Trouble waking up in the morning? Try these 5 expert tips to start your day the right way

Doing simple things like preparing the night before, waking up on time and breathing properly can making mornings a little less stressful.
Doing simple things like preparing the night before, waking up on time and breathing properly can making mornings a little less stressful.
Image: Andriyk Pov/123RF

According to the Science of People, starting your morning well sets the tone for the rest of the day. But many of us start the day badly by making poor choices like snoozing the alarm countless times and dashing around our homes looking for keys, which makes getting through the morning rush harder than it should be.

However, experts say it can be made less stressful by doing simple things like waking up on time, breathing properly and having your first cup of coffee a little later on in the day.

Research says our bodies are running low on oxygen first thing in the morning, so taking a few deep breaths can have the effect of a “semi-coffee”— oxygenating your blood and making you feel more alert.

Although the dawn of each new day comes with its own challenges, these five steps can help get your day off to a good start. 

1. Prepare the night before

In the wise words of American inventor Alexander Graham Bell, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Speaking to the Guardian, Dr Hazel Wallace says you should prepare everything you can the previous night, from packing your lunch to laying out your clothes.

Professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn suggests leaving items you need to take with you at the front door or using sticky notes as reminders. Checking the weather forecast, keeping your calendar up to date and taking care of any time-intensive grooming the night before will give you more time in the morning.

The daily commute can also be made less stressful with a little planning, says Wallace. Check for delays, work out when you have to leave and get a book or a podcast ready for your journey.

2. Take a few minutes

Reaching for your phone to respond to texts from last night or taking a peek at the social media trends lists the moment you wake up is a mistake many of us make. Silverthorn encourages starting the day with at least five minutes away from gadgets, perhaps spent making a beverage and sitting down to drink it in peace.

3. Go easy on the caffeine

For coffee lovers, having your morning fix as soon as you wake up makes sense but according to research, it isn’t the greatest thing to do. Our cortisol levels are naturally higher for the first two hours after waking up.

The higher your cortisol levels, the more alert you are, minimising the effects of caffeine. This means it’s better to have your first cup of coffee or tea when you get to work because, by that time, your cortisol levels have dropped to normal and you’re in need of an energy boost.

4. Don’t hit snooze

Hitting the snooze button is second nature to many of us. However, neuroscience professor at the University of California Dr Matthew Walker says this disrupts quality sleep.

Sleep medicine physician W Christopher Winter agrees, saying every time you wake up, hit snooze and roll back over, you enter a brand-new new sleep cycle. The extra snoozing you get is light and fragmented, which could actually leave you feeling more tired than if you just got out of bed when the alarm first went off.

The Sleep Council, which promotes healthy sleeping habits, warns that your body experiences a spike in cortisol, which is a stress hormone, every time your alarm goes off.

Instead of setting a lot of alarms with 15 minute intervals between them, Walker suggests you set your alarm for when you actually need to wake up. If you can’t help but hit the snooze button, leaving the alarm across the room, so you have to get up to switch it off, might be a good idea. You could also try one that eases you awake with light or vibrations.

5. Clean your space

Silverthorn advocates getting into a routine of placing your keys and other essential items in the same place each time you get in, be it on a hook or a tray or in a drawer: “Have a home for everything. The less you have, the easier it is to be in charge of your home, rather than it being in charge of you.” In this way, decluttering your home can make for a more streamlined morning routine

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