Want to bounce out of bed in the mornings? An astonishing 21% of adults get less than six hours of sleep each night, making it hard from them to be a morning person, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Studies have shown that morning people are happier and more productive, so we’ve rounded up ten simple tips to help you become one.
RESCU consulted Psychological Therapist Annie Gurton, and Fitness Expert and Personal Trainer Sally Matterson for their expert tips on how to be a morning person, and to improve sleeping patterns for a more energetic and productive day.
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1. Avoid chocolate, coffee and red wine in the evening hours. These foods have been known to disturb sleep patterns and digestive tracts, making it harder to get a solid night’s sleep and wake up on time.
2. Have an early dinner. Make sure dinnertime meals are finished before 7pm or at least 3 hours before bedtime – there’s no need to load up on energy right before you go to sleep!
3. Have a night-time routine. Once a more concrete sleep cycle has been established, creating a nightly routine can help prepare the body for rest. ‘Go to bed at the same time every night,’ says Annie Gurton. ‘Get up at the same time every morning, regardless of what sort of night you have had.’
Sally Matterson agrees, saying, ‘Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Seems simple but the more we get our body clock into routine the better our bodies will function. If you are a shift work worker invest in an eye mask and again try to adapt the same sleeping pattern daily.’
4. Keep the lights off. Rays of light from night lights, hall lights, bathroom lights or even the TV can disturb a natural sleep pattern. ‘Sleep in a Dark Room or a bat cave,’ says Sally Matterson. ‘This will regulate hormones that are responsible for fat loss and mood.’
5. Swallow an alarm clock. Believe it or not, a revolutionary new pill has come out that claims to assist you to wake up. The Wake Up On Time tablets by Rise n Shine are taken six to eight hours before you would like to wake.
6. Relax. Turning the mind off at night is an important component of quality sleep. Yoga and meditation can help turn the mind off after an action packed day.
‘Most of us can manage on less sleep than we think we need, but stressing about not getting enough sleep is not helpful.’ Says Annie Gurton. ‘Accept that a normal nights sleep comprises several stages including phases of light restless sleep. In days before electricity people would often go to bed earlier and get up in the night with candles for a couple of hours, then have a ‘second sleep’. The wakeful period in the middle of the night is called ‘Grandmothers Time’ because traditionally its then that Grandmother would wander the house, tidying, ironing and preparing food.
7. Establish a sleep cycle, and pay attention to your body. It’s important to know when the body gets tired and be able to adjust.
8. Exercise in the morning. Exercising at night can release endorphins that can keep the body awake for longer periods of time. Releasing these endorphins in the morning or during the day can help give the body more energy when it’s needed most.
9. Read a book. Watching TV in bed can sometimes stimulate the mind so choose something that will wear the mind out, like reading. ‘If you wake and clearly are not going to get back to sleep (give it ten minutes) then get up and read the most boring book you can find for up to 90 minutes,’ says Annie Gurton. ‘If you do not feel ready for sleep again then go back to bed anyway and try again.
10. Close your eyes. This may seem obvious, but many of us lie awake at night staring at the ceiling. Sometimes the first step to falling asleep is closing your eyes and allowing yourself to rest.