I know that personally, I find it nearly impossible to get out of bed most mornings. No matter what time I went to bed the night before, or how many hours of sleep I get, I refuse to feel fully awake until about 2 p.m.
As an adult with a job and responsibilities though, sleeping in every day just isn't possible. If it were up to me, I would choose to be a morning person. I would wake up at 6 a.m. every day, make a healthy breakfast, hit the gym, get ready, and go to work looking and feeling great. Instead, I sleep as long as I can, rush out the door with a granola bar in hand and spend the rest of the day feeling gross and sluggish.
Because I don't want to continue this pattern, I've decided to do some research on what I can do to become a better morning person! Here's what I found:
1. Set a consistent bed/wake up time.
It turns out that this is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you feel well rested every night! Firstly, you want to determine what time you need to wake up in order to get where you need to be on time, then subtract the number of hours of sleep you need; ideally you should be getting 7-8 hours, but that's not always possible. Once you've determined your bed/wake up time, you need to stick to that consistently so your body can adjust and learn to work on that schedule.
2. Establish a pre-bedtime routine.
By doing the same thing every night before bed, your body learns to wind down and get ready to sleep while doing these things! Some people suggest taking a warm shower and meditating, but other great things to do include reading, writing, or tidying up your room!
3. Limit screen use close to bedtime.
I know I'm super guilty of this, and it probably explains why I have such a hard time getting to sleep. When I'm in bed, I'll be playing on my phone and watching a movie while waiting to fall asleep, but that's one of the worst things you can do, according to experts. It's recommended that you avoid the use of any screens/white light for 30 minutes before bed time to not only help you sleep sooner, but to also improve the quality of your sleep.
4. Find an alarm system that works for you.
Many of us use our cellphones as alarm clocks, simply because they're so convienent. This is my alarm of choice, but I'm for sure guilty of hitting the snooze button a lot more frequently than I should. There are a variety of apps designed to combat this problem though! Spin Cycle forces you to get up and spin in circles in order for the alarm to shut off, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock will estimate your sleep stage and attempt to wake you up during lighter cycles, among others!
5. Sleep in a pitch black room.
If any light creeps into your room, whether it be from electronics, or outside sources, it can be impossible to sleep at times. Investing in black out curtains and ensuring that all electronics are turned off or set to 'Do Not Disturb' before bed can help to combat this.
6. Avoid naps whenever possible.
If you absolutely HAVE to nap, keep it to a maximum of 15-20 minutes. By taking naps throughout the day, you decrease your sleep debt, which is necessary for falling asleep at a normal time at night. The nap may feel good in the moment, but you'll for sure regret it when you can't sleep at 3 a.m.
7. Avoid stimulants in the late afternoon.
I read somewhere once that you should never have caffiene past 2 p.m., as it will keep you up all night. Unless it's absolutely necessary, you should try to avoid consuming things like coffee, energy drinks, and pop in the late afternoon if you want to go to sleep at a reasonable time. Find other things to keep you awake, like going for a quick walk, or stretching.
8. Invest in a fan to keep your room cool.
I recently did this, and I have to admit that it's improved the quality of my sleep. I definitely prefer to be warm while sleeping, but having the fan going and wrapping up in some blankets is a lot better than sweating all night and having a restless sleep due to a super hot room!
9. Use your bed for sleep only.
I'm giving you this advice as I'm writing from my own bed, how ironic. It's recommended that you use your bed for sleep purposes only; not reading, working, or watching TV. If you use your bed for things other than sleep, you'll begin to subconsciously associate your bed with wakefulness, and find it harder to get to sleep!