3 simple tips to make your mornings easier
For those that are not naturally morning people, this time of year can be harder than usual. Daylight is in short supply, holiday stress levels are rising and those warm blankets are so inviting.
Despite the darkness outside, however, life goes on.
So how can you make mornings easier on yourself?
“Just a few small lifestyle changes can make a world of difference,” says Dr. Adam Kost, a hospitalist on staff at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “Improvements that make your day-to-day life less hectic can also have positive effects on both your physical and mental health.”
Prioritize quality sleep every night
Even early birds can have a difficult time as fall turns to winter.
“Many people need to wake up for work or school before the sun rises, which can play tricks on the brain,” says Dr. Kost. “If you’re exhausted on top of it, getting up on time can feel impossible.”
Getting enough sleep seems like common sense, but bad habits can be hard to break. Sleep deprivation can also wreak havoc on your health and increase the risk of stress and anxiety.
“If you’re a night owl, work on developing a strong bedtime routine for yourself and stick to it,” says Dr. Kost. “It’s important to start winding down in the hour before you go to bed, dimming lights and turning off screens, including your phone.”
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adults needs between 7 and 9 hours of solid sleep per night.
Do everything you can the night before
If there’s anything that can make a morning feel worse, it’s stress. You get up late, you can’t find your work clothes, there’s no coffee and you have ten minutes to get out the door.
“If you don’t consider yourself a ‘morning person’ already, try not to make it harder on yourself than it has to be,” says Dr. Kost. “Anything you can do to get ready the night before can make getting out of bed more tolerable.”
Dr. Kost suggests picking out and ironing your clothes, packing a lunch, and setting your coffee pot timer as part of your bedtime routine. Also consider checking the next day’s calendar and mentally plotting out the day before you hit the sack.
“Getting your expectations in line for the next day can make it easier to get moving in the morning and decrease your overall stress levels,” says Dr. Kost. “Knowing what you have to accomplish and having a plan for it can make the day ahead feel less daunting when that alarm goes off.”
Exercise or meditate
While it may seem counterintuitive to add more to your already busy mornings, a short stretching session or sitting meditation for a couple of minutes can get your blood flowing and your brain active.
“In this time of year, people are also at higher risk of developing seasonal depression, and some light exercise and meditation can help prevent it,” says Dr. Kost. “A short morning workout can also improve your metabolism, help you sleep better at night and help you develop a strong morning routine.”
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