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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# waking up is hard to do
Things you SHOULDN'T do when you wake up tomorrow
Don’t snooze, put your phone down…

THERE’S NO ONE morning routine that works for everyone.

Maybe yours involves reading the news, or guzzling water, or dancing to pop music in your underwear. No judgment.

But there are certain morning mistakes that can set the stage for an unproductive, unenjoyable rest of the day.

To find out what those mistakes are, we checked out what scientists and other experts had to say about making the most (and the least) of the first few minutes after you wake up.

Below, we’ve rounded up seven common wake-up behaviors that you’ll want to avoid.

1. Hit the snooze button.

Sometimes (okay, all the time) your alarm goes off and you are just not ready to face the day yet. But resist the temptation to put off the inevitable by five or 10 minutes.

As sleep expert Timothy Morgenthaler told Business Insider’s Jessica Orwig, ”Most sleep specialists think that snooze alarms are not a good idea.”

That’s partly because, if you fall back into a deep sleep after you hit the snooze button, you’re entering a sleep cycle you definitely won’t be able to finish. So you’ll likely wake up groggy instead of refreshed.

shutterstock_162882851 Shutterstock / Ollyy Shutterstock / Ollyy / Ollyy

A better bet? Figure out how much sleep you need on a nightly basis and make sure to get that amount.

2. Stay curled up.

So you avoided the snooze (congrats!) and now you’re lying awake in bed. Use this time to make yourself as big as possible — physically.

According to Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, stretching out wide is a way to build confidence as you launch into your day.

Though it’s impossible to say whether people feel good because they stretch out or vice versa, Cuddy explained during a talk at New York’s 92Y that the people who wake up with their arms in a V ”are super happy, like annoyingly happy.”

By contrast, she said there’s some preliminary evidence that people who wake up in a fetal ball ”wake up much more stressed out”.

3. Check email.

If you sleep near your phone, it’s easy to roll over and start mindlessly scrolling through your inbox.

Don’t do it.

As Julie Morgenstern, author of the book Never Check Email in the Morningtold The Huffington Post, if you start your morning this way, “you’ll never recover”.

“Those requests and those interruptions and those unexpected surprises and those reminders and problems are endless,” she said. “There is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes.”

shutterstock_162779405 Shutterstock / Ditty_about_summer Shutterstock / Ditty_about_summer / Ditty_about_summer

Instead, Morgenstern suggests that if you’re going to do some work, make it a project that requires considerable focus.

4. Leave your bed unmade.

Why make your bed? After all, you’re just going to mess it up when you sleep in it later.

True. But according to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better, making your bed is associated with increased productivity throughout the rest of the day.

Again, it’s unclear whether making your bed causes you to be more productive or if super-organised people are more likely to make their bed.

But Duhigg writes that making your bed is a “keystone habit” that can spark “chain reactions that help other good habits take hold”.

5. Drink coffee.

If you think you can’t function until you’ve downed a cup o’ Joe, think again.

Your body naturally produces higher amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which regulates energy, between 8 and 9am. So for most people, the best time to drink coffee is after 9.30am.

shutterstock_321227276 Shutterstock / Morganka Shutterstock / Morganka / Morganka

If you consume caffeine before then, your body will start adjusting by producing less cortisol in the early morning — meaning you’ll be creating the problem you fear.

6. Get ready in the dark.

Keeping the lights off and the shades down might seem like a softer way to transition into the day.

Yet your internal body clock is designed to be sensitive to light and darkness, Natalie Dautovich of the National Sleep Foundation told The Huffington Post. So getting ready in the dark could signal to your body that it’s still nighttime and could make you feel even groggier.

If it’s still dark outside when you wake up, Dautovich recommends turning on a strong light, like the ones used to treat seasonal affective disorder.

7. Play it by ear.

Maybe you’ll sip some water. Maybe you’ll listen to some tunes. Maybe you’ll call a friend.

These activities in and of themselves are fine — but it’s best if you incorporate them into some kind of routine. As in: wake up, drink water while listening to music, get dressed, call a friend on the way to the train.

Scientists say our willpower is limited and when we expend it early on in the day trying to decide what to do next, we have less left later in the day when we need to concentrate on work. Instead, let your brain run on automatic in the morning and conserve those mental resources for when you really need them.

- Shana Lebowitz

Read: These five-minute daily habits will seriously improve your life

Read: An Oxford professor has won €637,000 for solving a 300-year-old mathematical mystery

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