“Never Wake Up” courtesy of Heiko Muller
I bet you’ve had days when you just want to stay under the duvet. Maybe you slept badly, or perhaps you just can’t face dragging yourself out of bed and facing your to-do list. Yet you know that if you could get up when you want to every day – rather than at the last minute possible – you’d be able to accomplish a lot more of your goals.
Here are nine ways to wake up ready to rock, roughly in order of when you’ll need to do them the day before. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments!
1. Exercise During the Day
There are plenty of great reasons to exercise, and I won’t rehash them all here. Many people, though, find that exercising helps them to sleep well at night – yet another health-boosting benefit.
If you’re struggling to fit exercise into your day, try looking for ways to get active in your lunch hour or straight after work: if exercise forms a natural part of your routine, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it.
2. Stop Work in the Middle of a Task
Sometimes, even when we do manage to get up on time, we’re just not in the mood to rock! At the end of the day, try stopping work in the middle of a task. If you’re a writer, that might mean ending part way through an article; if you’re a programmer, it may mean leaving something that you can easily come back to.
The advantage here is that instead of building up the energy to get stuck in on something new – where you haven’t already gathered momentum – you’ve got an easy little task to start off your day and to get you straight into working, diminishing the urge to procrastinate.
3. Avoid Caffeine in the Evening
Drinking tea, coffee, cola or other caffeinated drinks in the evening is almost certainly going to have a bad effect on your sleep. Everyone’s a bit different here, but it’s worth setting yourself a clear “caffeine curfew”. I used to drink tea at 6.30pm after work each evening but I quickly found that this wasn’t helping me get to sleep on time! Now, I rarely drink anything caffeinated after 4pm, and that works for me.
Post-dinner coffee is definitely a habit to get out of – if you like it for the taste or the social aspect, try decaffeinated instead.
4. Set Out Your Clothes the Night Before
When I wake up in the morning, even deciding what to wear can be enough effort to keep me under the covers! If that’s you, try setting your clothes out the night before: decide exactly what you’re wearing and hang your clothes at the far edge of your closet, or over a chair or on a door.
It might seem like a little thing, but waking up ready to rock means taking care of as many decisions as possible before that moment when you’re looking for any excuse to hit “snooze”.
5. Don’t Eat a Heavy Dinner
You’ve probably had the experience of eating a big dinner and then finding that your stomach is uncomfortably full, gurgling and churning as it digests your food. This definitely isn’t a good start to a night’s sleep.
You could eat a bit earlier in the evening, or simply eat a lighter meal at dinner time. Don’t go too light, though – waking up at three am because you’re hungry won’t do much for your sleep either. A happy balance here depends very much on you as an individual, so experiment a little to find what works.
6. Journal or Read Before Bed
Many of us find it hard to “switch off” at the end of the day, often lying awake thinking about all the stuff that we didn’t get done, or worrying about what’s coming up the following day. A couple of great ways to deal with this problem are:
- Write in a journal before you go to bed – get any problems out of your head and onto the paper. Often, this is enough to ensure that they’re not preying on your mind when you try to sleep.
- Read a book, preferably fiction – this is a great way to forget what’s been going on during the day, and to do something relaxing before you sleep.
7. Know What You’re Doing First Thing
What’s your morning routine like? If you decide before you go to sleep exactly what you’re doing in the morning (for maximum easiness, try to make this the same each day) then you won’t have to wake up dithering about what to do first.
Many of us find that hitting the shower first thing works well – the water will wake you up if you’re still half asleep – or you might prefer to start your day with a quiet time of meditation, prayer or reading. What you do isn’t really that important – the fact that you’re planning to do something specific is.
8. Get to Bed On Time
This is another rather obvious point, but getting to bed on time is crucial if you want to get a decent night’s sleep before your alarm goes off. Most adults find the concept of a regular bedtime a bit odd – but it’s not just for kids.
If you’ve got a tendency to get caught up in whatever you’re doing in the evening, then setting an alarm to remind you that it’s bedtime can help. Try to plan for getting at least seven hours’ sleep – you may find that you need eight or even more to feel sufficiently rested. (If you’re not sure how much sleep you need, here’s a great method for finding out.)
9. Visualize Sleeping Well
I picked up this tip from Dave Navarro’s excellent “Become an Early Riser” program. When you lie down to sleep, visualize getting a really great night’s sleep. Just as you may have tried visualization to help you towards success in various areas in life, picturing yourself sleeping brilliantly helps prime your mind and body to achieve what you’re imagining.
I know it sounds a bit kooky and weird, but do give it a try – it only takes a minute or two, and you just might find that it’s surprisingly effective.
Do any of these work well for you? What tips of your own would you add for waking up ready to rock?