Save for a few, very lucky people, most of us are not morning people. The second that alarm goes off, we slap the snooze button, roll back over and doze off. This could happen multiple times, too, before we groggily roll out of bed and begrudgingly start the day.
Unfortunately — and probably unsurprisingly — this is not the best way to start the day. Instead, there are many different steps to take to ensure we’re waking up on the right side of the bed every single morning, no matter how early it is or how much we want to snuggle up under the covers.
Want to make your mornings easier from now on? Follow these seven steps to start every day right.
1. Don’t Press Snooze!
For many of us, our first instinct when we hear our alarm is to press the snooze button, roll over and catch a few more Zs. In fact, some people set their alarm clocks extra early so they can snooze several times before they actually have to get up and go.
This is one of the worst morning habits to fall into. Dozing back off for a few more minutes typically does not give you more energy — it’s shallow, restless sleep that simply cannot compare to the deep sleep you fall into overnight. In order to wake up feeling as refreshed as possible, you have to break up with the snooze button. Set your alarm for the time you have to wake up and train your brain to react to that sound immediately by getting out of bed.
2. Let the Light In
Long before the days of blackout curtains, alarm clocks and eye masks, our ancestors let the sun wake them up naturally. As the rays drenched them in light, their bodies knew it was time to get up and get moving.
You can teach your body the same lesson, even if you don’t want to sleep with open curtains. Throwing them back as soon as you’re up will allow the light to pour into your bedroom and signal to your system that it is morning. To mimic the soothing, natural wakeup that sunrise provides, you can also invest in a sunrise alarm clock, which will slowly illuminate your room like the rising sun does. A gentler, easier wake-up awaits you.
3. Drink Up
What’s the first beverage you reach for in the morning? If you said coffee, you’re not alone: As of April 2013, 83 percent of U.S. adults drank coffee, with three cups per day being the average amount consumed per person. While the beverage certainly helps us perk up in the morning, it shouldn’t be the first one you drink.
Instead, place a glass of water on your nightstand or within arm’s reach so it’s the first thing you drink when you wake up. Think about it: Your body hasn’t had water for the past eight hours or so. A tall glass of water is just what it needs to fire up your metabolism, improve circulation and otherwise get you energized when you wake up.
4. Schedule a Morning Routine
Once you’ve woken up well and rehydrated your body, you don’t want to lose your cool and start running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Following a tried-and-true morning routine will help you maintain your new, positive morning vibes.
The first thing you should do is figure out everything you have to accomplish every morning. For most of us that includes showering and self-styling, making breakfast and lunch, walking the dog, getting the kids ready and commuting to the office. Jot down every single thing that has to get done before you get to work. Then, start timing how long it takes you to do everything to ensure you give yourself a comfortable window to complete everything.
You might find you’re running around each morning like the aforementioned headless chicken because you simply haven’t given yourself enough time to do it all. Reconfiguring your schedule — and perhaps setting your alarm for an earlier hour — will help you usher in a calmer day with a routine that’s easy and realistic to complete within the time you give yourself.
It’s also vital to make sure your children, spouse, pets and anyone else who might be incorporated into your scheduling has a routine of their own, too. You can probably do everything on your own, but mornings will be much smoother and more enjoyable if everyone knows their duties and pulls their weight.
5. Meditate or Stretch
We already mentioned the importance of a morning routine, but we want to highlight the importance of adding a good stretch or meditation session into your day. Stretching as soon as you get out of bed feels amazing — you know this if you’ve ever yawned, thrown your hands in the air and sent your body into a nice stretch.
Stretching serves you well in many ways. For one, it gets you moving after spending so long sleeping and perhaps relaxing on the couch before that. It improves your flexibility over time, too, which is always helpful in preventing bodily injuries and widening your range of motion.
Both stretching and meditation serve to make you a more mindful person, too, setting aside time for you to relax and think about the day ahead. A regular practice of mindfulness not only lets you acknowledge all the thoughts that come into your head, but also how to act on them — or avoid them — in order to restore your mental health. Mediation’s benefits also include decreased stress, improved immune health and a stronger sense of happiness.
6. Eat Well
What you eat can play a big part in how your mornings go. This actually starts the night before: Eating a sugary snack or drinking a caffeinated beverage before bed can be one of the main factors in a restless night’s sleep. Plan a healthy menu that’ll usher in the Zs you need when it’s time to lie down.
Mornings are a crucial time for eating, too. Breakfast is called the most important meal of the day for a reason, after all, and skipping the meal can put a major damper on your entire day. You’ll find yourself unfocused, hungry and unable to reach your regular levels of productivity. In other words, what you eat can play a huge factor in how you feel in the morning and throughout the rest of your day.
7. Listen to Cheerful Tunes
Finally, once you’re up-and-at-’em, give yourself a soundtrack that inspires you to do more. Rather than listening to smooth, slow, emotional acoustic music, for example, kick your morning music into high gear. Choosing music that makes you feel awake and cheerful will help you tackle the day with a similar mindset.
In fact, the healing effects of music have been shown through research that found, among other benefits, music can reduce stress. In particular, one study found that post-op patients who listened to music had fewer stress hormones in their system than those who did not. Music can also improve your memory and dull any bodily pains you experience.
Now, Wake Up!
With these tips in mind, it’s time to revolutionize your mornings. How will you improve your daily routine? Let us know in the comments section below. After you do that, subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss any more of our work-centric tips, tricks and advice for mornings and beyond.
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