Dappled sunlight, a fresh morning breeze, a peaceful quiet. Early mornings sound dreamy—right up until you’re faced with the reality of prying yourself out of a warm cozy bed. Whether you’re a night owl with a 9-5 or a parent trying to steal a bit of quiet time, you may be looking for ways to make those AM wakeups a little more bearable. Luckily, we’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you rise and shine.
1) Skip the snooze
Ever set your alarm for an ambitious wake-up time only to find yourself hitting the snooze button once or twice (or five times)? The snooze cycle is tempting, but the fragmented sleep you’re getting in between alarms will likely leave you feeling groggier. Instead, set realistic wake-up times and leave your phone out of arm’s reach. You’ll get a lot more from that last hour of sleep.
2) Let the light in
Morning rays are one of the most powerful wakeup cues. Natural light releases a cocktail of energizing hormones including dopamine and cortisol. Just as these wakeup hormones are on the rise, sunlight also prompts your body to stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin. So to kickstart your body first thing, open your shades, take a walk around the block, or find a sunny spot in your home to soak in the morning sun. If you’re up before sunrise (looking at you, Daylight Savings), consider investing in a therapy lamp that’s designed to mimic natural light.
3) Make a ritual
In the same way a nightly routine helps your body wind down, a morning routine can help promote wakefulness. You want it to be something you can replicate each day, so start small. Choose activities that involve mindfulness or movement that can help boost your energy and prepare you for the day.
Your morning routine could be as simple as making a cup of coffee and going for a brisk walk or taking 5 minutes to stretch before you brush your teeth. Whatever you decide to include in your routine, make sure it’s an activity you enjoy—you might even start looking forward to those early mornings!
4) Set the temp on a timer
Nothing like snuggling under some warm blankets when there’s a chill in the air, right? While a cooler room makes for a more restful sleep, turning down the temp too much can make it harder to peel yourself out of bed in the mornings. Our body temperatures also tend to be lower in the morning, leaving you more likely to wake up cold.
Set your thermostat on a timer so that the room warms up around the same time you plan to get out of bed. If you don’t have a fancy thermostat, consider filling a thermos with hot water before you go to bed. Keep it on your nightstand so you can wake up, warm up and part ways with your comforter.
5) Keep it consistent
Commit to waking up and going to bed at the same time every day. It seems trivial, but it can make a big difference in how you feel in the morning (and how easily you’ll be able to fall asleep at night). Your body has an internal clock, called your circadian rhythm, that follows a ~24-hour cycle and determines when you feel drowsy and wakeful. Melatonin production revs up about 14 hours after you wake. So, rising at the same time each day will help you fall asleep at the same time every night. This will ensure you get adequate zzz’s so you can wake feeling rested.
Allie has a master’s in nutrition science from Framingham State University. She has worked as a Health Educator and Personal Trainer, and has a passion for helping people lead happier, healthier lives.