Waking up is hard—especially in my world. It doesn’t matter if I’ve gained an hour due to daylight saving time ending (yay!) or I’ve slept 4-14 hours (yes, it has been done); I always feel like I’m fighting an invisible beast just to get up from the bed. Now, there are certainly many factors that affect ultimate sleep quality and your ability to wake rested (nutrition, activity level, physical surroundings, etc.) but today’s post is less about that and more about our senses, and how practical tools can make waking up easier. You don’t want anything to get in the way of that morning workout! Or just starting your day in a positive light. If you’re like me, try them all. And please share your own tips, if you have ‘em. I can use all the help I can get.
Sight: Sunrise Alarm Clock
Putting your alarm clock across the room so you can’t reach it from your prone position is a common recommendation, but frankly, that just makes me mad. My body isn’t ready to get up and move that quickly, so I’ve tested other routes for a more gradual awakening. Light definitely helps. Most of the year, you can keep your blinds partially open, so that light can come in gradually; when the alarm(s) does go off, it’s easier to register what’s happening. Fast forward to fall and winter though, when it’s so dark that there’s no natural light when you need it. Natural Sunlight Alarm Clocks can do the job instead. A gradual progression of light is emitted, just like a real sunrise. Some also have the sunset option, to help your body wind down at night.
Smell: Essential Oil Aromatherapy
If lavender and chamomile soothe, why not use your olfactory system to become alert? Another out-of-the-ordinary alarm clock is the Peaceful Progression Alarm Clock, which uses timed aromatherapy emissions as well as light and noise to wake you. That may not be a quick and cheap solution for most people, but essential oils can be. Lemon, lime, grapefruit, juniper, and ginger are all known to have energizing properties, while rosemary, basil, black pepper, and peppermint help mental clarity. Fight your morning drag with a timed diffuser, personal aromatherapy inhaler, roll-on aromatherapy device, candle, or even a scented tissue to sniff. Just be careful when mixing your own essential oils; they’re powerfully concentrated and can be dangerous to your skin and children.
Note: If you’re interested in the fancy alarm clock route, there are many more inventive (and painful-sounding!) alarm clocks on the market, if you want to get creative. Strobe light or sonic boom, anyone?!
Touch: Activity Tracker Alarm Vibration
Raise your hand if you have more than one alarm clock. How about three? (No one I know.) If not, add one, because all that work enacting multiple snoozes will get you up and functioning sooner. The alarm on your wearable tech is a great addition for many reasons: 1) You can set it to react within a window, rather than an exact time, to respond to your sleep patterns and find moments of lighter sleep. 2) The tracking of sleep patterns allows you to see what else may be affecting your rough morning state—like a restless night. 3) It’s physically attached to you, so the vibrate function acts like a soft jolt that’s somewhat jarring in a totally different way than sound. And 4) Since it’s attached to you, it can’t be easily lost under the covers or tossed across the room like a phone. Focusing enough to connect with the thin device to turn it off also is a lot harder than smacking your alarm clock! Just sayin’.
Sound: Change Up Your Wake-Up Tune
Generally speaking, patterns are great for promoting good solid sleep. But just like smells can evoke certain feelings, so can sound. So while that classic alarm clock sound might be piercing and do its job for most, it can illicit annoyance, not action, in others. Try playing around with your phone (or clock’s) audio options. And don’t keep it consistent. Jumping between music, talk radio, and random chimes could be just what you need to surprise yourself into an awake brain.
If All Else Fails, Drink Some Good Ol’ H20
Ok, this is a little silly. But as your resident AM-struggler, I feel it’s only fair that I reveal all my tricks. If you’re as morning-adverse as I, and have tried the above hacks, drink some water before you go to bed. Now, I’m not talking a lot, because you don’t want to purposefully send yourself to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But if you can determine the right amount (say, half a glass?) getting up is a touch easier when you have some extra encouragement.