Sorry, night owls: The American business hours definitely have a bias for the early birds. If you’re not a morning person, even a 9 a.m. start to the workday can be a struggle. But some people have to clock in at 7 a.m., catch a bus at dawn, or be up to get the kids ready to school.
Even if you’re not a morning person, you can trick your body into cooperating with your unpleasantly early alarm clock. For a better, more alert morning, try these tips:
1. Turn on all the lights ASAP.
Jump out of bed and flip on the light switch—or better yet, open up the curtains if the sun has risen. Bright light tells your body to stop producing melatonin, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Melatonin is a hormone that helps control your sleep cycle.
Another way to get some light first thing is to be awoken by a “sunrise alarm clock.” These alarm clocks mimic a sunrise and slowly fill your room with light when it’s time to wake up.
2. Get your heart pumping.
The ideal option is to sneak in a quick workout, but not everyone has the time (or desire) to get in a full sweat sesh after your morning alarm goes off. If the morning workout isn’t an option for you, just do some quick jumping jacks to get your blood flowing. Better yet, take a brisk walk around the block. (Check out this morning workout that starts in bed.)
When you exercise, it increases blood flow and releases endorphins—both of which can boost your energy levels. Here are more natural energy boosters for the morning.
3. Have breakfast.
What better reason to get out of bed than to eat? This one is common sense. Food = energy, so having a nutritious and balanced breakfast right away may help you feel more energized.
4. Make use of citrus.
You might be one of the many people who finds the scent of citrus invigorating. Try including orange wedges or grapefruit with your breakfast, add lemon to your morning tea, put citrus-scented essential oil in a diffuser, or use citrus-scented body wash, soap, face wash, or lotion.
5. Don’t. Hit. Snooze.
One of the most open secrets of the self-proclaimed morning person is never hitting the snooze button. It might be tempting to think, “Just a little bit longer” and tap that simple snooze option on your phone, but the truth is, those nine extra minutes won’t help you feel more rested.
Nine minutes is simply not enough time for a complete sleep cycle, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In fact, because you’re disrupting a sleep cycle, you might wake up from your snooze feeling even groggier.
If resisting snooze is hard for you, keep your alarm (or smartphone) on the other side of the room so you have to roll out of bed to turn it off. (Just don’t crawl back into bed afterwards, OK?)
If you’re still waking up exhausted, you might need to address your entire sleep hygiene. Here are the daily habits of people who sleep well every night, and check out these tips for a better bedtime routine.