Like most of us, I’m not a morning person. I struggle to get up, and even when I do, I end up staggering around the house like a cast member of the Walking Dead. I get enough sleep*, but just can’t seem to get myself into gear when my alarm goes off - so after getting some tips and tricks from the early risers in the CRU office, I decided to spend a month trying to transform my morning routine.
One key aspect of waking up right is getting everything ready the night before. It may not seem like much, but for normally-unorganised people like me, knowing that I won’t spend frantic minutes searching for my headphones or that one grey top makes a huge difference. Little things all add to something big, so here’s a list of my top ‘to-dos’ for the evening before.
Don’t leave your alarm on your bedside table; instead, pop it out of reach and force yourself to get out of bed to turn it off. This helps your body wake up - even if it means getting out of that warm bed. Another tried and tested tip is to open your curtains as soon as you get up, letting as much natural light in as possible. It may not seem like much (especially in the depths of winter), but every little helps!
This may seem obvious, but setting your alarm for the right time is an important step to waking up right. As a serial snoozer, I used to have 3 alarms (06:00, 06:20 & 06:30) before I woke up properly. I used to think this would ‘ease’ me into wakefulness, but this is one of the worst routines to get into - and for me, it was the hardest to break. My method was to set just one alarm for the latest possible time (06:30), forcing myself to get up then and there, or end up getting into work late.
The first week was hard, but after a while, my body started reacting differently - treating my alarm as a command as opposed to an annoyance. About two weeks after this, in preparation of the next step (see below) I started setting my alarm slightly earlier (06:15), and my body responded perfectly.
Getting out of bed’s one thing, but getting ready for the day is another thing entirely.
Now, working for a coffee company, I’m obviously a bit biased, but for me, there’s nothing better in the morning than a great cup of coffee. Coffee kick starts your metabolism, and starts that all important adrenaline pumping - which is great if you're looking to bring some exercise into your mornings (see below).
Instead of my usual routine of popping in a capsule and chucking it in my travel mug - slurping it whenever I got a chance during my commute, I decided to take the 15mins I’d saved and savour my morning coffee. Whether it was a morning Light Roast capsule or an espresso brewed with my Mini Express, I made sure I made time to sit down and savour my coffee - and it completely changed my morning.
Before I knew it, I was making to-do lists, spending time scratching away in my sketchbook and catching up on my life admin (I made a conscious effort not to spend any time on work-work). In a blink, my coffee was transformed from a basic caffeine injection into an integral part of my routine - and something that I looked forward to every morning.
We’ve heard it all before but really, it changes everything. Now, I didn’t do much - just over 5 minutes of stretches ending with some more intensive power moves before I jumped into the shower - but it really gets your morning going. I live with two runners, one of which manages a 4km jog every. Single. Morning. I’m not quite on that level yet, but it’s something I’m working towards.
I want to stress that you don’t need to do this all at once - I certainly didn’t. Start with getting yourself prepared the night before, and maybe moving your alarm out of reach. Build up to the others - especially when it comes to setting some time aside to carve out your own 15 minute morning break. Everyone deals with mornings differently, but with a bit of effort, you should be able to make yourself feel better about that alarm going off in the morning.
*Another point I want to make is that I’ve deliberately not touched on anything to do with ‘sleep’ itself. If you’re struggling to get to sleep, or think you’re not getting enough, then there are some great resources online that you can use. Alternatively, have a chat with your GP - especially if you think it’s affecting your health (either physically or mentally).