“Ugh! Is it morning already?” I ask my still-asleep being this question on a daily basis after fumbling with the alarm. After opening one eye tentatively to check the time, I gasp in dismay to discover it’s way past the time I had set and literally bolt out of bed! Why do I do this if not everyday then at least six days out of seven during the week? The answer is simple; waking up is hard to do. This of course by no means is implied to all and sundry. If you can relate to me in wanting to wake up yet just don’t follow through, then fret no more. I’ve compiled a list of ways to get over the hurdle of waking up the first time your alarm goes off, jump out of bed, and seize the day!
1. Initiate your day with prayer:
There is no other better start to the day then with offering the morning call for prayer. It soothes your conscience and rejuvenates your soul with each recitation of a surah;each prostrate position in total submissionin reverence and remembrance of Allah. Not only do you gain subliminal rewards but as you make it a habit your body clock adjusts quickly and before you know it you’ll be waking up a good 30 minutes earlier.
2. Keep your alarm clock at a distance:
Loud noises and movement act as excellent triggers to aid your brain in waking up almost instantly. Make it a mandatory ritual to get up out of bed to turn your alarm off. The effect should be more or less immediate as you’ll be awake enough to remember that you have to hit the gym, perhaps run a necessary errand or complete a chore. This tip can do wonders if your alarm plays at an extremely high decibel. To top this off, make sure the tune is really irritatingly obnoxious. This should definitely pull you out of the fog of sleep to full consciousness before it even registers to your brain to hit that oh so tempting snooze button.
3. Verbalize the significant reasons for why you wish to wake up early:
It’s necessary to articulate why it is you want to wake up early. If you’re unsure and not clear about it, you will never succeed in doing so. This may sound rather mundane or even superfluous, but actually verbalizing your reason for getting up early in the morning is a vital step towards actually achieving it. In my case, I wish to get up early to fit a bit of exercise into my daily routine. In your case, it might be imperative to get some studying done or reading before heading to college, university, work, etc. In some cases, the reason is simply to not feel perpetually rushed when walking out your front door. Give it a try and you’ll accept the benefits that you reap from it in no time.
4. Assault your face with cold water:
The shock that cold water can give is incomparable. I find it a great way to wake up instantly. Getting someone to do the honors every morning could be extreme not to mention untrustworthy. The key is to be prepared. The night before, make sure you have a bowl of water with a washcloth immersed in it ready to soak your lovely face in the morning before the snooze troll clobbers you back to your comatose state!
5. Smell something stimulating:
According to FOCUS Magazine (in association with BBC Worldwide by Immediate Media Company) smelling salts, which have been used for hundreds of years to revive people from faints, work because the gas in them irritates the lungs, causes people to inhale, and elevates blood oxygen levels. Similarly, certain scents, including peppermint and lemon, have been indicated to show increased alertness. In fact, one study by the Sense of Smell Institute (it does exist!) found “that people exposed to lemony, woody fragrances early in the morning” experienced a boost in motivation. The best way to have these scents at your fingertips early in the morning is with a small bottle of peppermint essential oil or lemon extract at your bedside.
6. Get a pet:
Now I suppose a dog or a cat would be best suited for this! Using whatever means prove necessary, get up and feed the pet every morning at your desired awakening time. After a week of two, your pet will automatically wake you to be fed at its now-accustomed feeding time. Animals can tell time; and once one has become convinced that 5 AM is its time to eat, it will do everything in its power to make you get your backside out of bed and feed it.
7. Early to bed…early to rise:
Most people do need 8 hours of sleep. If it is not possible for you to get to bed earlier, can you nap at all during the day? Long term chronic sleep deprivation wreaks sheer havoc on one’s health. If you need to regularly wake up 2-3 hours before your usual time… you NEED to start sleeping earlier. 8 hours is recommended for most folks. Go to bed by 9 or 10, and do it every single night. You’ll adjust to your new schedule soon enough and eventually you’ll begin doing it naturally.
8. Incorporate exercise into your life:
A full workout would do you good as that would meet the whole point of waking up early. If that doesn’t suit your style, go for some light aerobics or yoga. That should truly do the trick. If you’re not really someone into calisthenics then at least jump out of bed (literally) and do a two minute body stretch which will help in increasing your blood pressure and heart rate. If that fails to wake your brain up then I don’t know what else will!
9. Be prepared for the next day:
Waking up fast has a lot to do with how you go to bed the night before. We all know the basics, but they bear repeating: avoid caffeine within several hours of bedtime, try to resolve bothersome disputes, and get enough sleep. It also helps to prepare for the next day on the night before by laying out clothes and putting together supplies needed for work or school. This way, your mind is better able to focus on what a great day you’re about to have, rather than dreading the odds and ends you’ll have to wrap up as soon as waking up.
10. Go to bed stress free:
I’m not sure if you are aware of this fact but during stressful times, the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, are increased. The increase in levels gives one enough energy to respond to the stressor. Yet, as we experience, high levels of cortisol brought about by excessive stress disturbs our sleep. Haven’t you ever had one of those nights where you’re lost in thought over the looming “big day” ahead, and you get even more stressed about the fact that you’re not sleeping? That could keep you up all night. It’s best to calm your nerves and creating a comfortable bed time environment truly does wonders. Avoid the stimulating technology and attempt to make your bedroom conducive to sleeping. Buy blinds that prevent light from entering your room. Try to keep your TV on a low volume. This may be the hardest obstacle to overcome: don’t use your cell phone at night. The light and sounds of the phone will stimulate you and make sleeping even harder.
The human body works best when accustomed to consistent routines. If you do the same routine every night before going to bed, your body will recognize when it’s time to go to bed every night. It will make it that much easier to fall asleep.
Hope you take heed to my advice and reap benefits by following them if not religiously then at least out of curiosity. This may appear rather clichéd but Benjamin Franklin needs to be quoted here: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”