Sometimes, waking up in the morning really stinks. It can be hard to muster the force of will to get out from under your cozy nest of covers, where everything is soft and warm and the livin’ is easy. But there’s good news! Even if you’re not a morning person, there are some tricks that can make it easier to wake up and hop out of bed.
12 Tips for Waking Up More Easily
- Make it hard to turn off your alarm
- Let there be light
- Get sweaty
- Treat yourself
- Pump up the caffeine
- Eat up
- Calculate how much sleep you need
- Make sure you have the best pillow and mattress
- Respect your bedtime
- Avoid alcohol
- Talk to your doctor about melatonin
- Lay off the naps
The most important thing you can do to help yourself wake up in the mornings is to make sure you’re well-rested in the first place. You need a healthy sleep routine to prepare for a good night’s sleep. If you don’t have a good sleep regimen currently in place, don’t lose heart. The process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Even small changes to your sleep habits can make waking up in the morning easier – and more pleasant. The bottom line is that the better rested you are, the easier it usually is to wake up every morning. You owe it to yourself to make the necessary effort to get the best sleep you can.
How Does Your Body Wake You Up?
Brain chemicals and neural circuitry are the key players for getting your body ready to rise and shine every day. When everything is working like a well-oiled machine, our bodies start to “rev up” roughly an hour or two before we actually wake up. That’s the circadian rhythm, which makes us wired for wakefulness during the day. At this point, sleep-inducing brain chemicals like adenosine start to drop, and the brain gets a heavy dose of wake-up chemicals, like the ACTH hormone and cortisol. Blood pressure and body temperature begin to rise. The hypothalamus also stops producing melatonin and increases the production of vasopressin and noradrenaline, which are other brain chemicals that help control our sleep cycles.
Without an alarm or some other outside means of waking yourself up, the end of sleep typically comes after a REM period. Sometimes, waking up might naturally happen during a period of light sleep. When a person is in a normal routine with a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, awakening doesn’t happen during deep, REM sleep. When a sleeper is artificially jolted out of the REM cycle, it can be very difficult to fully awaken. This is why it’s so important to get into a good sleep routine.
It’s important to note that people naturally wake up at different rates. Some people automatically bounce right out of bed, while others have to make an effort. Once we’re out of bed, we’re bombarded with stimuli from the environment and from within our own bodies that signal our brain to stay awake.
Why is it Hard to Wake Up?
The reasons why it can be hard to wake up depends on a lot of different factors. Most of the time, problems waking up are caused by poor sleep habits. If it’s super difficult to drag yourself out of bed, you’re probably not getting enough sleep, plain and simple. In fact, sleep deprivation is one of the most common causes of difficulty waking. Stress and anxiety are also likely culprits – both make it difficult to fall asleep and can leave you searching for how to get more deep sleep. In any case, you might be forcing yourself out of REM sleep in the morning, which can make you feel groggy and cranky.
Sometimes, it’s easy for our internal rhythms to be out of sync with our daily lives. This is called phase delay. For example, your job might require you to be at your desk at 7:30 a.m., but your inner clock is wired to feel best when you wake up at 9 a.m. So, you’re not going to feel your best when the alarm goes off at 6 a.m. You can reset that internal clock by figuring out how much sleep you need and determining a better bedtime.
Consistency is Key
To maintain your internal rhythm, it’s important to be consistent. This means you should wake up at the same time each day – even on the weekends. If you sleep in on Saturday without setting an alarm, your body can revert to its natural circadian rhythm and you’ll have to start over.
It’s no surprise that phase delay is pretty common among those who work shift-related jobs, which includes up to 25 percent of the U.S. population.
Sometimes, difficulty waking might also be related to a sleep disorder or other health condition – there are plenty of treatments for those, too, but you’ll need to visit with your doctor. Sleep apnea, for example, can prevent you from getting the restful sleep you need. Other sleep disorders that can disrupt your sleep and make it hard to wake up include parasomnias, night terrors, sleepwalking, depression, and certain medications. You might need to participate in a sleep study to get a full picture of what happens to your body throughout the night and whether you have a more serious sleep disorder to manage.
But even if you’re as healthy as a horse, we all deal with “sleep inertia.” Our brains can’t immediately make the jump from sleep to fully alert wakefulness. We all need time to wake up. For most people, it takes 15-30 minutes to fully overcome the effects of sleep inertia. For some people, however, it takes longer. We don’t know why we’re wired this way, but some scientists think it might have something to do with the fact that different centers of the brain take different amounts of time to fully wake up.
12 Tips for Waking Up More Easily
If you’ve worn out your snooze button and are sick of feeling like a morning zombie, try a few of the tips we have listed here. You may not jump for joy when the alarm goes off every morning, but you might find it at least a little bit easier to get up and at ‘em every day.
1. Make it Hard to Turn Off Your Alarm
It’s way too easy to hit the snooze button multiple times if your alarm clock sits right next to you on your bedside table. But if you move that alarm clock across the room, it’s not so easy. You have to physically get up out of bed to turn off its annoying buzzing or beeping or other nonsense, and this can help ensure that you get up at the same time every day.
Avoiding the snooze button can help set your internal clock, otherwise known as your circadian rhythm, which eventually makes it easier to get up in the morning. That habitual snoozing leads to sleep fragmentation – which can lead to daytime grogginess, decreased focus and concentration, and a general feeling of being run down.
2. Let There Be Light
When it comes to waking up, light can be your best friend. In fact, the faster you can let in the light, the better off you’ll be. Open the blinds. Turn on the light. Step outside if you can or even go for a short walk. You might even think about sleeping with your blinds open so that the morning sun can help wake you up. Light serves to get your brain going and can help encourage your circadian rhythm to stay on track. Some people find a sun lamp to be helpful, especially if they’re dealing with seasonal affective disorder. It can help you feel more awake and improve your overall mood. Light is a great way to drive out the morning blahs.
3. Get Sweaty
A morning workout – even a quick one – can get your blood flowing and help you feel energized for the day. A few jumping jacks or a brisk walk around the neighborhood is often enough to help you feel wide awake. People who work out in the morning usually have less trouble falling asleep at night. This, in turn, helps make waking up in the morning even easier. It’s the best kind of vicious cycle. A morning exercise session will help you feel alert – not only in the moment but also for several hours afterward, so you can say goodbye to the dreadful mid-morning slump. Keep in mind that your workout doesn’t have to be intense. Even a round of stretching can make you feel more awake and ready to face the day.
4. Treat Yourself
It’s easy for the mornings to become an unpleasant scramble as you get ready for your day. But if you can fit in time for a small treat, that’s a great incentive to get up and out of bed. Find something you really enjoy that you can make time for in the morning, like going for a walk, enjoying a leisurely breakfast, reading your favorite novel, or enjoying the morning newspaper.
If you can look forward to your first activity of the day, it makes getting out of bed that much easier. Things that bring you pleasure or excitement can go a long way toward waking up your brain and getting you ready to face the day.
Some morning risers even enjoy cranking up their favorite tunes and having a dance party first thing – we dare you to try it and not get into a good mood. You also can light a scented candle or diffuse your favorite energizing essential oil to make you feel pampered and comforted during your first few minutes awake.
5. Pump Up the Caffeine
Save the decaf for later in the day. That first, delicious, caffeine-filled cup of coffee can increase your levels of serotonin and dopamine, which gives you energy, increases focus, and boosts your overall mood. These are all good things. Folks who regularly drink coffee are much less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t. If you’re not a fan of coffee, you can also try black or green tea – both can give you a little caffeine boost to get you going, and tea has other healthy compounds that are good for your overall health.
If you’re a walking zombie in the morning, you might want to prep your morning coffee the night before, so that all you have to do in the morning is press a button for fragrant, hot, delicious happiness. Or make good use of that fancy programmable coffee machine and set it to have your coffee hot and ready to lure you out of bed. Make sure to get your caffeine fix early in the day, though. If you consume caffeine in the late afternoon or evening, it may keep you from falling asleep.
Here’s another pro tip: If you drink a small glass of water before your first cup of coffee, you’ll help your body rehydrate and jump-start your metabolism. Win-win. Plus, staying hydrated during the day will help you sleep better. Dehydration can lead to throbbing morning headaches, which can make getting out of bed feel nearly impossible.
6. Eat Up
Even if you don’t love the thought of food first thing in the morning, a small breakfast can fuel your body and help you wake up. Try to lean toward protein – like an egg with a piece of whole-grain toast or a cup of yogurt with berries. Breakfast can help you focus and can signal to your body that it’s time to wake up and start the day – it can do wonders for your circadian rhythm. Too many people skip breakfast, but eating breakfast can help you out more than you may realize. In addition to helping you wake up, a healthy breakfast helps regulate your blood sugar, improves heart health, and boosts your immunity.
Speaking of eating, an overall healthy diet supports healthy sleep, while a lot of heavy, fatty, greasy foods can make you feel sluggish throughout the day. Be smart about your diet and try to eat foods that increase your energy – like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Calculate How Much Sleep You Need
How much sleep do you need? You can figure this out! It’s important to know yourself and how much sleep you need in order to plan your bedtime routine and sleep schedule. It’s all about the circadian rhythm – if you can figure out your body’s internal clock, you can use it to your advantage. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep a night to feel their best. Try to experiment to find your sweet spot. You may even want to use a sleep app to help you track your best sleep and pinpoint an ideal bedtime and ideal waking time. Once you know how much sleep is best for your body and you have an ideal waking time, you can count backward to determine what time you need to go to bed every night to make it all work.
8. Make Sure You Have the Best Pillow and Mattress
We can’t overstate the importance of having the right level of support and comfort from both your mattress and your pillow. When you sleep comfortably, your level of restorative sleep can improve. Having a great night’s sleep makes it much easier to wake up in the morning.
On the other hand, an uncomfortable mattress or unsupportive pillow is a recipe for a bad time. gnarly and non-restorative night’s sleep. It’s a good idea to evaluate your mattress every few years. If it isn’t meeting your needs, you might want to consider replacing it. Also, make sure that your pillow is supporting your head and neck in a neutral position for the best night’s sleep. Hint: We think Purple’s mattresses and pillows are the very best for giving you a great night’s sleep!
9. Respect Your Bedtime
For many people, “bedtime” is a loose suggestion, not something they regularly follow. But making sure to turn in at the same time every night is an important step. You might even think about setting a “bedtime alarm” that functions just like your wake-up alarm. If you have problems waking up in the morning, turn your bedtime into an important ritual – complete with a warm bath or shower, turning off electronic devices, dimming the lights, and lowering your thermostat. This signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and get ready for a great night’s sleep.
You might also meditate and do some stretches or light yoga to help power down. This can also help with any stress or anxiety that is making it difficult to fall asleep. Speaking of stress and anxiety – don’t check your email, start a work project, or get into a heated discussion with your partner before bedtime. These things can just amp you up and make it more difficult to fall asleep, which will just make it harder to wake up in the morning. If it helps you relax, try some light reading – just don’t get so engrossed in it that you end up staying awake too late.
Having a consistent bedtime is one of the most important things you can do to protect your sleep quality. And once you settle on a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, make sure to stick to them – even on weekends and vacation days.
10. Avoid Alcohol
It may be tempting to turn to a nightcap to help wind down after a stressful day. You may start to feel sleepy but that drowsy effect probably won’t last. Drinking alcohol within two hours of going to sleep can actually make it harder to stay asleep or achieve REM sleep, which is the deepest and most restorative kind of sleep. Drinking alcohol before bedtime can also make it harder to wake up the next morning since it can make you feel groggy, dehydrated, and out of sorts. One drink with dinner shouldn’t hurt but be careful not to overdo it or you’ll disrupt your sleep schedule.
11. Talk to Your Doctor About Melatonin
Melatonin is a brain chemical that can help keep your body’s internal clock on the right path. An increase in melatonin is a key signal for your body that it’s time for night-night. If you’re off-schedule because of travel or other complications, or just seem to have trouble dozing off – a small dose of melatonin may be just what you need. Talk to your doctor to find out if melatonin supplements can help you maintain a regular sleep schedule.
12. Lay Off the Naps
Naps are amazing – unless you have trouble falling asleep and waking up in the morning. If afternoon naps are wrecking your sleep schedule, it’s best to avoid them. Don’t give in to feelings of daytime drowsiness so you can get back on a regular schedule that lets you fall asleep and wake up easily. Remember the circadian rhythm? A nap can completely throw it off.
How to Wake Up in the Morning
You might not naturally be a morning person, but the good news is that you don’t have to be. With a little advance planning and a few tweaks to your sleeping schedule, you can get to a point where getting out of bed isn’t the worst part of your day. It’s possible to train yourself to wake more easily in the morning. Try a few of the suggestions here and see if they make a difference in how you feel waking up every morning. With a little effort, you can make your morning routine less painful, so you feel better during the day and sleep better at night.