There’s plenty of good advice about adopting good sleeping habits: switching off your phone an hour before bed, checking your sleep cycles and even just making sure you get enough sleep. While this advice is useful for sleeping in general, sometimes we have to wake a little earlier for an early flight or some one-off event that requires us to look for a solution apart from improving our habits. Needless to say, it sometimes isn’t enough just to adopt good sleeping habits to ensure we wake up when we need to. Sometimes, we need to use more clever techniques to ensure we don’t oversleep and there are plenty of techniques that you can use to help wake yourself up.
It is still advisable to understand your sleep cycles. If you can time it right, you might be able to wake up bang in the middle of two sleep cycles, the easiest time to get up. But by understanding the chemistry and biology of our sleep, we can look for ways to get up easier. For example, melatonin is the sleep hormone that regulates our sleep. Our body produces melatonin in the absence of blue light, so if you open your curtains and let the light in, this light will signal to your body that it’s time to get up (however this will only really work in summer when the sun is up early enough). But also, you can take this a step further and open the window and let in some fresh air as this has been shown to reduce fatigue and even stress.
A good overarching piece of advice to help jolt yourself awake is to find some way to ‘energise’ yourself by stimulating your brain. A great way to do this is to get your blood pumping, so how can you do this? For one, you can try tugging your hair to get blood flowing through your head and more importantly, your brain. But if you find this a bit extreme, you can also massage your ears to stimulate blood flow as well. If you consider yourself more erudite, grab a sudoku or some type of puzzle which you can solve for a couple of minutes just to stimulate your brain. This will also be sure to help you wake up if you can’t seem to get your blood flow going. You can even find simple things to do like making your bed just to make sure you are concentrating instead of zoning out and dozing off straight away. Plus, it’s a little less tempting to tuck right back in and ruin all those sheets you put that hard work into making.
So what about food and drink? Can that make a difference? The answer is yes, there are indeed some food items that can be greatly useful if you want to wake up early. If you can get your hands on an apple the night before you go to sleep, save it up till the morning. Not only is it considered a very good natural toothbrush, but it also contains natural sugars that can help stabilise your blood pressure and energise you. Bananas and oranges can also provide this same effect, although apples are optimal. Due to their effervescence, mints are also very useful and if they contain menthol, this will be sure to give you a kick. Finally, try drinking some very cold water (although this might not go well with the mint) to get your adrenaline going and increase the blood flow to your brain. While you can try having tea or coffee, it perhaps isn’t something you can get your hands on the moment you wake up. But definitely keep an apple, some strong mints and cold water on your bedside table if you ever need to wake up early.
The great thing about many of these techniques is that they are useful in more than just waking you up. A lot of these techniques are so good at helping you get up because in general, they promote a healthy lifestyle and keep your body in a good condition. So if you want to reap even more benefits than just being able to wake up in the morning, try a few push-ups in the morning to keep fit and eat more healthily. Avoiding sugar for example is not only healthy, but prevents an energy crash later on in the day which will be vital in staying up after an early morning. So make use of these techniques and it will make mornings much easier, especially when you absolutely need to wake up early. While your body does have certain back-up systems (so if you need to wake up early for whatever reason, your body sends biological signals so that you get up earlier), it’s better to be safe than sorry.