Good Morning Sunshine: On Learning to Love Mornings
Start the day right: setting morning rituals
Waking up at the same time every day is a good way to kickstart becoming a morning person. Your own personal body clock, a.k.a. your circadian rhythm, will adapt to your wake-up time, making it easier to wake up feeling refreshed. Here is our “to do” list once the alarm clock has rung:
- Do not hit the snooze button: As tempting as it is, don’t do it! It will just prolong the challenge of getting up and will not contribute to you getting any additional, quality sleep. It will also make it more difficult for you to get into your morning groove.
- Reward yourself for waking up on time: find a few minutes for a morning routine that makes you happy: a few sun salutations, some light stretching, or even a cup of your favorite coffee. Having something that you love to look forward to makes getting out of bed a little easier.
- Expose yourself to natural light: if you can find the time, try to squeeze in a walk outside. The natural light will help your body and mind to regulate your sleep/wake cycle according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
Daytime dos and don’ts
A few small changes made throughout the day can help you get a good night’s sleep which is key to making morning wake-up an easier and more pleasant experience. Here are 3 tips that we love:
- Exercise (but not too late in the day): regular exercise increases energy levels and promotes better sleep which makes waking up way easier. Go to the gym, take a walk, go for a hike, bike ride, swim… do what makes you happy! All movement is good!
- Cut the caffeine early: many of us are much more sensitive to caffeine than we realize. The American Sleep Association recommends stopping caffeine consumption around lunch time (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate). This can make falling asleep easier and make sleep quality better.
- Avoid alcohol at least 4 hours before bed: although it can feel like it puts you to sleep, alcohol is actually a sleep disrupter. For a good night’s sleep, drink alcohol in moderation, not too close to bedtime.
Fall asleep faster and sleep better
For all of the night owls who struggle with sleep deprivation, here are some soothing bedtime activities to help you fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly so that you don’t need to dread the sound of the alarm clock in the morning:
- Try to stick to a regular bedtime, even on the weekend: this will help your body get into a routine and make waking up easier.
- Plan: plan your outfit, plan your breakfast, plan your activities for the next day. Do anything that you can to streamline the morning’s tasks and reduce stress.
- Journal: start a gratitude journal to focus on and embrace the good in your life. Studies have shown that focussing on gratitude can reduce negative thoughts and help improve quality of sleep. Click here to learn more about gratitude journalling.
- Soak in a warm bath: turn down the lights, light some candles and scent your warm bath with lavender or chamomile aromatherapy oil to promote sleepiness. You can slip on your comfy Nuknuuk slippers when you’re done.
- Meditate: We know that the idea of meditation can be daunting. Many of us feel that we’re just not “the meditation type”. However, meditation is becoming more accessible and more importantly, better adapted to all sorts of needs and personalities. Apps like Headspace and Calm offer free 7-day trials that can help ease you into the practice.
- Try a weighted blanket: according to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, weighted blankets can help reduce stress and anxiety. The added weight of the blanket feels like a big, cuddly hug which can activate the parasympathetic nervous system to promote relaxation, rest and sleep.
- Unplug: many of us stay zoomed in on our screens until bedtime which can rob us of quality sleep. For more regenerative, restful sleep, try replacing before bed screen-time with relaxing activities like reading or listening to your favorite podcast. We’re currently loving Sporkful and Modern Love. You can even set a podcast sleep timer for 15 or 20 minutes if listening relaxes you and puts you to sleep.
And finally, our last and most important piece of advice is to be kind to yourself when trying to implement any of these changes. Give yourself time to integrate new habits and try to find fun activities that bring you happiness.
Wishing you peaceful, sleep-filled nights and easy, joyful mornings!