One of the biggest struggles of getting older is having to wake up early every morning. Any night owl will tell you that it’s nearly impossible to feel chipper if you’re not a natural early morning person, and each day is filled with lots of snooze button hitting, frantic clothes changing and coffee chugging.
But what if there were ways to make those first few hours of the day easier without having to commit yourself to a permanent early morning lifestyle? These 7 tips will allow you to at least be functional in the morning, no matter how much you love being up until the wee hours of the night.
1. Put Your Alarm on the Other Side of the Room
It’s an old trick that works really well: Put your alarm (whether you use a clock or phone) on the other side of the room. It’ll force you to actually get up to turn it off, and you won’t be tempted to keep hitting the snooze button if you’re lying horizontally next to it when it goes off.
Another pro tip: Make sure your alarm is something loud but pleasant. Waking up to wailing sirens isn’t a particularly happy experience.
2. Keep the Blinds Open
It’s a small change that can make a big difference: Keep your blinds open at night so that you’re not trying to wake up in pitch-black darkness every morning. Slowly opening your eyes to natural light is a less jarring experience.
3. Drink Water, Not Coffee
Here’s a sad fact: Drinking coffee early in the morning actually won’t make you that much more awake. Even worse, it’s actually increasing your caffeine dependency without giving you anything in return.
As much as you love the taste of your favorite espresso first thing in the morning, skip the caffeine and drink a big glass of water. You can always make fruit-infused water to spice things up, and your body will thank you.
4. Move (a Little Bit)
It’s a lot to ask someone to become a morning person, even more so a morning workout person. If you seriously can’t imagine even walking 3 feet in the morning let alone running 3 miles, don’t worry, you don’t have to. Instead, stretch for five minutes after you wake up to get your blood pumping.
5. Pack Up the Night Before
When you’re already struggling to get up, the last thing you want to worry about is figuring out what to wear, packing your lunch and work bag and making sure you know what your schedule for the day looks like.
To make it easier on yourself, take 15 minutes the night before to pick your work or school outfit and pack your lunch and any materials you need for your workday. Are your laptop and headphones in your bag? Do you know where your wallet is? You’ll be happier you thought about it at night instead of remembering when you’re halfway through your commute to work the next day.
6. Start Small
You can’t expect to be successful at waking up earlier in the long run if you start waking up at 5 AM all of a sudden when you’ve been barely opening your eyes at 8 AM.
Instead, start small: Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier for a couple days and then work your way back another 15 minutes. You’ll be less likely to smash the snooze button every few minutes if your change is less drastic.
7. Power Down the Night Before
Feeling refreshed in the morning starts with your evening ritual at night. While your time before bed may vary from day to day, there are some crucial steps to take before hitting the sack:
- Don’t consume any caffeine at least six hours before bed.
- Stop looking at screens at least an hour before going to sleep.
- Read a book, solve a puzzle or do something else that’ll make you relax.
- Dim the lights.
You’ll definitely wake up feeling a lot less groggy the following morning.
While changing up your routine may not transform you into a permanent early bird, it’ll at least make you feel like less of a zombie in the AM when you wake up.