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How to wake up naturally: 16 ideas to try

man on bed and duvet cover

There are two types of people in this world: early risers who jump out of bed at the first light of the sun and night owls who pull the covers over their heads when it's time to wake up.

Even if you fall into the second category, you can learn to love mornings. Small changes to your routine can make a drastic difference and help you feel ready to take on the day.

Some of these tips can be added to your morning routine to help you feel more alert. Others can be implemented as lifestyle changes to ensure you get enough sleep and are ready for the next day. Here are some tips to help you get enough sleep and wake up early.

1. Avoid pressing the “Snooze” button

It may be tempting to sleep a few more minutes, but resisting the temptation will make it easier to get up. Indeed, "drockling" (an official term coined by sleep specialists in the 1970s) disrupts your body's internal clock and causes this groggy feeling called "sleep inertia." Sleep inertia can last two to four hours, making those extra ten to twenty minutes less appealing when considering the day as a whole.

2. Expose yourself to bright light

Your body needs natural light to reset your internal clock. Start your day by opening the blinds, but remember that filtered sunlight is not enough. It is best to expose yourself to direct sunlight. Within an hour of waking up, try to go out for a walk or have breakfast on the terrace.

3. Make the bed

No matter how fast your morning routine is, you can take a few minutes to make the bed. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, gets you moving, and makes it harder to crawl under the covers.

4. Drink a glass of orange juice

Not only do the natural sugars in orange juice give you a boost, but its bright color can help boost focus and increase energy. Pour yourself a glass in the morning to enjoy the visual effects, nutrients and energy boost.

5. Enjoy a cup of coffee

The sound and smell of freshly brewed coffee can be heavenly when you're having trouble getting out of bed. Caffeine increases levels of serotonin and dopamine, which helps ward off the blues, gives you energy, and helps you focus. If you don't drink coffee, you can always opt for a cup of black or green tea.

6. Drink two glasses of water

Before you rush to the jug, you should rehydrate after going hours without water. This can reboot your system and ensure that your bodily processes are working efficiently. Starting the day with two glasses of water will help you stay hydrated and feel more awake.

7. Stretch

After six to eight hours of stillness, our body needs to move. Add stretching to your morning routine to release buildup of connective tissue in your muscles and reduce stiffness. Stretching helps wake up the body by stimulating circulation and reducing pain.

8. Start your day with a workout

Exercising in the morning can promote deep sleep, meaning you wake up less often after falling asleep in the evening. It also helps get the blood circulating and makes you feel more alert in the moment (and throughout the day). Exercise is beneficial at any time of day, but be careful not to schedule a workout too close to bedtime or you may have trouble falling asleep.

9. Try aromatherapy

Certain scents like peppermint, citrus, rosemary and eucalyptus are known for their energizing properties. It's easy to incorporate these scents into your morning routine using essential oils, shampoos or shower gels. You can also try eating a grapefruit for breakfast or cutting up a lemon to add to your tea.

10. Listen to upbeat music

Just like some music is perfect for winding down at the end of the day, happy music in the morning can boost your mood and get your body moving. Instead of waking up to a buzzing sound that you can't wait to turn off, try setting your alarm to a song with an upbeat rhythm and positive vibe.

11. Meditate

Stress can make you feel tired, and meditation is a great way to reduce stress and improve focus. A few minutes of relaxation can help you feel more ready to take on the day and prevent you from feeling exhausted early in the morning. You can even use an app to replace your alarm with a guided meditation.

12. Eat protein for breakfast

Your body needs fuel to start the day, and the choices you make can leave you with an energy deficit (especially if you skip that all-important meal). A protein-rich breakfast improves human performance and alertness. Don't let lack of time make you miss breakfast; you can prepare all these ingredients into a delicious smoothie to go.

13. Use your natural circadian rhythm

Your circadian rhythm determines the time of day when you will feel alert or sleepy. If you get enough sleep (most people need seven to nine hours), you can train your body to wake up at the right time by creating a consistent rhythm. Move your bedtime forward by 15 minutes each week until you go to bed early enough to wake up feeling refreshed.

14. Forget afternoon coffee

Consuming caffeine six hours before bedtime has disruptive effects on sleep and can reduce total sleep time by up to an hour. If you know you have to go to bed at 10 p.m., you should avoid having coffee at 4 p.m. We can all get out of breath mid-afternoon, but our tips below will help you get through it without caffeine.

15. Avoid alcohol

Up to 20% of French people consume alcohol to fall asleep. Although it can make you feel sleepy, it interrupts your circadian rhythm and can wake you up in the middle of the night before you're truly rested. Additionally, a morning hangover can cause irritability, illness, or fatigue.

16. Calm down at bedtime

Resist the temptation to respond to one last email before falling asleep. Just like caffeine and alcohol, blue light can be overly stimulating before bed. It prevents the release of melatonin, which helps induce sleep and delays your body's internal clock. Consider setting a digital curfew a half hour to an hour before bed.

How to wake up instantly?

Mid-day blues are real, and turning to caffeine or sugar may seem like a quick fix. However, both of these products can keep you awake if you consume them too late in the day. The last thing you want is to start a cycle where you sleep even less. Luckily, we have some suggestions to help you wake up naturally.

Take a walk: Fresh air and sunshine will help you feel more alert, and exercise will get your heart pumping. If you can't go outside, stand and do some stretches to get your blood circulating.

Shock your body: Splash cold water on your face, drink a glass of ice water, or rub an ice cube on your wrist. The cold triggers the hormone adrenaline for a rapid stimulating effect.

Use peppermint: Peppermint oil is rejuvenating and energizing. It is known to stimulate memory and speed up the thinking process. You can also try peppermint tea or chewing gum.

Gently pull your hair: Pulling your hair can get blood flowing to your head, and the sensation can help you feel more alert.

Mentally shift gears: Studies show that brief distractions can help you refocus. Try doing a crossword or reading a novel to get your mind moving.

If you always wake up exhausted, you may need to look into the quality of your sleep. Investing in a comfortable duvet cover, sheets and pillowcases can help make your bedroom a peaceful haven. The amount of sleep you get each night, as well as the quality of that sleep, can make all the difference when it comes to waking up well-rested and refreshed.

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