The British are amongst the grumpiest morning people in the world, according to a recent survey. And it’s not surprising, seeing as over half of us struggle with sleep problems.
If you find it hard getting a decent kip, dont worry, we’ve got twelve ways you can feel as though you’ve had a solid, 8-hour sleep. Discover your inner ‘morning person’ with our tips for 12 easy ways to wake up, below.
1. Bounce out of bed
Easier said than done, we know, but apparently those who get up consistently early feel more alert, and studies have shown that spending less time in bed can actually help you to sleep better, reducing overall tiredness. The research, which was conducted on a group of acute insomniacs, concluded that between 70 and 80 per cent of people can cure their sleeping problems through spending less time in bed.
Dr Michael Perlis, director of the Penn Behavioural Sleep Medicine Programme, explains, ‘Those with insomnia typically extend their sleep opportunity. They go to bed early, get out of bed late, and they nap. While this seems a reasonable thing to do, and may well be in the short term, the problem in the longer term is it creates a mismatch between the individual’s current sleep ability [which is low] and their current sleep opportunity [which is vast, as it has been extended] – and this fuels insomnia.’
So when your alarm goes, avoid snoozing. You’ll feel a lot better with the extra deep sleep you get by setting your alarm later, rather than pushing that snooze button half a dozen times.
Speaking of alarm clocks, they shock you out of sleeping and, let’s face it, it’s not the nicest way to start the day. If you’re still struggling to feel bright eyed, try using a natural light alarm clock with a daylight bulb to simulate the sun rising in your room – you’ll feel much more awake and in a better mood.
2. Listen to music
Music has been shown to help boost your mood, plus who doesn’t like adding a little jumping about in their pajamas to their day? So put your favourite track on, bop your head and get into the groove as you go about your morning routine.
3. Take a shower
Now you’ve finally beaten the struggle to stay snuggling it’s time for a shower. The sensation of hot, steamy water will have you feeling perky in no time. A top tip? Finish your five minutes in the shower with a blast of cold water. It’ll encourage you to be quick and is guaranteed to leave you feeling very much awake.
4. Brush your teeth
You probably don’t have to be told about this one, but brushing your teeth with a minty toothpaste is one of the best ways to leave you feeling fresh and ready to face whatever the day has to throw at you.
5. Don’t skip breakfast
Skipping breakfast means sacrificing energy, because most breakfast foods are good sources of nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins as well as protein and fibre. The body needs these essential nutrients and if you miss them first thing in the morning, you’re less likely to be able to make them up later in the day.
Look for wholegrains if you’re a toast lover. These high-fibre carbs will give you energy that lasts for hours.
6. Sweet alternatives
A sugar hit can be tempting in the morning when you’re feeling sluggish, we get it, but it’s not the wisest choice. Ditch sugary cereal or sweetened juices in favour of fresh or dried fruits for a natural and sustained energy-boost. They’ll release energy much more slowly, avoiding that dreaded blood sugar crash.
7. Let the light in
It’s now time to leave the house, but how about getting up ten minutes earlier to fit in a slightly longer walk to the kids’ school or the train station? Wherever you’re off to, getting plenty of daylight is important to help you avoid afternoon sleepiness. Dopamine, endorphins and other chemicals in the brain kick into gear if you go for a stroll in the sun – signalling to the body that it’s time to be up and about. The effect can last up to five hours.
Plus, we all know exercise is another great way to feel awake. So now there’s no excuse, get moving, even if it’s just a walk to work, out in the fresh air.
8. Breathe out
When energy is low, take a deep breath in and then breathe out for longer than you normally would – it’s a tried and tested simple fix to make you feel more alert.
9. Rest your forehead
Hitting the afternoon slump? Try holding your fingertips to your forehead. This encourages blood to circulate to your forebrain, helping to revitalises you. Give it a go next time you’d love to crawl under the covers before bedtime.
10. Eat a healthy snack
Grab a handful of nuts and seeds when energy levels are low between meals. This lovely lot are packed full of good fats to get you through until tea time.
11. Get a good night’s sleep
Of course, one of the best ways to feel fresh in the morning is to get a good night’s sleep. If it’s getting enough shut-eye at night that’s you’re problem then here are simple ways to make sure you nod straight off.
Last but not least, consistency is key. Give yourself a regular wake-up time, even on weekends. Your body prepares itself to wake up 1 hour before you actually do, so being regular helps set your body’s natural alarm clock.