Written by: Cassie Bondie
We all know that starting a new day can be difficult – especially when you have to wake up to an alarm five or six days each week. Waking up is the most important moment of your day. Your mindset during these critical hours can determine your attitude, stress level, and productivity for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Far too many men and women believe that early mornings are frustrating and unavoidable. Instead of hating the early hours of your day, try enjoying them and taking advantage of your quiet time before work. If utilized correctly, you could end up changing your outlook on early rising.
By being well prepared and following these tips, you can ensure that most days are great days.
11 Ways to Have a Better Morning
- Choose the Right Mattress
It all starts with choosing the right mattress for your body and sleeping position. If you have trouble sleeping at night, and your mattress is more than five years old, you might want to invest in a new mattress that will help you stay comfortable. After all, sleeping well at night is the easiest way to have a productive, positive morning. If you are constantly struggling to fall asleep and you experience frequent discomfort, your mattress could be costing you necessary hours of sleep.
Start with your sleeping position. Are you primarily a side sleeper, back sleeper, or stomach sleeper? Our Comfort Scale rates mattresses on a ten point metric, with 1 being the firmest and 10 being the softest. Back sleepers can use just about any mattress, but tend to stick to the firm half of the scale, or Comfort Scale ratings between 1 and 5. Stomach sleepers should choose a mattress that is firm so as to not sink in and arch the lower back, but not so hard as to put pressure on the stomach and rib cage. Stomach sleepers tend to do best on mattresses with a Comfort Scale rating between 3 and 6. Side sleepers should choose a mattress with a soft Comfort Scale rating of 6 or higher, as they require a soft mattress that will contour effectively to the hips and shoulders.
Multi-position sleepers and couples may want a mid-range Comfort Scale rating of 5 or 6 that will have the versatility to work reasonably well with all sleeping positions.
2. Prepare Nightly
The more prepared you are when you wake up in the morning, the easier your day will be. Nightly chores before sleep could include laying out clothes for the next day, packing a lunch, cleaning the kitchen (instead of leaving those pesky dishes for the morning), taking out the trash, and de-cluttering your living space. The best start you can give yourself each morning is a fresh start – with no mess or to-dos left from the previous day.
You’ll also find that preparing at night speeds up your morning process. This could, eventually, allow you to spend more time sleeping and less time getting ready while you are groggy and grumpy.
3. Turn Off Your Phone
Just before you go to sleep, consider putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” – if possible. If not, turn down your volume for notifications and games. You should also place your phone in an area where, if it goes off, the light won’t wake you up.
Light from cell phones can seriously inhibit your ability to sleep at night. This is partially because of our attachment to technology and partially because of the light that touches our eyes. If you must use your phone, keep the brightness down as low as possible.
4. No More Snooze Button
If you are able to turn off the snooze function on your alarm, you should do so. If you are unable to turn off the snooze function, you should resist the temptation to hit the button and catch ten more minutes of sleep. Instead, set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier than you need to get out of bed. Instead of sleeping again, you can relax for several minutes before getting up.
Remember, though, that you can’t fall back asleep after your alarm goes off. There won’t be a snooze alarm to save you. You can choose to set a second alarm just in case – but this may defeat the purpose.
When we snooze, our REM sleep is interrupted multiple times as we wake up to turn off our alarm. These interruptions can seriously disturb our sleep cycle, thus stealing precious sleep time from the following night.
The first thing you should do after opening your eyes is stretch. Experts suggest that you stretch each limb, in addition to fingers, toes, and your neck – each for at least fifteen seconds. It may also help to try a few popular yoga positions. You can find these position on YouTube or through a Wii Fit. There are plenty of resources to help you start your day more comfortably. The best part? Stretching and yoga will only take a few minutes. Feeling stiff and disjointed can last for an entire day.
6. Start With Breakfast
If you wake up before ten o’clock in the morning for work, school, or other responsibilities, you should absolutely start your day with a well-rounded breakfast. Eggs, toast, and a glass of juice (or milk) will go a long way to avoid binging at lunchtime and losing energy in the afternoon. Even though you might have to wake up even earlier to prepare breakfast, you’ll be thankful you made the effort.
If you don’t have time for breakfast (maybe you work at six o’clock in the morning and don’t want to make too much noise in the kitchen), consider eating a granola bar and having that glass of juice. These two components alone are far more beneficial than you might realize. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day for early risers.
7. Organize Your Day
For many busy individuals, the early morning hours are used to jot down notes in a planner, organize a calendar, send necessary emails, and fill out paperwork. Rather than waiting to handle these arbitrary matters in the evening (or during work hours), take some quiet time to handle them first thing after breakfast – or even while you’re eating.
Staying on top of your finances, correspondence, and paperwork can make you feel “ahead” while you work, giving you the confidence and comfort you need to get through the day.
8. Drink Water
After having your juice or milk with breakfast, you should try to stick to water until lunch. More importantly, you should make a point to drink at least two cups of water each morning. This will give you a hydrated and motivated boost to push you through the afternoon. It will also get you into the habit of drinking water throughout the course of the day. Water is incredibly important for our bodies to function properly – and most of us don’t drink enough. You’ll find the benefits of drinking water are both surprising and significant.
9. Don’t Fight Morning Light
Many of us avoid the initial discomfort of bright morning light. But instead of hiding from the sun, you should embrace it by opening blinds and curtains. Why? Because this natural light will let your body know it’s time to get moving. This is true, even if you don’t realize it or feel it happening.
It all comes down to embracing the start of a new day. If you can do this, morning light will improve your mood and energy levels.
10. Take a Shower
For a fresh start, take a shower – and don’t be afraid to pamper yourself. This is your opportunity to feel attractive, comfortable, and clean. Most men and women don’t shower every single day. But on those special days, take advantage of the warm water and allow your mind to wander. You’ll find that shower time is wonderful reflection time, even when you didn’t think you had anything to reflect about.
11. Trust Your Biological Clock
If (and when) you get tired at night, trust your biological clock. Rather than filling up on sugar or caffeine and trying to push through those extra hours, go to sleep and call it a night. Your body will thank you the next day, when it is fully prepared for the tasks ahead. When you fail to trust your biological instincts, it can take a very long time to get them on track again. This can affect your mood, weight, and general positivity.
The bottom line is that having a better morning starts with the decisions you make prior to going to sleep – including having a good mattress, trusting your biological instincts, turning off your phone, and preparing for the next day. It continues after your alarm rings – when you stretch, make breakfast, organize your day, drink water, and take a shower. From that point forward, the day is entirely yours. Now that you’ve started it right, you should feel unstoppable.
To get into these habits, introduce them slowly to your lifestyle – from beginning to end. While it might be impossible to accomplish everything at once, it is possible to take it one step at a time.
And remember, it all starts with getting great sleep and choosing the right mattress for the job.
We can help you there.