm or 'body clock’. In order to wake up on time, the first step to start is by planning your sleep schedule the day and the evening before — and by making your mornings productive.
The body’s internal clock, located in the brain, is responsible for producing and regulating our circadian rhythms. These rhythms help in determining our sleep patterns over a 24 hour period. Environmental signals, like daylight and darkness, also affect our circadian rhythms. When our optic nerves are exposed to an incoming light, information gets passed along from the eyes to the brain. When there is no light — at night — the internal clock signals the brain to increase melatonin production, a hormone that makes you sleepy.
Our sleep-wake cycles, body temperature, hormone levels, and metabolism are all affected by our body’s circadian rhythms. When your rhythm is off, you may feel groggy and tired throughout the day. Irregular rhythms may also cause/worsen chronic health conditions, like obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.
But, worry not, because you can always recalibrate your system to get enough sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day with a bang! Keep reading.
1. Be Friends With Your Internal Body Clock
If you're prone to sleep deprivation, you might not even notice how much sleep your body wants if you weren't pulling all-nighters and abusing the snooze button of the alarm clock in the morning.
Generally, our body adapts in anticipation of us going to sleep, such as lowering the body temperature and heart rate and secreting melatonin into your bloodstream an hour or two before your regular bedtime. Notice how you feel sleepy around the same time each day, even if you’ve messed up your body clock enough to not feel sleepy until 3:00 a.m. After this get-some-sleep cycle peaks, your body begins a gradual morning waking-up process.
To figure out what works best for you, set a regular bedtime starting at least 8 hours before your alarm goes off. Stick to this method for several weeks (including weekends) to understand how well your body responds.
2. Get Up Just One Minute Earlier Than The Day Before
Now, just because you set your alarm earlier, it doesn’t mean that you’ll rise earlier as well. If you hit the “snooze” constantly until your regular wake-up time, that means that your body has yet to adjust. Instead of trying to wake up at 6 a.m. right away, set your alarm just 1 minute earlier every day until you reach your goal.
For example, if your current wake-up time is 7:30 A.M and you want to wake up at 6:30 AM every day, try to wake up at 7:29 the next day and then the day after that, make it 6:28, and then keep until you hit your goal. This will of course take longer to reach your goal, but the reason this is such a good method is that it isn’t just a one off thing, it builds a habit which may very well last a lifetime. Imagine how much stuff you could get done if you had 1 hour extra per day for the rest of your life.
3. Get Off The Bed After Waking Up
Do not hit snooze, check your email, or anything else you find yourself doing to get those few extra minutes before you have to face the day. Use the bed only for sleeping and not for working. This subconsciously signals the brain that, when the body is in the bed, it should be doing nothing else but sleep. Don’t worry, if you meet your biological sleep requirement, you will easily wake up feeling refreshed and getting out of bed will cease being a trouble for you.
4. Have A Healthy Diet
Having a healthy diet will increase your energy and help you have a better sleep. On the other hand, unhealthy foods make you feel sluggish and lower your energy. Try to have a well-balanced diet consisting of foods that increase your energy, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and foods with omega-3 fatty acids content.
5. Get regular exercise
Exercising regularly has been proven to improve sleep and reduce symptoms like insomnia, excessive sleepiness, anxiety and depression. It also increases energy levels and reduces fatigue. Having a good morning workout session energizes you for the day. If you enjoy your workout, it gives you an amazing reason to motivate yourself to get up early in the morning.
6. Fall in love with the daylight
Daylight regulates your circadian rhythms and improves your sleep. If you get some sun as soon as you wake up, it can boost your mood and energy levels for the rest of the day. Open your curtains as soon as you get up, have your hot cup of coffee/tea outside, or go for a short walk. If you can, try sleeping with your curtains open so that you can wake up to sunshine.
So, go on and start your day right!
Stay healthy, stay safe :)