I have a confession: Every morning I wake up, turn off my alarm, and want to go back to sleep.
I just don’t like getting out of bed. I never have. I spent decades succumbing to the snooze button, thinking that it must have meant I needed more sleep, and for a long time, I was right. But now that I’ve improved my sleep habits, I still don’t wake up feeling great, even though I’m sleeping well.
I have realized recently, after finally getting my sleep habits in order, that not wanting to get out of bed every morning doesn't mean I need more sleep. It just means I like my bed, and it’s possible that my alarm is waking me up in the middle of a deep sleep. That’s why getting your circadian rhythm, your internal body clock, in order, is so important. Waking up naturally, instead of being jolted out of a deep sleep by an alarm, is easier and way more enjoyable.
THERE IS A POINT HERE!
The point of this post is to let you know that not everybody springs out of bed every morning and twirls with cartoon birds on their arms Cinderella-style, and it doesn't necessarily mean you're sleep-deprived. It might just mean that you’re not naturally a morning person.
For the record, I am a morning person mentally and emotionally. I like my life, and I wake up feeling happy and positive. BUT physically I am not a morning person. My body doesn’t like waking up from a good sleep, and I don’t like getting out of bed. There IS a difference.
I do have to say, that although this is an insomnia podcast, this episode is for the people whose sleep has improved (hopefully from incorporating the skills you’ve learned from this podcast), but you aren’t waking up feeling amazing. Before you start to worry that you’re doing something wrong, try a few things first. You might just need some extra time to wake up. You’ll know later in the day if you need more sleep. Your body is good at that.
WHEN YOU DON'T LIKE MORNINGS
This is something I’ve been working on lately - my disgust for mornings. And again, I know part of it has to do with my loving sleep and not wanting to leave the warm coziness of my bed. There are a few things I’ve been doing to help me get out of bed.
First, I go to bed around the same time every night and get up around the same time every morning. For me, those times are 10pm to 6am. Sticking to a regular sleep-wake cycle has helped me wake up naturally around the time my alarm is supposed to go off. It’s usually between 5:30 and 5:50. My body likes that time, and 7-7.5 hours of sleep works for me.
In the past, waking up before my alarm meant I had more time to sleep. Today, waking up before my alarm means it’s time to get up now. Because falling back asleep never feels as good as I think it will. Now, I’m not talking about waking up in the middle of the night and getting out of bed hours before you’re supposed to. I’m talking about waking up within 30 minutes of your alarm. I think it’s safe to say anything less than 30 minutes will be better spent waking up slowly rather than cramming in more poor-quality sleep.
A lot of sleep experts will disagree with me on this, but the first thing I do, after turning on a small lamp beside my bed, is reach for my phone. I have a blue light filter on my phone that doesn’t turn off until later in the morning, so I’m using the non-blue light from my phone to help wake me up. I scroll through Instagram, which is my favorite app, and within a few minutes I’m ready to get out of bed. If you don’t like Instagram on an empty stomach, choose another app you love. Just make it happy, and resist anything stressful, like news or email.
Other things you could do… look at adorable photos of your kids or pets on your phone, send a Good Morning text to a few people to let them know you’re thinking about them, or sit up in bed and stretch. Or… I don’t know. You think of one!
Once I’m up, I open the curtains to let the natural light in. I welcome the day by saying something cheesy out loud like, “Good morning!” or “What a Beautiful Day!”
Now let’s talk movement. And I don’t mean movement of the bowel variety, although I must admit, it is a part of my morning routine. Exercise is what I meant! I spend the first 45 minutes of my day walking. I love walking, because the air and the sunshine help me wake up, I can listen to music or an audiobook, I stop at Starbucks for a coffee and a chat with my favorite baristas, and walking stops my knees from cracking every time I bend down. Designing this morning routine has made getting out of bed easier, because I have something to look forward to. I make playlists full of happy music, and I download books that keep me coming back for more. You don’t have to do what I do, but find something you like so getting up every morning isn’t something that makes you groan.
How would you like to start the first hour of every day?
Design a morning routine that delights you and you’ll set the intention for the next 24 hours. Your morning can be rushed and stressful, or it can be calm and enjoyable. It’s completely up to you!
This blog post is a transcript of a podcast episode by the same name. The CALM+COZY Insomnia Podcast can be found on iTunes, Spotify, or HERE.