Rise and Shine: 10 Tips to Make Waking Up Easier

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Not everyone wakes up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy. In fact, lots of folks struggle to get out of bed for all sorts of reasons. But fear not! Here are 10 tips to help you wake up more easily.

10 Ways to Wake Up Easier

These 10 tips can make waking up easier:

  1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
  2. Fill your room with natural light.
  3. Listen to music.
  4. Take a cold shower.
  5. Eat a nutritious breakfast.
  6. Get moving with physical activity on the reg.
  7. Try an alarm app.
  8. Get an alarm clock.
  9. Have a nightly routine.
  10. Don’t hit the snooze button.

Why is Waking Up Hard?

There’s a reason why waking up is tough. When you first wake up, your body is in a state of sleep inertia. Your brain is adjusting to being alert. During this time you will have impaired sensory-motor and cognitive performance. This can make you feel drowsy, groggy, and unmotivated. 

Sleep inertia usually lasts around 15 minutes and doesn’t usually persist for more than 30 minutes, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, it can be longer if you’re sleep deprived.

Tips to Wake Up More Easily 

Here are the details on those tips to help you make the most of your mornings.

1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule

The CDC recommends you go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This is called good sleep hygiene. Keeping things consistent can help regulate your body’s internal clock which plays a key role in the sleep-wake cycle. This routine can help you feel sleepy at night and more motivated in the morning.

It’s also important to get enough sleep. Most people need between seven and nine of sleep per night. But work with your doctor to determine how much you specifically need.

2. Let the light in

Your body produces more melatonin in the dark. This helpful hormone regulates the sleep-wake cycle and promotes sleep. Exposure to sunlight can help slow melatonin production which might help you wake up.

In addition to sunlight, you might have some luck with blue light. Studies show blue light exposure during the day can promote alertness and improve sleep quality at night

3. Listen to music

Pump up the volume on your favorite music in the morning. It’s a great way to kickstart the day and stimulate your mind. Just note that not all music is the same. A calming classical tune might not have the same effect as an energetic pop song.

Pro tip: Some alarms or apps let you select the type of music you want to use.

4. Take a cold shower

Taking a cool or cold shower as soon as you wake up can make you more alert. During a 2016 study, participants were asked to take a shower at their normal temperature, but to turn the water cold for the last 30 to 90 seconds. Some folks said the cold water gave them an energy boost on par with the effects of caffeine. 

5. Eat a nutritious breakfast

Yep, even food relates to sleep. Some research suggests that regularly eating breakfast can increase alertness and improve mood. There’s also some evidence that shows skipping breakfast can mess with your sleep-wake cycle.

FYI: The CDC recommends a balanced diet full of fruit, protein, whole grains, and veggies. So it might be a good idea to include these types of foods in your breakfast.

6. Move your body on the reg

Getting some exercise boasts a bunch of perks, including better sleep. Exercise can help you fall asleep faster which might help you wake up more refreshed. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests moving your body at least 30 minutes a day five days a week.

Keep in mind that heavy exercise right before bed might keep you awake. Instead, stick to gentle exercise like yoga or stretching.

7. Try an alarm app

Alarm apps are where it’s at. You can find lots of affordable (or free!) options for iOS or Android. Many have cool features like:

  • multiple alarms
  • sleep tracking and analysis
  • customizable music or alarm sounds
  • challenges that make you get out of bed

8. Get an alarm clock

Using your phone as an alarm can be super convenient. But it can also increase your chances of staying up doom-scrolling instead of sleeping.

That said, it might be a good idea to keep your cell phone in another room before bed. You can find lots of modern alarm clocks with all sorts of dope features in stores or online.

9. Have a nightly routine 

A steady nightly routine can make for better sleep and stress-free wakeups. Here are some tips:

  • Read a book
  • Drink sleepy tea
  • Try aromatherapy
  • Take a warm bath
  • Prep your breakfast
  • Lay out tomorrow’s clothes
  • Make a to-do list for tomorrow
  • Stretch or do a light yoga session
  • Dim the lights and avoid screens for an hour before you want to fall asleep

10. Don’t hit the snooze button

You might want to think twice before slapping the snooze button. While an extra few minutes with Mr. Sandman sounds appealing, disrupted sleep doesn’t boast the same benefits as uninterrupted sleep. Additionally, a 2017 study found that sleep disruption can increase stress and reduce quality of life.

Instead of snoozing, you might want to set your alarm a little later. You can also motivate yourself to get up by placing your alarm farther away from your bed.

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

There’s no one-size-fits-all amount of sleep you should get. Some researchers say 7 to 9 hours is optimal for healthy adults. But a lot depends on your age and other health factors. This is what the CDC recommends:

AgeHours of sleep per day
0–3 months14–17
4–12 months12–16
1–2 years11–14
3–5 years10–13
6–12 years9–12
13–18 years8–10
18–60 years7 or more
61–64 years7–9
65 years and older7–8

Takeaway

Waking up can be a big bummer. It takes up to 30 minutes for your brain to shake off the sleep inertia. The good news is that there are lots of easy ways you can make your mornings less stressful. 

It might take some trial and error, but you’ll eventually find the right routine for your unique needs. 

If you find that you have trouble falling asleep or waking up and can’t seem to shake it, definitely check in with your doctor to rule out any health issues.

Sources

Buijze GA, et al. (2016). The effect of cold showering on health and work: A randomized controlled trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27631616/ 

Choi K, et al. (2019). Awakening effects of blue-enriched morning light exposure on university students’ physiological and subjective responses. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30674951/ 

Circadian rhythms. (n.d.).  https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/fact-sheets/Pages/circadian-rhythms.aspx 

Figuerio MG, et al. (2017). The impact of daytime light exposures on sleep and mood in office workers. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28526259/ 

Gwin J, et al. (2019). Breakfast habits are associated with mood, sleep quality, and daily food intake in healthy adults (OR08-02-19).  https://academic.oup.com/cdn/article/3/Supplement_1/nzz050.OR08-02-19/5516614 

Gwin JA, et al. (2018). Breakfast consumption augments appetite, eating behavior, and exploratory markers of sleep quality compared with skipping breakfast in healthy young adults. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30402594/ 

Healthy eating for a healthy weight. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/index.html 

Hilditch CJ, et al. (2019). Sleep inertia: current insights. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6710480/ 

Hirshkowitz M, et al. (2015). National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. https://www.sleephealthjournal.org/article/S2352-7218(15)00015-7/fulltext 

How much physical activity should your family get? (n.d.). https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/get-active/physical-activity-guidelines.htm 

How much sleep do I need? (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html 

Medic G, et al. (2017). Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28579842/ 

NIOSH training for nurses on shift work and long work hours. (n.d.).  https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/work-hour-training-for-nurses/longhours/mod7/03.html

Tips for better sleep. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html