Apr 13, 2010

How to Wake Up When You Want To

Sometimes, dragging yourself out of bed in the morning can be the most difficult thing in the world. Frequently, the transition from sleep to waking is forcibly rendered by a loud buzzer and shot of caffeine as you rush out the door. If this sounds like you, don’t worry- here are a few ways you can rise earlier and make morning time more pleasant!

First, let’s investigate a few of the natural processes associated with sleep. As you may have learned, sleep is directed by two important biological rhythms- the ninety-minute cycle and circadian rhythms. These processes make up the ticking of our internal “clock” and affect things like body temperature, attention, memory, and brain wave activity. Basically, the body requires these rhythms to regulate health and cognitive function. Without proper cycling, several negative consequences may occur.

So, sleep is good. But if you’re the kind of person that wears out the “Snooze” button on their alarm clock, then you already knew that. The key is getting enough while maintaining a busy schedule.

Self-discipline is part of the equation. The next time you wake up to find your motivational side arguing with your sleepy side, start small. Wiggle your toes a little bit. Then flex your fingers. Stretch out and try to make your way from under the covers, one body part at a time. Don’t wait until the last moment possible- the time you literally must jump out of bed.

Light can be a great alternative to stimulants in the morning. Try cracking your blinds a bit before falling asleep so sunlight will accompany your alarm- the light will help you produce serotonin, which will give you a boost as you come out of the sleep cycle. Darkness, on the other hand, produces melatonin, which will put you (or keep you) asleep. If your bedroom doesn’t get a lot of light, or you need to wake up before sunrise, try a “sunrise” alarm clock, which is basically a bedside light that slowly gets brighter as the preset time approaches. While expensive, these gadgets will go a long way towards starting your day right.

One final tip- go to bed whenever you’re tired, but wake up at the same time every day. If you aren’t ready to sleep at a specific time in the evening, don’t try to force it. The next morning, however, push yourself to get up at your set time. If your body didn’t go through its rhythms, you’ll probably feel sluggish during the day, but that will put you to sleep earlier at night. The faster your body falls into a pattern, the better you’ll feel. While difficult at first, you eventually won’t even need to look at a clock- you’ll have your own ticking away inside you!

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