If you think the most difficult thing you do all day is wake up, you need some tips and tricks to help you rise and shine and embrace the day ahead — without hitting the snooze alarm. You aren’t just being a lazy bones if you lie in bed long after the alarm buzzes. Blame it on your body clock. “An important factor in being able to wake up easily at the desired time in the morning is the timing of one’s circadian rhythm, or ‘body clock,'” sleep researcher Leon C. Lack, a professor in the school of psychology at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, told Everyday Health. Five tips and tricks from Everyday Health to help you wake up in the morning:
- Rethink mornings
Take a hard look at your early morning to-do list. What can you do the night before to ease the morning rush so you can sleep a little longer? For example, choose the day’s clothing the night before and make coffee at home instead of standing in a 15-minute line at the cafe.
- Power down before bedtime
If you want to wake up at the crack of dawn, you need to make sure you get enough sleep, and that means going to bed earlier. Getting ready for bed is more than donning your PJs and brushing your teeth. It’s a process. For the most restful sleep, turn off all your “screens”–from TV to laptop–about an hour before you climb into bed.
- Get bright light first thing in the morning
Our bodies are programmed to wake up with the sun. Open the blinds and let the sunshine in or turn on the lights inside your house if it’s still dark or rainy outside. This can actually help set your body clock to accept your wake-up time. Here’s an idea: If you have time in the morning, take a walk in the sunshine or eat breakfast outside.
- Make hitting “snooze” harder
If hitting the snooze alarm is just too tempting, create some obstacles that prevent you from staying in bed past your wake-up time. Move your alarm so it is out of arm’s reach, making it harder to hit “snooze.” You can even move the alarm to the other side of the bedroom so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Diehard sleepyheads should set a second alarm, located far from the bed. And if you still can’t get up, enlist the aid of family members or roommates to help you until you can get in sync.
- Keep your sleep/wake schedule on weekends
This is the most difficult trick of all. Come Friday night, you are exhausted. Nothing seems better than sleeping in on Saturday. Resist that temptation. Compensating on the weekends for lost weekday sleep actually has the opposite effect: It interrupts your natural body clock. Try to stick to your bedtime/wake-up time even on Saturdays and Sundays. This will not only lead to better sleep, but also help you to wake up more easily on weekdays.