Is there anything worse than waking up to your alarm on a dark winter morning?
If you're anything like us, you crack open a crusty eye and see that it's still pitch black out, stretch a gnarled claw out of your blanket cave to grab your phone, check the weather, see that it's a million degrees below zero and snowing AGAIN, no thanks, hit snooze, and repeat for 45 minutes or until the threat of losing your job due to tardiness becomes too real.
Well, Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan, a U.K. physiologist and sleep therapist, shared some tips that might help us all get out of bed in the morning. Because, unfortunately, hibernation isn't a feasible option.
Working on your sleep is really about working on your life. Funny that 🤔— Dr Nerina (@DrNerina) November 21, 2017
First, she recommends planning everything you need to get going the next morning the night before.
"Tell yourself and others that you're going to get up. Get things ready the night before – your clothes, your breakfast bowl, etc.," Ramlakhan told The Independent.
Next, Ramlakhan suggests you ditch the negative attitude ("I'm not a morning person") and embrace the power of self-suggestion ("I'm really looking forward to waking up in the morning"). Third, she suggests a simple trick: setting the heat to turn on about 10 minutes before your alarm goes off. This will help you resist the temptation to stay in bed to keep warm, Ramlakhan told The Independent.
Natural light will help tune your body in that it's time to wake up, so Ramlakhan suggests leaving the blinds partially open in the bedroom or investing in an alarm clock that mimics sunlight for the winter months.
Poor sleep is a real problem
Insufficient sleep is associated with a range of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, and depression, according to a 2017 report from Statistics Canada. Yet a third of Canadians ages 18 to 79 get fewer hours of sleep per night than they should, Statistics Canada said.
Adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, and seniors should get seven to eight, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Statistics Canada also found that 43 per cent of men and 55 per cent of women ages 18 to 64 had trouble going to sleep or staying asleep sometimes, most, or all of the time.
There are some simple tricks
Getting a good night's sleep is an important part of getting out of bed, so ban technology from the bedroom and try an "electronic sunset" 30-45 minutes before bed time, which includes turning off the TV and avoiding your phone, Ramlakhan said.
Some simple sleep tricks from other experts include wearing socks to bed (keeping your feet warm can help you stay asleep, according to a report from the Global Council on Brain Health), sleeping with the door or a window open (better-ventilated rooms lead to better sleep, according to a Dutch study), and avoiding alcohol before bed (according to research by Age UK and the American Association of Retired Persons).
On top of avoiding alcohol before bed, Ramlakhan also suggests drinking water as soon as you wake up and eating breakfast within 30 minutes to "raise your metabolism and entrain the body to start the day with more energy," she told The Independent.
Finally, Ramlakhan says some good, old-fashioned optimism will do wonders. Find something to look forward to, something worth getting out of bed for, and if you can't, ask yourself how you can change that, she told The Independent.
"It's a brave question to ask yourself but it will set you on the journey of finding out what you really want to wake up to in the mornings — and living the life you love."
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