When you hear the alarm on your clock or smartphone go off in the morning, are you ready to wake up and take on the day? Like lots of people, you may be tempted to hit the snooze button – sometimes repeatedly – just to spend a few extra minutes dozing off before getting out of bed. If this sounds like you, you may wind up staying in bed longer than you had planned and end up being late for work or an important appointment. What’s more, you might spend the rest of the day feeling tired and groggy and walking around in a fog.
Hitting the snooze button is actually a waste of time. Although admittedly it’s tempting, falling back asleep for a few more minutes won’t give you the benefits of deep, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. To avoid the possible negative consequences of oversleeping, here are some simple but effective tips you can use to make sure you get up quickly and effortlessly each morning feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Develop a Regular Sleep Routine and Stick to It
Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day will help regulate your body’s internal clock and improve the overall quality of your sleep. Choose a bedtime that’s around the time you usually begin to feel tired and stay with it. Although you may not notice the difference at first, after a few days you’ll start waking up refreshed and relaxed.
The starting point for creating a regular sleep routine is establishing a set schedule for the hours leading up to bedtime and sticking to it.
As an example, it’s a good idea to get some fresh air and exercise. Take a walk or engage in a similar low impact activity two or three hours before bedtime to help you relax. Eating a healthy evening meal is also a good idea, but make sure it’s at least three hours before you go to bed. If you’re still feeling hungry, it’s OK to have a light snack an hour or so before retiring for the night, so long as you stay away from spicy foods and avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
It’s also important to remember to shut off all electronic devices at least a few hours before going to bed. Doing this should make it easier for you to fall asleep and rest soundly throughout the night. A National Sleep Foundation study found that 95% of the people they surveyed used digital devices either shortly before retiring or while in bed, causing them to lose the sleep they need to avoid early morning grogginess. Most digital devices also emit blue light, which the brain interprets as being daylight and interrupts the body’s circadian rhythm and prevents sleep. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, avoid using the devices close to bedtime.
Try Not to Nap Too Much During the Day
A prolonged nap or naps during the day can instantly throw your sleep routine off the track, so limit the duration of daytime naps to 20 or 30-minutes to improve your chances of consistently getting a good night’s rest.
Many people find that a brief nap in the afternoon helps them to “recharge the batteries” and maintain higher levels of productivity and efficiency. A nap that extends beyond half an hour, however, could disrupt your nighttime sleep routine and make it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Place Your Alarm Clock in the Right Spot in Your Bedroom
Think carefully about where you set your alarm clock or smartphone alarm before you go to bed. Choose a spot such as somewhere across the room that’s more than arm’s length away, but still close enough to hear when it goes off in the morning. If it’s too close to your bed, you may be tempted to hit the snooze button, roll over and go back to sleep. On the other hand, if the alarm clock is on the opposite side of the room, you’ll need to get out of bed to turn it off.
Download an Alarm Clock App to Help You Wake Up
There are lots of alarm apps available online that can be downloaded for both iOS and Android devices. Some are meant to start your day with soothing sounds or soft, pleasant, music. If you’re a person that has trouble getting out of bed in the morning, however, it’s obviously best to avoid these alarm apps. Others are designed to get even the groggiest of sleepers out of bed and “up and at ‘em”! Here are a few examples:
- Wake N Shake is an alarm clock app that could very well convert you into becoming a morning person, and with good reason. Available from the App Store, when an iOS device, such as an iPhone or iPad, with Wake N Shake installed goes off at the pre-set time, you’ll need to shake it to turn off the alarm sound. There are 16 shake level settings to choose from, which range from just a gentle side-to-side motion to vigorously shaking the device to stop the alarm from sounding.
- BetterMe uses humor through social media as a means of ensuring you wake up on time. Whenever you’re late getting out of bed, BetterMe will publish a message on your Facebook wall to let the online world know you overslept. Available for most iOS devices, some of BetterMe’s other features include goal tracking progress and GPS check-ins for scheduled appointments. As with the app’s alarm feature, BetterMe will post a message on Facebook whenever you miss a deadline or fail to keep an appointment.
- Loud Alarm Clock is another app for Apple devices that’s sure to awaken even the soundest of sleepers. Although you have the option of using the music of your choice from iTunes, you can also select one of the app’s several truly annoying sounds, such as a blaring siren or nails scratching on a chalkboard. The alarm can be set to randomize the sounds so that you don’t learn to sleep through the ones you’ve gotten used to.
- Alarmy is one of several alarm apps for heavy-sleeping Android users. Available on Google play, Alarmy refers to itself as the “world’s most annoying alarm clock,” and with good reason. The user chooses a registration spot outside the bedroom, and when the alarm goes off, the only way to stop the sound is for the person to get up and go to the registration spot.
Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Sanctuary
Consider keeping your bedroom technology free, and make it a sleep sanctuary. Here are a few suggestions to make your bedroom conducive to the sound, uninterrupted sleep that will allow you to bound out of bed and seize the day in the morning:
- Remove and use computers, televisions and other electrical devices from the bedroom and keep them in other areas of the house. At first it might be difficult, but after a few days you should be sleeping better and waking up refreshed and relaxed.
- Keep the room cool. A slight decrease in body temperature promotes sound sleep, so it’s important to keep the room on the cool side. Sleep experts recommend a bedroom temperature of 68° or less, so be sure to adjust the thermostat before calling it a night.
- Block out noises that can prevent you from falling asleep or abruptly awaken you in the middle of the night. If the source of the noise is beyond your control, such as neighbors or heavy traffic, consider blocking it with a sound machine that gives off soft, soothing sounds throughout the night. If all else fails, try using a pair of quality earplugs.
- Keep the room dark, and the darker the better. Light reduces the production of melatonin, which is the naturally occurring substance that regulates the body’s internal clock. If the light that keeps you awake comes from outside the home, consider replacing your drapes or blinds with blackout curtains.
Sleep on the Right Mattress
Replacing that sagging old mattress can make a huge difference in the way you sleep. The right mattress will allow you to rest comfortably for hours and awaken feeling refreshed. Some things to consider when shopping for a new mattress include your body shape, sleeping position and any physical ailments such as back pain, neck pain or allergies. Choosing a mattress, however, can be confusing. That’s why all Sit ‘n Sleep Southern California Locations have sleep consultants on duty to help you select the mattress size, comfort level and bed type that’s best for you.
Use these simple tricks and you’ll sleep soundly and wake up in the morning relaxed and refreshed – so much so that you’ll probably forget your alarm even has a snooze button!