Around 20 percent of Americans report regularly getting less than six hours of sleep a night. 1 This sleep deprivation results in groggy and irritable workmates, friends and family members who seem to have a chronic “case of the Monday’s”. Most people simply try to stay awake have their morning cup of coffee… followed by their afternoon cup of coffee. Simple adjustments to schedule and lifestyle can leave you refreshed and ready to take on the day.
1. Your Relationship with the Alarm Clock
It is best to set your alarm clock for the latest moment possible to wake up. Slapping the snooze button every five minutes to get a little more sleep will result in fragmented sleep that will make you more tired when finally rolling out of bed. 2 Also, consider getting a less “alarming” alarm. Some companies offer alarm clocks that gradually get louder or have gentle nature sounds such as babbling brooks or waterfalls to help you gradually come out of sleep. As soon as you hear the alarm, swing your legs over the side of the bed and take some deep breaths. 2
Exercising as soon as you wake up can give your mind and body the burst of energy it needs to start the day. Even a brisk walk can wake you up more than dragging your feet to the coffee maker. Simply walking around the house or out to get the paper can give your body the kick-start it needs. Be sure not to sacrifice needed sleep time in order to exercise. 2
3. Start with a Splash
I like to start the day by washing my face with cool water. The water will shock the face cells into action and cause you to even look more awake. Taking a hot shower can also wake the body up and help you to get your day started.
4. See the Daylight
Keeping the house dark to let yourself “adjust” only makes the mind more tired and convinced that it is still night time. By opening curtains and blinds and allowing natural daylight in, you will slow the brain’s production of melatonin and begin the mind’s wake up process. This is more difficult in the winter as the sun rises later and can contribute to seasonal affective disorder or winter depression. 3 Light and darkness help to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and doing this on a regular basis can make waking up easier.
5. Watch Your Medications
Some sleep or cold medications can cause drowsiness for up to eight hours. If taking such a medication, be sure to allow yourself to sleep the full amount of time the effects will be present. Trying to fight drowsiness brought on by medication will be very difficult.
6. Get Enough Sleep
The most simple, yet hardest way to improve mood and ability to wake up is by simply getting enough restful sleep. If continuously waking up under-rested, fix the problem by going to sleep earlier. This can be done by regulating your biological clock or circadian rhythm. 3 Using natural sleep aids or other psychological methods to fall asleep quicker can help regulate the biological clock quicker.
The best way to acclimate the body and mind with waking up earlier is to keep the same sleep schedule on weekends. Simple lifestyle adjustments can help the body and mind to wake up and take on the day. While waking up refreshed is important, ensuring you have had the proper rest period is what matters most. Without the adequate amount of sleep, no amount of caffeine, exercise or lifestyle changes will truly stop the effects of sleep deprivation.
1. WebMD—Toll of Sleep Loss in America http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/toll-of-sleep-loss-in-america
2. WebMD—Trouble Waking Up; http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/trouble-waking-up
3. USA Today—Can you become a morning person? Yes, but it’s not easy; http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/health/story/2011-11-21/Can-you-become-a-morning-person-Yes-but-its-not-easy/51338980/1