I love sleep. But I find it really difficult to go to bed.
There’s always something to do, a job to finish, a programme to watch then before I know it, I’m waking up in the morning, regretting yet another late night.
Worst thing is, it’s getting to that time of year again, when you wake up in darkness and it suddenly becomes even more difficult to heave yourself out of bed.
So this week, I’ve been exploring the internet and asking my family, colleagues and friends for some tips and tricks on how to wake up quicker and easier this winter.
As far as I’m concerned… anything’s worth a try.
1. Get some fresh air
This one’s my favourite little wake up trick (if I remember to do it).
Leaving the window open a little at night, or popping outside for a quick breath of fresh air when you first wake up could do wonders for you.
Firstly, the sudden increase in oxygen will wake up your brain and thus your body.
Secondly, the coolness of the room will make it easier to get out of bed.
(It’s much more difficult to shift yourself from a warm, cosy, stuffy room.)
2. Do some exercise
Now, if you’re not a morning person, this probably sounds like the worst idea ever, but early morning exercise has been proven to increase energy levels and boost mood for the day – again boosting oxygen to the brain and body.
And you really don’t have to go mad with it, just a short 5 minute workout, can help.
If you don’t have enough time, then why not improvise?
Jog up the stairs at work, power walk to the train station or do a few little stretches; every little helps.
3. Play mind games
Once your body’s all warmed up, it’s a good idea to give your brain some exercise too.
You could be productive, read a book or check your emails, but it’s much more fun to challenge yourself with a puzzle or game.
A great way to warm up your brainpower and increase your alertness.
(Here are some brainteasers to keep you going…)
4. Scare yourself
I love this unique little tip from Kevin Daum.
Giving yourself a good scare will send a rush of adrenaline around your body, waking you up and increasing alertness.
Now, Kevin suggests watching a horror movie trailer, but you could find something much more simple, as long as it’s scary for you.
Is there an alarm tone that’s particularly piercing? Or perhaps having a chat with a stranger on the train scares you?
(Careful though, that is one of the most hated commuter habits!)
5. Move your alarm clock
If waking up in the morning is truly a problem, you must have already tried this little gem?
Placing your alarm clock somewhere out of reach, preferably across the room, is a great way to get you out of bed and thus wake you up.
Granted, you will have to have a little bit of willpower not to jump straight back in again, though.
6. Buy a “Sunlight Alarm Clock”
I’ve not personally tried out one of these fancy bits of kit, but if you are into technology then it’s probably the fix for you.
Sunlight (or “dawn simulator”) alarm clocks have little lamps which slowly brighten, mimicking the natural sunrise.
Apparently, it works as a natural signal to the body to stop producing melatonin (a sleep hormone) and to rise and shine ready for the day.
This is the perfect solution during the winter months, when there’s no natural light outside to steadily wake you up.
7. Switch everything off at night
So once you’ve established that light slows down the production of melatonin and thus wakes you up, then it’s easy to see why experts tell you to switch everything else off when you go to bed.
It’s definitely time to get out of the habit of falling asleep with the telly on and yes, even that tiny little red standby LED will affect you.
Don’t kid yourself into thinking you ‘can’t sleep without the TV on’ either… you just need to break your routine and you’ll soon get used to the quiet.
8. Schedule your naps
Do you love taking naps?
Well, you’ll be glad to know that you don’t have to give them up completely, however, you do have to schedule them within 7 hours of waking up in the morning to refrain from disrupting your sleep pattern.
That may be a little difficult if you’re at work all day, but if you’re desperate you could always power-nap in your car at lunch?
9. Fight your brain
We’ve all heard that nagging little voice inside our head that tells us to snooze the alarm and give ourselves another 5 minutes… don’t.
You really need to get into the habit of fighting those urges; they’ll not only make you late, but they’ll also make you mega-tired and woozy.
When your first alarm goes off, your body goes into overdrive to wake you up but when you go back to sleep, it basically gets confused… “shall I shut down, or wake up?”
When you do finally get up, you’re facing ‘sleep inertia’ which gives you that horrible groggy feeling which can last for hours!
Don’t believe me… check out this article: Why Hitting The Snooze Button Will Screw Up Your Entire Day.
10. Have a cold(ish) shower
Glutton for punishment? This one’s for you.
Cold water basically shocks your body into waking up; it’s pretty horrible, but it definitely works.
If you can’t hack a full-on cold shower experience, try splashing water onto your face instead.
Won’t it make you ill? Especially in Winter? Apparently not. Check out this article.
11. Phone Mum
Your brain probably remembers all of those times when you were little, when your mum was there to comfort and wake you up!
Of course, your mum probably doesn’t particularly want to call you early every morning for a pep talk.
12. Get a lift with someone else
This is a sneaky little trick (and it’s good for the environment too).
If you share lifts to work, then you’ll be forced to get up on time in the morning. You won’t want to let your fellow commuter down, or make them late.
You’ll also pick up a bit more on the way to work; you’ll behave more chirpy because it’s rude to be distant and ignorant around other people.
Of course, we haven’t touched on food in this week’s blog, but that’s because we recently wrote a blog – 8 Snackable Superfoods to Supercharge Your Brainpower – with all the nutritional advice you need.
Recruiter Pro Tip.
Are you tired all the time? Are you working too hard? Do you work ridiculous hours and never take a break?
Stop being a martyr! You’re actually negatively impacting yourself and your workplace – everyone needs a work-life balance – it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Working more than 48 hours a week can significantly affect your productivity, mental health and could leave to burn out.
To find out more, check out this article from The Telegraph.
People seem to forget that they’re no good to anyone, ill, tired and unproductive.
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Good luck trying out our tricks!
Let us know how it goes.- Mark Wilkinson