How to Make Waking Up Easier in the Morning

The goal of a good night's sleep is to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to start your day. Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, many people struggle with sleep inertia, which makes you want to go back to sleep. Here are seven things you can do to wake up easier and feel refreshed.

Put Your Alarm Clock Out of Reach

Even from the deepest stages of sleep, an alarm clock will pull you back to consciousness. Hitting the snooze button, however, can return you to REM sleep. Though this phase of the sleep cycle is crucial and highly restorative, it is difficult to wake up when you're in the middle of it.

When your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re usually nearing the end of your last REM cycle, making it easier to wake up. When you hit snooze and go back to sleep, you can re-enter the REM phase and, as a result, wake up feeling foggy and disoriented.

Get Light Exposure

Exposure to morning light can have beneficial effects on promoting wakefulness by suppressing melatonin and increasing levels of serotonin. Our bodies follow a natural circadian rhythm and light has the strongest effect on this biological clock.

Ideally, you would wake up to sunlight streaming in your window every day. Since that is not something most people can count on, sitting in front of a light box shortly upon awakening can mimic these favorable effects.

Drink Caffeine

Millions of people start their day with a caffeinated beverage like coffee or tea, and this is indeed an excellent way to wake up. Caffeine blocks adenosine, a chemical that makes us feel sleepy. Hence, a cup of coffee reduces fatigue and improves focus and concentration.

The effects of caffeine can be felt 15 minutes after it's consumed and generally continue for a few hours.

Exercise and Be Active

If you have trouble emerging from sleep and jump-starting your day, you may want to be active first thing in the morning. Scheduling a short period of exercise upon awakening can help get you going.

Furthermore, getting regular exercise each day has been shown to improve your sleep overall.

Eat Breakfast

It seems like simple advice, but having breakfast is a great way to wake yourself up. Even a small morning meal can give you a burst of energy to get your day going. If you include a caffeinated beverage, you may get even more of a benefit. There is evidence that eating low-glycemic and high-protein foods at breakfast can increase morning energy levels.

Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule

On average, adults need around eight hours of sleep per night, but the amount you need may vary.

Our bodies prefer to follow regular patterns and our behavior can reinforce these natural circadian rhythms. One of the best ways to get a good night's sleep and wake up on time is to establish a consistent sleep schedule. Research shows that too much variability in your bedtime and the time you wake up in the morning can lead to too little sleep.

Treat Any Sleep Disorders

Having a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea, may adversely affect your ability to get up in the morning.

Alternatively, if you have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder such as delayed sleep phase syndrome, you may be prone to staying up late and sleeping in. Hence, being a night owl can have negative consequences.

By seeking appropriate evaluation and treatment of any underlying sleep disorder, you may find it easier to wake up in the morning.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you wake up more easily if it's dark or cloudy outside?

Expose yourself to as much light as possible. Morning light exposure is known to promote wakefulness. Natural sunlight is ideal, but bright light therapy (also called phototherapy) using a light box can have the same effect when it's dark or cloudy outside.

How can you wake up more easily if you're a heavy sleeper?

A variety of strategies have proven to be helpful for waking up more easily in the mornings. These include getting natural (or artificial) light exposure, putting your alarm clock out of reach (so you can't hit the snooze button), and drinking a caffeinated beverage.

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