How to make getting out of bed in the morning easier, according to a sleep expert

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Tuesday 19 December 2017 11:35
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Getting out of bed is a hard enough as it is, so when it’s cold and dark outside, staying snuggled under a warm duvet seems like a far more inviting prospect.

Unfortunately though, for the majority of us hibernating throughout winter just isn’t an option as work and the dreaded school run waits for no man.

So, what can you do to prevent hitting that snooze button half a dozen times?

Luckily, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a physiologist and sleep therapist, has shared some top tips from her book, Fast Asleep Wide Awake, that will help you get out of bed in the morning, even when you don’t want to.

Plan the night before

In the interest of starting the day off on the right foot, Ramlakhan says the best thing to do is prepare everything the night before so you’re ready to get going from the moment you wake up.

“Tell yourself and others that you’re going to get up. Get things ready the night before – your clothes, your breakfast bowl etc,” she explains.

“I set my laptop up and left it exactly where I planned to work in the morning.”

Convince yourself that you can

If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re not a morning person, it’s time to change that. Instead of grumbling about how awful it is to get up, “tell yourself how much you’re looking forward to waking up in the morning and keep saying it. Self-suggestion is very powerful,” Ramlakhan adds.

Put the heating on

While body temperature is important to get a good night's sleep, it also plays a big factor in your ability to get out of bed in the morning. To avoid the temptation of snuggling under the duvet to stay warm, “set up the heating to come on 10 minutes or so before you get up,” Ramlakhan suggests.

Let some light in

Starting your day with a good dose of sunlight resets your circadian rhythm and sends a “let’s wake up” message to your brain. As such, Ramlakhan says you should “go to bed with blinds partly open or invest in an alarm that mimics sunlight gradually, such as a Lumi Clock, to wake you up at times of the year when it tends to still be dark.”

Ban technology from the bedroom

Ramlakhan also suggests having an “electronic sundown” at least 30-45 minutes before you go to bed including turning off the TV and avoiding your phone. “This reduces anxiety levels and stops the bran from being over stimulated by the dopamine produced when you bombard the brain with blue light and information,” she says.

“Leave your devices out of the bedroom and don’t check the time during the night. It’s normal to wake during the night but if you have a tendency to wake up, check the time and then fret it will stop you getting back to sleep.”

Eat and drink the right things

Before you hit the hay it’s important to avoid alcohol or caffeine as “both will stop you achieving the pure deep sleep that you need in order to wake up feeling energised and optimistic.”

Ramlakhan suggests avoiding caffeine after 4pm, as the half-life of it is 5 hours. This means, “if you have a cup of coffee at 6pm, you will still have half the amount in your system at 11pm.”

Similarly, try drinking water as soon as you wake up as this will hydrate your cells and brain to get your energy moving. “Eating breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up will also raise your metabolism and entrain the body to start the day with more energy,” she adds.

Be optimistic

One of the most important things that will help you get out of bed in the morning is to ensure that you have something to look forward that day.

“We all have days when we wake up feeling less than great but if this is happening all the time then you need to take a good hard look at your life situation and ask yourself ‘What do I care about and how can I get more of it?’” Ramlakhan says.

“It’s a brave question to ask yourself but it will set you on the journey of finding out what you really want to wake up to in the mornings – and living the life you love.”

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