early alarm

Unless you are one of those rare souls who pops out of bed every morning bright eyed and bushy tailed, mornings are tough. They normally involve unhappy groans, groping around for the snooze button, cursing the sunlight and getting out of bed with the greatest reluctance. Even when they are supposedly awake, most people still stumble their way through the morning like zombies consuming copious amounts of coffee, tea or energy drinks. Mornings, however, do not have to be so painful. There is nothing you are likely able to do to change what time you need to be at work, but there are ways to make it easier to get up and go in the mornings.

Get plenty of sleep the night before.

This should be pretty self-explanatory, but far too many people do not seem to make the leap that your behavior the previous evening greatly impacts how you feel the next morning. If you were up into the wee hours of the morning, it is no surprise that you struggle to wake up when your alarm starts blaring. If you want to be awake the next morning without guzzling several gallons of coffee, you need to go to bed at a reasonable time the previous night. The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. To reach this amount of shut eye, set your alarm for the time when you need to be awake and count backwards. If you need to get up at 6:00 a.m. to make it to work on time, you need to go to bed between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

Skip the snooze button.

The snooze button was either a genius invention or the worst addiction to any alarm clock anyone has ever seen. Just about every alarm clock has a snooze button, and it allows people to indulge in bad sleeping habits that keep them from being truly awake in the morning. 

When you hit the snooze button and roll over, you are allowing your body to slip back into sleep. This sounds wonderful and is why many people use the snooze button. The problem with this is that when you doze back off, you are actually starting a whole new sleep cycle, a cycle your body does not have time to complete. This can leave you irritable, on edge and frustrated for the rest of the day. It can also make you even more groggy and less responsive to problems because you actually end up more tired than you would be had you simply gotten out of bed rather than hitting the snooze button.

Eat a healthy breakfast.

Breaking your fast is an important way for the body to recognize that it is morning. A long period of no food followed by something to eat is one of the many interlocked ways that the body identifies day and night. If you are trying to wake up easier in the morning, breakfast is vital. It will give you energy that lasts, assuming you eat a decent breakfast, and thus help you avoid a slump in the mid to late morning. Eating a healthy breakfast also gives you a sharp and sudden burst of energy to help you wake up and get your day started off correctly.

Turn on some music.

Music is a great way to help you wake up in the morning. Quick tempos, upbeat words and a strong bass line will get your head off your pillow in a hurry. Music keeps your focused on the here and now instead of staring blankly into space. It also can be a great way to set the mood for the rest of the day.

Get your blood flowing.

Movement helps wake you up. As such, if you want to have an easier time getting going in the morning, do some form of light exercise first thing in the morning. It could be anything from doing some yoga poses, to doing a set of push-ups to going for a morning run. The key is simply to make yourself move in some way, shape or form. Light exercise will raise your heartrate and body temperature out of the slow beats and low temperature that are associated with sleep and into the land of the waking.

Let the sunlight in.

Your circadian rhythm is largely based on light exposure. When it is dark, your body instinctively prepares for sleep. When it is bright, your body prepares to wake and face the day. To make waking up easier in the morning, open the curtains and blinds in order to let the sunlight inside. This will clue your body in to the fact that it is morning and time to be awake. In the event that your home does not get much direct sunlight or the day is overcast, start the morning with bright, man-made lights. It will not be as effective as sunlight, but the bright lights will still help trigger your body into accepting it is morning and no longer time for sleep.

Use your opposite hand.

Perhaps the fastest way to wake up in the morning is to use your non-dominant hand for your morning tasks. Brush your teeth using the wrong hand, and use your opposite hand to eat breakfast. If you really want a challenge and a quick way to wake up, eat your breakfast using chopsticks held in your non-dominant hand. The brainpower and focus that goes into doing basic tasks with the hand you are not used to using quickly switches your brain over from sleeping mode into daily life mode.

Mornings can be rough, but they do not have to be completely painful. Use a few of these tricks to jumpstart your morning instead of the 55 gallon drum of coffee. It will be healthier, kinder on your wallet and may just work better to trick your brain dealing with mornings rather than waiting helplessly for the caffeine to kick in.
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