Does a new, earlier schedule have you down? If you dread getting out of bed and head straight for the coffeepot, you may be doing “morning” wrong.
Ideally, humans sleep soundly and wake with little effort. But if that sounds like fantasyland, commit to the following five actions for a few weeks. Once they become habits, your alarm shouldn’t hurt quite so much.
1. Get enough sleep. Common sense? Probably. But the pressure to fight biology is strong in American society. Adults need seven to eight hours per night. Keep a journal for two weeks to see how much sleep helps you feel most rested. Then prioritize bedtime (perhaps even setting a reminder alarm).
2. Sleep/wake consistently. Yes, on weekends, too. Keep “sleeping in” to one to two hours, max. Consistency helps your biological rhythms stay in sync. And while the occasional late night is inevitable, remember that the lag it produces can throw off daytime performance and plan accordingly.
3. Wake up to light. Our bodies use light as a natural alarm. If you rise with the sun, leave the shades open and let the light do its job. If not, consider an alarm that will gently brighten your room when it’s time to get up.
4. Get out of bed. Sure, it’s cozy. But an extra 10-minute snooze won’t make getting up any easier. In fact, research has shown it makes it harder. Put your feet on the floor at the first alarm to feel alert sooner.
5. Eat (a healthy) breakfast. No matter how well you’ve slept, nix breakfast and you may quickly find yourself dragging. Master mornings by skipping refined carbs and leaning toward whole-food protein, fiber, and fat sources such as eggs, yogurt, nuts, seeds, or avocado.