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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Alarm clock picture via Shutterstock

7 tricks to waking up earlier

Rise and shine sleepyheads, it’s a new day.

NOT ONLY DOES the early bird get the worm, he’s generally happier and has a higher overall satisfaction with his life.

“We don’t know why this is, but there are a few potential explanations. Evening people may be more prone to social jet lag; this means that their biological clock is out of sync with the social clock,” Renee Biss, a researcher wrote in a study conducted by the University of Toronto.

“Society’s expectations are far more organized around a morning-type person’s schedule.”

Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute, told us that “lack of sleep can manifest itself in erratic behavior, short tempers, and bad decision-making.”

Sleep-deprived people also have difficulty remembering details, and don’t deal as well in high-pressured situations such as meetings or new business pitches.

And it’s getting worse nowadays because of technology usage. Young adults in their 20s are experiencing earlier signs of aging attributed to sleep loss.

So if you’re not a born early riser how do you acquire good sleep habits? We compiled some tips to help you get an early start on the day

1. Skip the caffeine
According to a study published in the journal SLEEP, caffeine intake six hours before bedtime is just as disruptive as caffeine three hours before. We know it’s delicious but it’s for your own good.

2. Limit technology usage before bedtime
“Your bedroom should be reserved for sleep, sex, and nothing else,” Oexman told us. “There’s no excuse – if your cell phone is your alarm clock, then buy a $5 alarm clock and solve the problem.”

3. Mentally prepare yourself before you go to sleep

Jeff Goins wrote in his blog that you need to make decisions before you go to sleep, because you can’t trust your brain in the morning.
“When I realized waking up early is a battle fought on two fronts, everything changed. We must prepare our bodies, but we must also trick our sleepy minds,” he said. This could help you avoid a potentially disastrous outfit choice on casual Friday.

4. Wake up to light

Meredith Jaeger advised in her blog that you should sleep with the curtains open so that sunlight can come through your window in the morning. If you’re unable to experience sunlight from your bedroom window, get a timer that increases light intensity, which resembles the sun. Some of these models also have built in alarm clocks.

5. Don’t hit the snooze button

It might be tempting to hit your snooze button to sleep for a few more minutes and we’re all guilty of it, but this doesn’t actually help you, Jaeger wrote. This is because the 15 to 20 extra minutes of sleep won’t give you any restful REM sleep and you might even feel more groggy when the alarm goes off again.

Hitting the snooze button is also habit-forming and the more you do it, the more you’ll likely do it in the future.

“Alarms should be there to remind you to wake up, not wake you up after six snooze hits,” Oexman said.

It might also help to keep your alarm clock far away from your bed so that you’re forced to get up in order to turn it off.

6. Find an alarm that doesn’t make you angry

Seth Simonds at Lifehack advised that you should “experiment a bit and see what works best for you. Light, sound, smells, temperature, or even some contraption that dumps water on you might be more pleasant than your old alarm clock.” High pitched, irritating ring tones will haunt your dreams and ruin your life.

7. Have a morning routine

You need to get your blood flowing when you wake up whether this is stretching, crunches, jump roping or going for a walk to the nearby coffee shop, you need to “chase the sleep from your head,” Simonds wrote.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that what you do during the daytime will affect your sleep at night, so quit beating yourself up with a bad diet and poor sleeping habits.

- Vivian Giang

- Additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

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