Waking up early in the morning can be a boon or bane depending on which camp you belong to: The Early Riser or The Snoozer. While the former is often labelled as the "successful" group, Snoozers can still make the most out of their mornings.
Here's a four-step process to make separating yourself from your comfortable bed every morning a less tedious task.
1. Adjust your Sleep Cycle to 90-minute periods
Think about sleeping in windows of 90-minutes instead of trying to approach it as a full eight-hour sleep. Sleep actually runs in 90-minute cycles instead of one long period throughout and it's best to wake up at the end of one complete cycle. According to sleep expert and clinical psychologist Michael Breus, “You’ll be in a lighter stage of sleep at that point, which is easier to rouse yourself from,” Breus says. On average, the general population is best served by getting either six hours or seven and a half hours a night, he says, as eight would place you outside of the 90-minute interval.
2. Put some distance between your alarm clock and your bed
Doctors typically advocate movement and light stretching right after you wake up. If this sounds like an arduous task for your sleepy-eyed self, place your alarm clock far away so that a walk will be required for you to turn off that blaring alarm in the morning.
Alternatively, get a wake-up buddy to call you every morning. You'll be more receptive to waking up early if you hear a familiar morning voice.
3. Drink a glass of water
Your body is naturally dehydrated after a night’s rest. According to Breus, “Your body breathes out one litre of water a night and you need to replace that first.”
Instead of heading straight for the coffee pot, knock back a glass of water first and see if that doesn’t get your engine going in the morning!
4. Use power naps to re-energise
There will be times when we find ourselves being guilty of not giving our bodies enough shut-eye. However, this sleep debt can be addressed with power naps.
“It’s good to think about your weekly sleep cycle need - five cycles a night would be 35 over a seven-day week," says Littlehales. “If you know you’re going to have some late nights and might feel tired, you could try and schedule in a nap on the weekend.”
You could give yourself a full 90-minute nap to get a full cycle in, but 30 minutes can be enough to provide refreshment, he says. “It’s far better to do this than to try and go back to sleep in the morning. You’ll be in a better place for starting the week again.”
Getting the first worm is more than just about getting up at the crack of dawn – hitting the sack at an appropriate time also plays a big part in determining just how well you’ll function in the morning. A sleep cycle can easily turn vicious if bad habits are allowed to take root, so it is important to be consistent in your practice when it comes to managing sleep. You don’t get to earn your wings without first putting in the work!