Ugh, how to wake up in the morning. We try so hard to like you, but despite our best efforts we dread coming face-to-face with you every day. Morning crankiness is a real thing. As Huff Post reports, according to Allison G. Harvey, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and director of the Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic, “grouchiness, however long it lasts, is associated with the “sleep inertia” phase—a transitional period of grogginess that typically lasts between five and 20 minutes after a person first wakes, though it can go on for some time longer.” Unfortunately, being cranky in the morning is not uncommon, but the good news is that it’s also not an indication of depression on a larger scale. Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health explains that typically “morning grumpiness is simply a symptom of our over-scheduled life, with too little sleep and not enough things that bring us joy on a day to day basis.”
So how to wake up in the morning and change your life and your attitude so that you don’t suffer from a perpetual bad mood every day? Here are some tips to help you become a morning person, or at least learn how to fake it.
Maintain a Sleep Routine
It can be hard to calm down at the end of a long, stressful day, especially if you go to sleep at a different time each night and you are doing activities that boost your energy right before you crawl into bed. If you want to wake up feeling refreshed, rested, and ready to tackle tomorrow, you need to get a good night’s sleep tonight. Start a nighttime routine that helps you relax your mind and body so you can drift off to sleep more easily. Turn off the TV, stop checking your email, sip a cup of tea, and just let yourself unwind. Create a routine that works for you, and stick to it every night.
Put your Phone Away
When your day is done, eliminate any distractions that could keep you up at night and could keep your mind churning when you are supposed to be resting. No social media, no emails, no voicemails and no spending hours on People.com or whatever food blog you’re addicted to. Just tune out and enjoy the quiet. Similarly, when you first wake up, our instinct is often to grab for our phones right away. Resist the urge, as you do not want to start your day with bad news or a demanding email from your boss that might infuse anger or stress into your morning.
Workout in the Morning
Research has shown that working out in the morning has tons of health and emotional benefits. First of all, it eliminates any chance of last minute meetings/commitments interfering with your workout time. Secondly, you’ll be more focused and more productive throughout your day, explains Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD, nationally recognized nutrition and fitness expert. You’ll also feel more energized in all the activities that follow, and your metabolism will increase throughout the day. Bottom line: if you work out in the morning you will start your morning on the right foot and set a positive tone for a successful day.
Plan the Night Before
Plan ahead as much as you can is a great way to think about how to wake up in the morning. Pick your clothing the night before, put all the dishes and laundry away the night before, map out your breakfast the night before, and set up your coffee pot the night before. That cup of hot, delicious, soothing and jolt-you-out-of-zombie-mode coffee could be the difference between a slow morning and a great day, so get it ready to go before you doze off. Then you can wake up and take your time getting ready and joining the land of the living.
Laura Maciuika, clinical psychologist and author of Conscious Calm: Keys to Freedom from Stress and Worry, explains in Psychology Today that morning meditation is great because “your routine first thing in the morning sets the tone for the entire day.” While meditation can seem a bit daunting, even something as simple as “putting your attention on slower, deeper breathing—even for just five minutes—early in the day before getting busy with anything” can help.
Eat a Good Breakfast
If you skip breakfast because you’re in a rush, then you will spend your morning cranky, hungry and with very little energy. That isn’t such a great way to start your day. According to Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D., a Washington D.C. based nutrition and exercise expert, “after sleeping all night, our metabolism and blood sugar are at their lowest; we need a healthy breakfast to re-energize us.” Eat a balanced breakfast loaded with protein so that you have the energy and attitude to take on the day.