The winter months bring with them dark mornings and the overwhelming urge to hit the snooze button a few times too many.
But Silentnight’s sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, who has spent almost two decades researching sleep, has revealed there are ways to spring out of bed without the need for a strong coffee.
Dr Nerina says the decisions we make in our day-to-day lives affect how we sleep, and it has a knock-on effect on how we feel when we wake up.
Dr Nerina said: “Not everyone is naturally a morning person but you can encourage your mind and body to be more alert and optimistic in the morning by practicing a number of techniques.
“Although we are technically gaining an extra hour this weekend, I do not actually advocate using it to lie in bed and catch up on lost sleep. Disrupting your sleep pattern puts you on the back foot, and it’s more than likely that you’ll simply feel more alert at bedtime, and then your sleep problems become a vicious circle.
“Instead of treating yourself to a lie in this weekend, get up and go outside for a brisk walk - even if it’s only five minutes. Being outside in the fresh air is one of the best things we can do to make ourselves feel more alert, and with these simple tips you will be springing out of bed in no time.”
Dr Nerina’s top tips:
Dr Nerina said: “It might sound strange, but eating breakfast is non-negotiable if you want to become a bright-eyed morning person. It is the first way to improve your relationship with sleep. People who eat breakfast have less difficulty falling asleep, wake up with more energy and are less inclined to hit the snooze button. Eating breakfast within 30-45 minutes of waking up stabilises your blood sugar levels and speeds up your metabolism.”
2. Cut down on caffeine
Dr Nerina said: “Many people who struggle to get up in the morning rely on caffeine to give themselves a boost. This isn’t ideal and will get you into a vicious cycle. Caffeine blocks the action of melatonin which helps us sleep and increases the number of times you wake up during the night. Try to avoid any caffeine after 3pm, never have caffeine before your breakfast and if you’re really serious about becoming a bright-eyed morning person, cut it out completely.”
3. Wind down properly in the evening
Dr Nerina said: “To wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead you need to put the ground work in at bedtime. This doesn’t necessarily mean going to sleep earlier, but it does means starting to wind down earlier in the evening. Having a good soak in the bath or reading a book for 20 minutes before bed will help you feel tired, so you will sleep well and find it much easier to wake up in the morning.”
4. Wake up earlier than you need to and set aside some time for yourself
Dr Nerina said: “Gradually start to get up a little earlier. Allow yourself more time to get ready and prepare for the day. This isn’t about getting up and getting into work earlier, it’s about waking up and giving yourself peaceful, quiet time to prepare for the day ahead. You’ll soon realise how valuable this early morning you time is. You might even start to look forward to it.”
5. Avoid checking your phone as soon as you wake up
Dr Nerina said: “Try to avoid reaching for your phone first thing to check emails. While looking at your bright phone screen will certainly wake you up, it’s stressful for the brain and and doesn’t allow you to wake up gradually. If you go to bed knowing you’re going to be straight up and into work mode, you’ll be far more inclined to roll over when the alarm goes off.”