Wouldn't it be nice to know how to get out of the bed in the morning, feeling ready for your day? To sit up when the alarm is going off, eat a healthy breakfast and head out the door?
Many people struggle with sleep inertia, or dysania, where you wake up sluggish, craving more sleep. Your brain feels like its not working yet. Some people can snap out of this quickly. For others, it can take an hour or more before they feel alert and ready for the day. You may be one of these people. You literally don't know how to get out of bed in the morning. Are there small or big changes we can make or experiment with, to see if we can wake up feeling sharper? Let's explore some strategies and see which ones sound like an idea you can try.
First and foremost, its important to visit your doctor and have them assess you for any underlying reasons that may causing you to feel extra tired. Explore any other physical or emotional symptoms you might be having. Its never a bad idea to be screened for anxiety and depression, as these are incredible energy-suckers. You may also want to consider finding a life coach, therapist or sleep consultant. Someone who has the experience to guide you through the lifestyle changes you are wanting to make.
Second, you should play around with getting more sleep! This might seem obvious, but some have a hard time putting their body's physical needs first. You may feel like you need to cross a few more things off your to-do list, or enjoy a few more minutes of television/relaxation time before a new day begins tomorrow. These feelings are completely understandable. But the more you take care of yourself in the present, the better you will feel for your next day. Start a cycle of things gradually getting better, not worse.
If getting checked out by a doctor and playing around with getting more regular sleep hasn't helped, then check out the tips below. Many of these tips are challenging to implement. Your body and mind are used to feeling like mornings are unpleasant. Try experimenting with a tip or two at a time for a few weeks at a time. See how they work, then add more healthy habits gradually. You may never be a "morning person" per-say but there are real strategies out there for making mornings more pleasant.
How to Get Out of Bed in the Morning - Work on Your Physical Health
How you treat your body is going to lay the foundation for everything else. You may not be where you want to be in terms of physical shape or daily diet. Or you may be feeling accomplished in those areas, and just want to fine-tune any habits that may be contributing to your lethargy. Either place is fine. Start where you're at and make changes, however big or small, that seem realistic for you right now.
- Cut back on sugar and caffeine, especially after 5pm. If you can, cut caffeine out after 12 o'clock NOON as it can stay in your body for up to 12 hours. An insulin or adrenaline spike right before bed will definitely impact the quality of your sleep overnight.
- Get more exercise. A walk in fresh sunlight every morning will set the tone for your whole day, and help you feel sleepier at night when its time to rest. If you're starting from the couch, don't worry about it. Walk for only 5 minutes and gradually increase as you get into the swing of a healthier lifestyle. If even this feels hard right now, at least sit outside and have your coffee in the sunlight and fresh air. Remember, the amount of exercise you get today will actually help you the most on the NEXT day. Your energy will gradually increase more and more as your body benefits from the physical activity. Its normal to be even more tired initially when you start a new exercise plan so start slow and don't be embarrassed to very gradually increase amounts.
- Drink more water. Add extra glasses of water if you've exercised during the day. Even very mild dehydration can feel like fatigue. Don't drink any an hour before going to bed, if you can help it.
- Start practicing meditation. Whether you meditate in the early morning or last thing before bed, work on ways to let go of your worries until a time you can be more productive about them. Watch your breath go in and out, learn new stress coping techniques and listen to meditations that will help you achieve more inner serenity.
Practical Tips for How to Get Out of the Bed in the Morning
- Keep a sleep diary for two weeks - write down when you went to bed, every time you wake up, and what time you woke up the following morning. Are you having trouble falling asleep? Waking up in the night? Waking up too early? Are you getting enough hours but still feel tired (dysania)? Your sleep quality might be to blame. Use the sleep journal to try to pinpoint where exactly you are losing sleep so you can look for targeted solutions.
- Follow the same sleep routine every night, to the letter. Maybe you will take a shower, brush your teeth, put pajamas on and then turn the lights off. Or maybe you will shower in the mornings and instead meditate for ten minutes. Do the same things in the same order every night so your body is cued to sleep.
- Talk to your doctor about whether taking a melatonin supplement an hour before bedtime would help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
- Try to avoid late-night foods that will upset your digestion through the night. Have foods like chocolate and wine at lunch when your body will have time to digest.
- Splurge on a great pillow and soft, breathable sheets. You should be breathing comfortably with neck support all night long, not waking up with a sore back or neck. And who wants to wake up in a puddle of night sweat?! Also, wash your sheets once a week so they stay fresh. Throw some tennis balls in the dryer with your feather blanket so the feathers don't come out all clumped together.
- Consider getting a new mattress. If your current one is lumpy or hard, you are waking up slightly every time you roll around to get more comfortable. Or, you may be waking up with a sore back or aches and pains due to the mattress not being the right fit for you.
- Every few months, vacuum your mattress. Sprinkle some baking soda all around, and let the baking soda absorb any moistness, then vacuum again. Use a handheld steam cleaner to kill any mites and sanitize the mattress.
- Sleep with enough blankets so you aren't curled up in the fetal position during the night, trying to stay warm. Sleeping all scrunched up can make you sore and achy the next day.
- Are you struggling with sleep because your kids are struggling with sleep? Sit down and come up with a plan for how to get through your kids sleep issues so you can get more sleep for yourself. Speak to a sleep consultant if necessary. Check out our articles on baby sleep and sleep for older children.
- Adopt a pet- nothing beats having a dog or kitty licking your face in the morning, or whining for food or a walk.
- Place a huge bird feeder outside your bedroom door, so you can wake up to the sounds of neighborhood birds.
- Keep your window slightly open at night, if you can. This will allow fresh air circulating through the room all night for easier breathing. Or buy plants that clean up indoor air toxins - Christmas cactus, snake plants, or mother-in-law’s tongue.
- Sprinkle a few drops of lavender on a cloth under your pillow or sleeve of your pajamas.
- Try to shift your attitude a bit. Think about what it really means to wake up irritable, grumpy and dreading your day, every day. You don't have to believe the first thoughts you have in the morning, inner voices like "I am still so tired. How am I going to get through this day?" You can tell yourself that the amount of sleep you got was enough for now, and your day is going to be just fine, and you can try to get more sleep again tonight. We are taking baby steps here, its okay to mess up a lot in the beginning when you're trying to make a positive change and learning how to get up in the morning.
- Could you be mistaking the feeling of fatigue for the feeling of stress? Both can make you feel out of control, sluggish with difficulty concentrating. Both leave you feeling like you need to recharge and relax. Look up some positive coping techniques or learn to say no to more obligations, so you have more time to focus on your personal health and well-being.
- Your goal should be to make mornings more pleasant in various ways, so you can look forward to getting out of bed and starting your day.
- Look for a local expert in your community to help guide you in improving your sleep hygiene. Your doctor may have some recommendations, or you can stay tuned for our upcoming guide to sleep consultants in your area.
One tip which I had a hard time deciding whether to recommend was the use of afternoon naps for sleepiness. Have these worked for you before? Or are they a bad habit to get into, decreasing your sleep at night? I can even see how they would make you habitually more tired in the afternoon compared to how you would be if your body got used to not taking naps. What do you think?
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