I was pretty opposed to sleeping at all since birth. My poor mother said I only slept for about an hour and a half a night as a baby. (She’s up for sainthood in my book for that alone.) And, napping was never my thing as a kid. I used to be so paranoid that I would miss something. That if I slept, I wouldn’t finish a project. I’d miss a deadline. I’d miss a client. But, as I got older, and more and more sleep deprived, I realized how desperately my body craved catching up on my sleep. Ironically, because of my lack of sleep, my fears came true. “The longer, more continuously, and later at night you work, the less efficient and more mistake-prone you become,” states Schwartz in my latest book-obsession, The Power of Full Engagement.
“In addition to its energy renewing function, sleep is also a period during which substantial growth an prepare occurs — most of it at the deepest level of sleep, when slow-wave delta brainwaves are dominant. During those periods, cell devision is most active, the greatest number of growth hormones and repair enemies are released and muscles that have been stressed during the day have an opportunity to regenerate.”
So, here are three simple steps that will throw some morning spring into your step, to get your day started on the right foot.
No.1 - Purpose Adds Pep and Pulls You
Clarifying why you’re waking will help keep you on your morning game. Think of both your broad and specific goals. Pushing to wake up in the morning gets exhausting. Pushing wears you out. But, your purpose, your why, will pull you out of bed.
For example, let’s say you want to wake up 30 minutes earlier to get in a morning gym sesh. Your specific goal is to get to the gym. Your broader, more “meta” goal is because you want to feel healthier, stronger, and better about your body, so you can live a long, fulfilled, and happy life. After getting into the routine, you’ll start to feel the difference in your body, and you’ll be pulled to practice that habit rather than pushed because you’re getting your meta goal. You’re feeling better.
You can even use your alarm clock to remind you of your goal. If your alarm is on your phone, name your alarm your why, like “Make breakfast to make energy!” or “Exercise to Feel Fueled!” That way, when you try to hit snooze, you’ll be reminded of your why.
No.2 - Power down so it’s easier to power up in the morning.
One main key to waking up refreshed is getting the right amount of sleep the night before. The National Sleep Foundation found that the light emitted from electronics, like computers and phone screens, actually crashes your circadian rhythm by delaying the release of melatonin in your body. Technology keeps us alert. Thus, you stay charged waaaaaaay past your bedtime.
Whether or not you believe in the ancient Chinese practice of feng sui, there is one rule that doctor’s back up. No electronics next to your bed! Resist the temptation to check your Facebook feed before you go to bed by charging all electronics in another room, designated as your ‘charging station.’ If you use your phone as an alarm clock, set your phone and your alarm on the other side of the room at least one hour before you go to bed. Then, don’t touch it. Set it and forget it. Spend the next hour detoxing from your day. Do your nightly routine. Take a bath. Make some tea. Crack open a nice fiction book (not on an iPad or Kindle) and let your mind rest until tomorrow. Purge your sacred sleeping space of electronics.
No.3 - You got to Move It, Move it!
When you regularly practice high fitness, you can actually perform on less sleep. Since we’re all busy bees, sometimes we don’t have time to get the full eight hours of sleep we need. Instead trade a half hour of sleep for a half hour of cardiovascular training or strength training in the morning. Exercise significantly improves your concentration, decision making skills, short term memory, alertness, and mood. “Interval training is a means by which to build more energy capacity and to tolerate more stress but also teach the body to recover more efficiently.”
Now, get yo’ sleep on!
Don’t snooze on sharing this info. Give your drowsy friend a wake-up call and share this with them.