If your typical morning starts with your alarm clock’s harsh ringing startling you out of a sound sleep, two or three slaps on the snooze button, and an exhausted drag out of bed, it’s time for something better. Starting your day feeling miserable sets the tone for your entire morning, and often, your entire day. While the key to waking up feeling good is getting enough sleep to begin with – if you routinely go to bed later than you should, your mornings are bound to be tough – there are several easy ways to improve your mood and energy level right after waking up in the morning.
In fact, you can feel better before you even get out of bed.
Start the Night Before
If you want to feel your best in the morning, start getting ready the night before. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready for your day if you:
- Follow a relaxing nighttime routine before bed.
- Eat a small snack within an hour of sleep time – a piece of fruit with yogurt, cereal with milk or crackers with peanut butter are all good choices that are just enough to keep your stomach satisfied overnight without keeping you awake.
- Drink a small cup of water before retiring for the night.
- Set out your outfit for the next day. You’ll wake up with one less thing to worry about.
Wake Up to Pleasing Sound and Natural Light
You might need an alarm clock to wake up on time for work, but that doesn’t mean you have to start your day with a harsh buzzing, ringing or blaring sound. Instead, use an alarm clock that awakens to you to your favorite music, nature sounds or the gentle chime of bells.
The first sound you hear in the morning should be a pleasant one.
For the best sleep, your bedroom should be as dark as possible during the night, but waking up with natural light helps your body maintain the circadian rhythms that regulate your body’s functions. If possible, leave your blinds open enough to admit morning sunshine.
If that isn’t an option, try a dawn simulator alarm clock or lamp attachment. Instead of a noisy alarm, these devices wake you up with light that simulates the rising sun by gently intensifying over a period of 30 or so minutes. As the light hits your closed eyelids, it stimulates your brain to awaken you naturally. It’s a lot more pleasant waking up to a lovely spring sunrise than the electronic blare of a traditional alarm.
Don’t Touch That Snooze Button!
Though it may be tempting to hit the snooze button for a few precious minutes longer in bed, resist the temptation. The snooze button is not your friend – in fact, hitting that snooze is likely to leave you feeling even more tired and irritable once you finally get up. Those few extra minutes allow you to drift into a doze, only to be abruptly awakened right as your brain is restarting the sleep cycle. The result is even worse fatigue and difficulty in getting out of bed. If it seems impossible to resist the lure of the snooze button, try setting your alarm clock across the room so you’re forced to get up just to shut it off. If you still struggle to get up, take an honest look at how much sleep you’re getting each night, and get to bed earlier if necessary.
Stretches You Can Do In Bed
Taking a few minutes for a gentle stretch before getting out of bed is a great way to start your day. You’ll wake up your muscles, give your circulation a boost, and ease any sleep-related stiffness or soreness. Here are five easy stretches you can try:
- Long stretch: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your legs straight. Now reach your arms up past your head and point your toes towards the foot of the bed, lengthening your spine until you feel a nice stretch.
- Back rock: Still on your back, bring your knees up against your chest, and hug your legs against your body. Now gently rock from side to side.
- Side stretch: Sit up with your legs crossed. Reach both arms over your head, and interlink your fingers so your palms are facing upwards. Now slowly and gently rock from side to side, just enough to feel a pleasant stretch along your sides and arms.
- Seated crawl: Still sitting cross-legged, “crawl” your fingers out in front of you, until you are stretched forward as far as you can comfortably reach without your rear leaving the bed. Slowly and gently sway from side to side, keeping your arms stretched out long. Let your hands roll back and forth with your movements.
- Lift off: From your cross-legged seated position, reach both hands onto the bed behind you. Lean your head back, and lift your chest and hips upwards until your rear leaves the bed. Balance your weight on your palms for several seconds before releasing the stretch.
Get In a Good Mood
Finally, take two or three minutes to prepare your mind for the day ahead – not by thinking about all you need to accomplish or the problems of the day, but with a prayer, list of three things you are grateful for or short yoga session. Opening your day with a brief interlude of positive, reflective thought puts you in a good mood as you get out of bed and start your morning preparations.