There’s nothing quite as jarring and soul crushing as the sound of your buzzing alarm clock at 6:30 a.m. At least for some of us.
“Some people are larks and some are owls,” says Mary Fristad, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral health, psychology, and nutrition at OSU Harding Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “It has to do with your personal biology. If you’re a lark, you wake up ready. If you’re an owl, you likely went to sleep late and prefer to sleep late.”
If you’re anything like me, and you’re an owl, you may have these thoughts running through your head every time you’re called to rise: “Just 10 more minutes, please.” If that sounds familiar, here are some ways to get moving in the morning.
Position your alarm clocks correctly.
Do you ever sleep right through your alarm or shut it off accidentally? (*raises hand*) You might need to move it across the room, says Fristad. “It might be that you need to position it to physically get up and turn it off, and that act will help you wake up,” she explains. “Also, know what helps you get in the right mood. Do you need an irritating buzzer to get up, or lovely music to soothe you?” Try both, and see which works.
Adopt the right mindset.
Snooze, snooze, snooze. Not only is hitting that button breaking up your sleep so you don’t feel as well rested, but it’s also putting you in a lethargic, I’ll-get-to-the-waking-up-thing-later mood. “Incorporate into your morning mindset that when the alarm goes off, you get up,” says Fristad. “Whether or not you want to. It’s a mental commitment, and it’s a plan.”
Up your breakfast game with wake-up foods.
If you’re sleepy in the morning, yes, you can hit the coffee for a little caffeine boost—but also try to avoid overdoing it with carbs. “You’ll just feel sleepy again,” Fristad says. “Instead, opt for a breakfast with protein.” Some examples? An egg-white omelet with your choice of veggies, or a Greek yogurt with seasonal berries.
Find the right motivation to move it, move it.
Sometimes, you need a reason to wake up in the morning. Fristad suggests keeping a gratitude journal. “Write down three things you’re thankful, from that day, at night before bed,” she says. “It can be as simple as a sunset. And then, also, write down at least one thing you’re looking forward to for the next day.” Fall asleep with that in mind. Also remember that from the moment you wake up, you’ll be hyper-productive for the first two hours of your day. So, use that as motivation to get busy…not snooze your alarm, amble to the coffee pot, and mindlessly answer emails until you “get around” to real work.
Shake up your evening screen activity.
If you’re struggling to wake up feeling well rested in the morning, adjust your routines. Fristad says that all the gadgets we look at can mess with our sleep cycles. “Screen time is a big thing, but shutting down isn’t realistic. You need a variant of that,” she explains. The solution? Reducing exposure to the blue light that prevents melatonin production will help us get to sleep and stay asleep. “There are orange glasses now that help filter out that blue light,” says Fristad. “And just that can be enough to help the brain produce those hormones that help us sleep.”
Beyond that, remember that your body can only handle roughly one-hour swings in wake-up time. So, even on weekends, attempt to get up at roughly the same time. You’ll feel more primed with sleep, and ready to get your day going.
And when in doubt about your ability to handle your morning? Espresso (wink, wink).