Whether it’s a job, an early class, a 6am flight, a long commute, a workout partner that insists on starting before the rest of the world wakes up, a child or dog that seems to always wake you before 7am… We’ve all got early mornings… most of us loathe them. Here are a few tips I’ve learned from getting up at 5:45 most days to help make those early mornings less brutal and a little more “eh, this isn’t the worst thing in the world..maybe I could learn to like early mornings”.
- Turn down the lights! Dim the area you’re in up to an hour before bed, I leave my phone facing down so I’m not tempted and laptop off (but the phone’s always on, in the case of an emergency and I need to be contacted). I don’t have a tv, but I don’t allow myself any Netflix or Youtube videos while in bed, rather I read myself to sleep. Right now I’m reading “Turn Right at Machu Pichu” by Mark Adams, great read if you’re into adventure and history! Also, sleep in total darkness, no flashing chargers or bathroom lights.
- Warm shower. I take a warm shower at least 30-45 mins before I plan on sleeping. This way, your body will be relaxed, but not awake enough to keep you up. Bonus: you don’t have to wake an extra 10 mins to shower in the morning!
- Be comfortable. If it’s -20 outside, put on some warmer pyjamas, if it’s +35, then dress accordingly – depending on the heating/cooling systems in your home of course. If you’re too hot or too cold, you’re bound to wake up so try to plan ahead by grabbing a suitable blanket and picking the right sleeping gear!
- Plan out your morning: when do you have to leave and what do you have to do before? Make breakfast, walk your dog, shower, make your lunch, do your makeup, get dressed, pack a bag for the day… half of these things can be done the night before; prep a lunch, shower before bed, prepare your clothes for the next day, pack your bag beforehand.
- Once you plan out how much time you need, give yourself an extra 10 minutes for lying around, staring at your fridge while deciding what you want to eat, napping between bites at breakfast…
Now that you’re up…
What not to do? Check emails, facebook and other social media, the news, texts, etc…
1) Upon waking, drink a large glass of water. Think about adding some lemon slices and ginger to your water to add some flu-fighting Vitamin C, help keep your skin radiant from the antioxidants and to help your stomach and liver produce acid and bile to aid in proper digestion. Think of the water as hydration after a night-long fast!
2) Get moving: do just a few minutes of basic stretching to get the blood flowing, go for a quick walk with your pup or if you’re up to it, throw in a yoga sequence or workout!
Cant fall asleep?
I’ve tried everything from stretching to relax my muscles, meditation to relax my brain, thinking of the day’s events, and there are still times when I seem to be wide awake while trying to fall asleep.
- Workout. I tend to practice yoga each evening to unwind my mind and move my body. However if I don't manage to make time for a flow, I try to stay moving in some way, even if it’s just taking my pup for a longer walk than usual. No matter how badly I might want to nap in the afternoon, unless I REALLY need it, I don’t. Some evenings, I might have a glass of red wine, while reading, writing a new post or relaxing with family or friends. Having a cup of tea before going to bed helps me wind down, it’s become a bit of a habit that my brain has learned to recognize as preparing for sleep. I've been recommended to try warmed milk with turmeric as a means of relaxation, if you give it a go, let us know in the comments below!
- Try going through absolutely everything you did that day – turning off the alarm, preparing breakfast, calling a cab, buying a snack, a conversation with a friend or coworker, everything.
- Try a sleep mask, that way you’re unable to continuously open your eyes and look about.
- Feel your body. Starting from the tip of your head, slowly go down your body and consciously feel the weight of your relaxed self, feel the pressure of the bed underneath you, allow your muscles to loosen completely. Listening to meditations designed for sleep and relaxation is always one of my go-to sleeping aids.
- Deep breaths. Manipulating your breathing to a more slower paced inhalation and exhalation is extremely helpful with relaxation. Not thinking about it really, so much as just being aware. Notice where you feel your breath the most; in your nostrils, your throat, your chest or your lungs... focus your mind on this spot. If your thoughts wander, that is perfectly ok, simply return your focus to your breath.
Feeling extremely tired in the morning?
When I wake up painfully exhausted (aside from a larger cup of coffee), I tend to drink much more water, open the blinds and windows for some sunshine and fresh air and DO SOMETHING. If I just lounge around thinking about how tired I am, I’ll never get out of my fatigue phase. If I busy myself with preparing for the day, planning out the day’s meals or outings, if I focus on whatever work I may be doing, I am better able to cut out the sleepiness and get going.
Can’t seem to get out of bed?
You’ll hate me for this, but put your alarm across the room and put on an obnoxiously loud alarm (unless you’re living with somebody… in that case maybe make the alarm a bit more gentle). When you’re forced to physically get out of bed, you’re less likely to drop right back to sleep.
Have something to look forward to; whether it’s a lunch date, a workout class, a great cup of coffee, snuggling your furry friend, seeing somebody, or just starting up a new day.
I hope this will help you with dealing with those early mornings and sleepless nights! For comments or questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd love to hear your tips and suggestions for a good night's rest!