When you wake up, you fall into one of two categories: morning person or non-morning person. For morning people, getting out of bed is like a scene from a Disney movie – the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and everything is awesome. Or it is after coffee, anyway. Non-morning people, on the other hand, have a more Exorcist-like experience. And as much as late risers may not mind their cranky demeanor, they probably wouldn't mind learning how to become a morning person if meant making the hours before noon a little more bearable.
But how? How do you magically wake up happy about it? Coffee alone won’t do it. If that worked, you’d have been cheerfully getting up at 6am years ago. Fortunately, there is a there is a solution. Several, actually.
Adding a few pre- and post-sleep tricks into your routine can go a long way toward improving your a.m. state of mind. You’ll no longer dread the buzz of your alarm clock. That’s not to say you’ll welcome it with open arms, but it will no longer be the worst sound in the world. Interested? Then read on to learn nine easy ways to wake up happy. Or, at least, happier.
1. Set the Temperature
A few degrees can be the difference between a peaceful night’s sleep and one spent tossing and turning. Dr. Christopher Winter, medical director of Charlottesville Neurology & Sleep Medicine, told The Huffington Post that the body undergoes a natural temperature change throughout the day, and sleep is initiated during the cooling off period. But if you have a higher core body temperature, then lulling yourself into dreamland may prove a bit challenging. To help with the process, Winter recommended setting the thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees F.
2. Get Physical
There are infinite benefits to breaking a sweat, and a good night’s sleep is one of them. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that engaging in 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week improves the quality of sleep. And for any new moms out there, a more recent study in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found squeezing in a little Pilates helps postpartum women with their sleep.
3. Skip the Vino
If you’re anything like me, then you’re sound asleep after a glass of wine. But that doesn’t mean you’re sleeping well. A 2013 study from Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research notes that alcohol actually disrupts and decreases REM sleep. Take a cue from your little ones and trade your merlot for melatonin-filled milk, which helps you stay asleep.
4. Power Down
Because technology plays a role in all of life’s problems, it only makes sense that it would inhibit our sleep as well. According to the National Sleep Foundation, cell phones, computers, and other devices emit a light that tricks your body into thinking it should be awake. Hence why you wake up in the middle of the night and throw a wrench in our sleep cycle. But many people, myself included, use a phone as an alarm, so shutting off our devices isn’t completely realistic. As a compromise, I’ve taken to covering my phone with a dark T-shirt before hitting the hay. This way, you block the disruptive blue light without running the risk of oversleeping in the a.m.
5. Sleep on Your Right Side
No literally. Forget your left side, stomach, or snore-inducing back. A Turkish study discovered that when people slept on their right sides, they suffered fewer nightmares and scored lower on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, indicating a better night’s sleep. Plus, with you and your partner sleeping on the same side, you’ll score some extra spooning time.
6. Let the Sun Shine In
A good night’s sleep is only half of the equation. In order to wake up happy, you have to get your morning off to the right start. One way to do that is to make sure your room will be properly lit come morning, as light has the ability to lift our spirits. Before slipping into bed, raise the blinds to allow the sunshine to stream through your window in the morning. Or if you’re trapped in a windowless tower, invest in an artificial sun clock that you can set the night before.
7. Don’t Hit the Snooze Button
It’s amazing how quickly “five more minutes” turns into an hour, forcing you to run around the house like a madwoman. Dr. Robert Rosenberg, a sleep medicine specialist, told CNN that hitting the snooze button throws off your natural sleep cycle. This fragmented sleep often results in “moodiness, cognitive problems, and trouble paying attention.” Rosenburg suggested placing your alarm clock out of reach, as it forces you to actually get your *ss out of bed.
8. Pump Up the Jams
9. Enjoy a Morning Quickie
You and your partner will both benefit from this trick. Not only does morning sex give your body and brain a java-like jolt on par with the latest Starbucks concoction, but it prevents you from falling into a sexual dry spell that many face post-kids. To make up for the time you spent shagging, you and your SO can suds up together afterwards.