I’m always working on ways to get up early, especially as I don’t HAVE to get up early but set my own routine. Well that’s not quite true. I love lying in late though now realise that not only could I get a lot more done in the day and be more organised, but I love the morning light from my high windows and want to enjoy this quiet time. As a teenager I was always late to school because the snooze button became automatic or I would limit ‘getting ready time’ to impossibly tight measures just to get some more kip. These days it’s really important for me to set good sleep hygiene and keep to a routine. It’s a work in progress but it makes all the difference so I wanted to share some tips.
Obviously getting to bed earlier in gradual increments of 10-15 minutes is the crucial element in getting up gradually earlier so check out my other post which talks about this.
- I use an app called Sleepcycle which allows you to wake up when you are most awake in your lightest sleep cycle, during predetermined periods of time to avoid that groggy feeling like you have been dragged out of your deep dreams. I set it for a 30 minute period. The app uses motion sensors in your phone to determine the stages of your sleep and sets the alarm to go off when you are in the lightest stage of sleep. It can also evaluate the quality of your sleep (although I am not sure this is helpful because if it tells you your night wasn’t great, you are more likely to feel tired). There is also a relaxing sounds function to help you get to sleep too. Just remember to put your phone into airplane mode as it will be by your head.
- If you wake up a bit before your alarm, tempting as it is, resist the urge to fall back to sleep. It’s likely that you will fall into a deeper sleep and then feel more tired than you did earlier. Keep your alarm on the other side of the room so you have to get up and switch it off.
- I use a Philips sunrise simulator alarm which gradually gets lighter over a period of time (that you specify) with warm orange light avoiding the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ feel. This is really useful in the winter months when it’s not light yet and your body will gradually take note of the increase in light even if you are half asleep. I also find it helps to wake up to gentle music or birdsong which are functions on this alarm. Much better than a piercing alarm buzz , let’s do this gradually.
- Avoid clutter in the bedroom and make your bed every morning so you have tidy clean sheets to slip into at night to refresh you. Whatever you see first thing when you open your eyes sets the tone for the rest of the day so make sure you can see inspirational images, clean space and not smelly socks. Make your bed as soon as you get up so you are not tempted to get back in it and you can face a nice clean bed that night.
- Get excited about what you can do in the extra time you create in the morning. This motivation is important so don’t just get up check your emails and faff around as normal. Light some incense, have a delicious smoothie or a pot of green tea whilst doing some writing or reading. Have nice things to do in the morning and you will want to get up and do them. Get a pleasurable morning routine going, even if it’s just five minutes stretching or dancing around the house, movement can really help get you going.
- Set out clothes and breakfast for the next day. Set out something you love doing ready for the next morning, your pad for writing or your paints if you can fit in 15 minutes of morning art-making.
- Meditate first thing. It is less intimidating to go from your warm bed to a warm cushion with a blanket. Besides all the powerful benefits of meditating daily, it is a great way to smoothly transition from sleep into wakefulness and set intentions for the day ahead. Even one minute of sitting mindfully can help.
Perhaps there is no such thing as a ‘morning person’? I’m definitely not going to make grand ambitions to get up before sunrise just yet but I am making the effort to make the most of the day.
What do you do with the extra time?