If you are one of the many people who struggle to get up in the morning, and can’t seem to get to sleep at night there’s good news … there’s light at the end of the proverbial tunnel! All joking aside, with only some slight changes to your daily habits you can be a morning person and begin enjoying the start of your day and the end of it too. Below are some small easy steps you can take to make getting to sleep easier and waking up more pleasant for you:
- Place your alarm clock out of reach so you have to actually get up to turn it off. Hitting the snooze button only delays the inevitable and can skew your internal clock. When you wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day it keeps your body’s internal clock in sync, this will make you feel more energized in the morning and feel sleepy at night when it’s time to go to bed.
- When you first wake up open up your window treatments (curtains, shades, blinds) and let the sunshine in. If it’s not dawn yet or a dark or cloudy day turn on the lights. Natural light is best though it assists your brain to get going and keeps your internal clock on schedule. If you are one of the many people affected by seasonal affective disorder, depression or morning brain fog you may want to purchase a sun lamp. Sun lamps and/or light boxes have been shown to aid in lessening depression, brightening your mood and helping people feel more alert and awake.
- Make a warm satisfying cup of caffeinated coffee or black or green tea and enjoy sipping it while doing the morning crossword puzzle, checking out your favorite web site or talking a walk through the park. The caffeine increases your serotonin and dopamine levels which will boost your energy and perk up your mood, literally. The activities will get your brain cells going and help clear your head, an enjoyable gentle way to get rid of morning brain fog or the blues.
- If you have time get in a morning workout. Exercising in the morning will get your central nervous system going which will make you more alert and can even boost your endorphins which is a hormone that makes you feel happier and at ease. When you exercise first thing in the morning or at least several hours before bedtime you will fall asleep easier. Exercising closer to bedtime may prevent you from falling asleep, disrupting your internal clock. If you don’t have time to exercise in the morning try yoga before bedtime, studies have shown it reduces insomnia and will help you relax to fall asleep easier.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Your body needs fuel to fire up the brain, breakfast will help you to be focused and alert. If you’re not much of an eater early in the morning have a smoothie or Greek yogurt with fresh fruit in it sprinkled with oat flakes. Eating breakfast will also aid in keeping that internal clock in order, making your morning feel like morning and not as if it’s the middle of the night.
- Create a routine that will help you wind down at the end of your day. Avoid activities and situations that could be a stressor, such as going over bills, emails, or difficult conversations with friends or family members for at least one hour before bedtime. Doing yoga, taking a relaxing warm bath or shower or reading a book in a dimly lit room can help to make you feel drowsy and fall asleep easier keeping your internal clock in sync.
If after making these adjustments in your daily routine you are still not getting seven hours of sleep each night you could try taking melatonin, a hormone that prepares your system for sleep and assists in keeping your internal clock in check too. You should consult your physician before taking melatonin.
If after all these steps fail to balance your internal clock you should see a doctor, there may be a medical reason you are feeling tired and not getting enough rest such as sleep apnea. Always consult your physician before making any major changes in your diet or exercise routines.