How To Wake Yourself Up

We are not all morning people, and some find waking up an arduous task. Suppose your lifestyle requires you to be on the go in the morning. 

The tips listed below will provide various ways to wake yourself up when those few extra minutes in bed become too tempting.

1. Get Up Immediately

Getting up and out of bed as soon as your eyes open may seem torture for non-morning people. 

But the longer you stay in bed, the higher your risk is of falling back asleep and restarting a new REM cycle. This could see you waking up feeling even more exhausted. 

Tip: Place your alarm clock away from your bedside so that you are required to get out of bed

2. Let Natural Light Into Your Room

Your body should instinctively wake up when the sun appears unless your blinds block any natural light.

Either switch to curtaining that allows the sun to shine into your room or open them as soon as you are out of bed.

Tip: Open your windows and allow fresh air (weather permitting) to wake your sleepy self up further.

3. Splash Your Face With Cold Water

There is a logic behind the cartoonish skits of throwing water over someone to rouse them out of deep sleep.

Many people even swear by dunking their faces in bowls of ice water to cure fatigue or hangovers. However, submerging your face in ice water for prolonged periods can damage your skin.

Instead, opt for a splash of cold water and, if you’re brave enough, a cold shower.

A cold shower in the morning doesn’t sound very appealing. Still, the health benefits that come with it certainly are.

Tip: invest in a cool gel eye mask that is refrigerated if the ice and water are too extreme and time-consuming.

Extended Cut: Wim Hof Explains Benefits of Cold Showers

4. Get Your Body Moving

Getting up and getting moving is probably the last thing on your mind. Many people would take “five more minutes” of sleep over five minutes of exercise.

This doesn’t mean you are expected to do a full cardio workout. Doing stretches and light exercises will get your blood flowing to all your organs and increase your energy levels.

A morning workout routine has been shown to keep energy levels steady throughout the day. The endorphins will also have a positive impact on your mental state.

These are just a few benefits, but Healthline has identified 13 benefits associated with a morning workout routine.

Tip: Start with a morning exercise regime and slowly build up to a level of activity you are comfortable with. Do not overexert yourself if this is a new undertaking.

Morning Yoga Flow | Yoga With Adriene

5. Understand Your REM Cycle And Circadian Rhythms 

By researching and understanding the REM cycle and circadian rhythms and how they work, you could hold the key to waking up naturally and without feeling exhausted. 

Imagine that your circadian rhythm refers to the 24-hour cycle and relates to the changes (physical, behavioral, and mental) that occur in most living things during this period.

This includes waking up and sleeping. Circadian rhythms affect your sleep and other health factors such as digestion, body temperature, and hormone release.

Small things like the light from your phone or laptop screen can affect your circadian rhythm and, by extension, your sleep quality.

A REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle refers more specifically to the different stages of sleep concerning your brain activity.

There are three stages of REM sleep. 

  1. Stage 1: light sleep, the mind begins to quieten, the body relaxes, lasts five to ten minutes
  2. Stage 2: slower brain waves, eye movent stops, body temperature drops, heart rate slows, muscles relax.
  3. Stage 3: deep sleep, very slow brain waves, no eye movement, no muscle activity.

The non-REM stage (stage 3) of sleep is the most crucial, as this is when your body truly rests, resets, and regenerates.

Tip: read up on The Sleep Foundations article regarding circadian rhythm and things that may be disrupting it. Make minor adjustments to ensure you get the best sleep possible.

6. Entice Yourself With Breakfast Or Coffee

For many, the primary motivation for getting out of bed is that first cup of coffee. Coffee has become synonymous with waking up.

Apart from your caffeine fix, there are wide varieties of delicious foods that are proven to facilitate the waking-up process.

These foods will also ensure you don’t succumb to a mid-morning sugar crash.

They weren’t lying when they said breakfast was the day’s most important meal. So why not make it something you can look forward to?

Eating soon after waking doesn’t sit well with everyone, so if this is the case, you could have a smoothie or pressed juice.

If you need ideas, Byrdie.com posted a medically reviewed article written by health and fitness writer Leoni Jesner which lists the best foods for morning energy boosts.

Tip: prepare a delicious breakfast that you can look forward to in the morning. Prepare as much as you can the night before so that your morning tasks require minimal effort.

delicious looking breakfast

7. Play Your Favorite Tunes

It has been scientifically proven that music affects a person’s mood. Do you have a playlist of feel-good tunes that you can’t help but move to?

Do they immediately elevate your mood? If yes, then play it! (do be considerate of other sleeping persons within earshot, though). Listening to upbeat, energetic music will place you in the right mindset to tackle your day ahead.

You could be doing everything else to wake yourself up.

However, if your mind is still tucked away under the covers dreading the day that lay before you, your efforts may be fruitless. (even with all the fruit in your smoothie).

Tip: compile a playlist suited to your taste and switch it on as soon as possible. If you are at a loss for what constitutes a good “morning playlist,” you can check out MBG Health’s list of “scientifically proven” songs to best listen to after waking up.

8. Motivate Yourself With An Inspirational Podcast 

As mentioned, a large part of waking up in the morning is not the physical but the mental aspect.

Your reasons for finding it difficult to wake up in the morning could be more profound than just not getting enough sleep.

Unfortunately, lack of sleep is a vicious cycle. It has far-reaching implications which could just end up perpetuating the underlying causes.

Listening to a podcast may seem simplistic when dealing with a mental struggle that hinders your ability to wake up, but words have power.

Sometimes all you need is reassurance and words of motivation to give you that extra bit of oomph.

Tip: experiment with podcasts to find one that engages and inspires you. Forbes has put together a list of the best podcasts to get your day off to a positive start. Ranging from the familiar voice of Oprah Winfrey to guided meditation.

Woman with yellow shirt sitting on steps with a coffee and a smartphone and earphones

9. Make Use Of Specialized Alarm Apps

Waking up hasn’t been the same for many people since the invention of the snooze button.

If this is the main culprit for waking yourself up in the morning, you might need to update your alarm.

Tip: apps such as Barcode Alarm Clock, SpinMe Alarm Clock, and Alarmy Pro take extra measures to ensure you get up and out of bed. They do this by requiring specific actions or barcodes to be scanned before switching off.

10. Make Sure You Are Well Rested

Saving the most obvious for last; get enough sleep. Seems easy enough, right?

With all the information provided here, you can determine the most effective way to wake up in the morning and the best course of action to ensure you are getting your required amount of zzzs.