Tips to Get You out of Bed in the Morning
Unless you're a morning lark, chances are you aren't springing out of bed and applauding the a.m. hours--at least not until you've tapped the snooze button a few too many times.
Don't Skimp On Sleep
The cardinal rule for morning larks and night owls alike: Get a full night's sleep.
According to the National Institutes of Health, most healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep to function at their best; some adults may even need as many as 10. Logging less than your body requires can lead to a host of problems, including mistakes on the job, road accidents, reduced immunity, and health conditions such as heart disease.
Avoiding caffeine eight hours before retiring and staying true to a bedtime schedule will help ensure you don't shortchange your sleep time. And because light signals your brain to wake up, not nod off, say goodnight to light sources by turning off the TV, lamps, and computer screen before closing your eyes for the night.
Cover Your Bases
Morning routines don't have to be a tornado of activity. Instead, try setting the stage for calm ahead of time: Pack lunches while you're preparing dinner and store them overnight in the refrigerator. Group breakfast ingredients for easy access the next morning. When laundry day rolls around, pair clothes items together and hang them in the closet as ready-made outfits for the week. Knowing you're organized for the day ahead will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed and cowering under the covers.
Do the Morning Shuffle
Rather than being jolted awake by a buzz, beep, or jarring bass, program your alarm to wake you with a gentler selection. Once you're up and moving, turn up the tempo with songs that will kick your day into gear. Try setting your player on shuffle mode to add some spin to your morning playlist. If you can stave off the suspense, reserve the next morning for a new favorite, you've added to your music library.
Let in the Light
Plants and animals have them. Molds, too. So it's no surprise that we humans have circadian rhythms of our own: In fact, most of us call our natural response to light and dark our internal "body clocks."
Here's how you can help trigger your master clock's wake-up response: In the morning, gravitate to the light. Open the curtains; switch on the lights; enjoy breakfast outside; do some stretching exercises on the lawn; or take a walk around the block. Adopting these activities as morning rituals can focus your energy and motivate you to get moving.
Make Your Bed
Unless HGTV is in town, there's no need to make your bed picture-perfect, but taking half a minute to smooth sheets, pull up blankets, and fluff the pillows may discourage you from climbing back in and rumpling your handiwork.
Add the Element of Surprise
One way to spice up your morning schedule? Surprise yourself with new flavors and scents.
Whether black, green, white, or oolong, tea comes in a spectrum of colors and types. You'll likely discover new favorites by collecting a variety and sampling a different blend each morning. You may even want to create your own tea ceremony by pausing a few minutes to sip slowly and let your mind wander.
If you prefer java, you don't have to be a member of a coffee-of-the-month club to savor a new brew. Be on the lookout for stores and cafes that sell samplers: Mix them up, close your eyes, and pick your potion.
While you're at it, you may want to branch out to breakfast foods you've never tried before. Specialty stores and ethnic markets offer tastes for every palate from all over the world. Just remember that the Mayo Clinic recommends a breakfast of whole grains, low-fat protein, low-fat dairy, and fiber-rich vegetables and fruits.
Of course, you don't have to restrict yourself to the pantry: Even a new sample of specialty soap each week can seem to shorten the distance from the bed to shower.
Slow Down With a Story
Reading a book outside in the fresh air for a few minutes will open a window of serenity in your morning. Or let an audiobook read to you as you get dressed and prepare breakfast. If you'd like to hear what other people are saying about a favorite topic, try plugging into a podcast. Subjects range from education to inspiration and everything in between.
Try this trick: Stop at a plot twist or a line of dialogue that will lure you out of bed the next day.
Get the Joke
Whether it's Peanuts, Dilbert, or The Far Side, looking forward to a little levity over your morning oatmeal will help start the day off on the right foot.
Take Time out to Take Stock
Slowing down, taking a breath, and remembering what is most meaningful to you can help keep you centered and awake to what the day ahead may bring.
Be Alert: Although it may just be a matter of cutting down on excess caffeine before bed, many health conditions can cause daytime fatigue. If you're still sluggish or crave additional sleep despite getting a full night's rest, be sure to see your doctor. For example, depression may be behind tiredness or a lack of energy. Sleep apnea, a disorder of interrupted breathing during sleep, is another common cause of fatigue.