We all cross our fingers and hope for a blissful slumber, but blissful doesn’t always quite cut it.
Sleeping stretches of 8, 9, 12 hours, some of us still wake up feeling groggy and sloth-like. As if awoken early, from a deep hibernation that isn’t quite finished.
And there is almost nothing worse than waking up feeling like the world is tying you down, and like you just want the bedcovers to swallow you back up.
So how do those happy-go-lucky morning people do it?
How do they roll out of bed filled with positivity, all radiant smiles and glowing energy?
Well, for starters, they abide by the following 9 little habits, that set them up for an enthusiastic morning:
1) They practice gratitude
It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of our hectic everyday lives.
So swept up in the go, go, go, we often forget to stop and appreciate the little moments, which if you think of it do actually make up what we deem to be happiness.
This goes for our sleeping and waking hours, too.
So caught up in the rush of trying to sleep, we slide off our sofas and into bed – our eyes still wide from staring at screens all day long.
And so frantic to get to the office first thing, we roll out of bed again in the morning and straight into our office attire. Yet, we don’t stop to breathe and thank the very condition of being alive. Or even stop to pet our dog goodbye/kiss our partner one last time before leaving for work.
However, those who wake up with a spring in their step and a smile on their face live a little differently. They often make it a point to count their blessings before they sleep.
Whether it’s jotting down three good things that happened during the day in a gratitude journal, or simply reflecting on them mentally, this practice helps shift the focus from the problems and stresses of the day to the positives.
This not only lets them fall asleep with a lighter heart but also sets a positive tone for the next day. So tonight, before you close your eyes, try thinking about what you’re grateful for. You might just wake up wearing a smile.
2) They wave screentime goodbye
In this digital age, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves scrolling through social media, responding to emails, or watching videos right up until we hit the lights.
And then for a little bit after, as you remember you’ve forgotten to add hummus to the grocery list. And pay the water bill. And sent that one work email. And book a dentist appointment.
But those who wake up feeling refreshed and happy often prioritize disconnecting from technology at least an hour before bedtime. You won’t catch them up scrolling at 3am.
The blue light emitted by our devices can interfere with our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and diminishing the overall quality of our rest.
By saying goodnight to their devices early, these people allow their minds to unwind naturally, paving the way for a restful sleep and a brighter morning.
3) They craft a calming bedtime ritual
I remember watching various Supernanny programs whereby parents chased zealous toddlers around in tickle time. The more tickling, the more worn out the toddler, the better everyone slept.
Happy people have their own tickle time.
(It just doesn’t usually involve tickling…)
But with soothing sleep teas like chamomile, daily meditation sessions, turning off lights a few hours before heading to bed, and reading a few pages of a book, they tune into their bodies and tell them it’s time to hit the sack.
Creating a soothing pre-sleep routine is a common practice amongst those who wake up feeling refreshed and cheerful. It can be personalized and tailored to fit every person and every lifestyle, but is one of the best methods to incorporate daily, to start winding down and easing your body into rest.
4) Their sleep hygiene is on point
And once you’re in your bedroom, you might crawl under the covers and sigh. And then you hear the noisy fan outside. The stark corridor light shines onto your face. The covers are scratchy, and your back moist with sweat…
Sounds hellish, doesn’t it?
Those who wake up with a smile typically understand the importance of their sleep environment. This includes ensuring the room is dark, suitably, and at an optimum temperature.
Research shows that our bodies sleep best in a slightly cool environment, usually around 18 degrees Celsius (or 65 degrees Fahrenheit). This is because our body temperature naturally drops as we sleep, and a cooler room can support this process.
Additionally, these individuals often invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows – understanding the impact these elements can have on their quality of sleep. The use of blackout curtains or even an eye mask can also contribute to a conducive sleep environment by blocking out any disruptive light.
So if you find waking up with a smile to be a challenge, take some time to assess your sleep environment – it might well hold the key to better mornings.
5) They maintain a consistent sleep schedule
Look, I’m a chronic insomniac. I know that designing your lifestyle to fit your sleep can sound boring, but it does wonders.
I went to a sleep therapist (yes, they exist) when I was about 18. One of the biggest takeaways was that I was to wake up at the same time. Every day.
“What if I’m out clubbing until 4am?!” I whined.
Yes, I was still to get up at 7am.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t strictly adhered to this one, but I can conclude that avoiding the rise-and-shine at 7am on work days, and then hitting the snooze button until 2pm on weekends does wonders for sleep.
It does suck, sometimes. Declining that extra drink so you get to bed at a more reasonable time, or waking up earlier on weekends, but your body loves routine. The more consistency you show it, the more it’ll reward you by gliding in and out of sleep, and allowing you to wake with ease.
If your mornings are more gloomy than gleeful, consider setting a regular sleep schedule.
Stick to it diligently for a few weeks and see how your body responds. You might be surprised at the difference it makes.
6) They avoid heavy meals close to bedtime
Although diet culture shakes its fist at us and tells us that eating post 6pm is a sure way to obesity, it’s not quite true.
Sure, eating earlier means you fuel your body for the waking hours, but no one will expire or instantly grow overweight after eating an 11 pm snack. Midnight feast to your heart’s delight.
But avoid gobbling up too much sugar or heavy meals right before you go to sleep.
Consuming large or spicy meals can lead to discomfort and indigestion, which can disrupt sleep.
Instead, space out your meals and try to finish eating at least a couple of hours before you plan to sleep. This gives your body ample time to digest the food, promoting a more restful night’s sleep and a happier morning awakening.
(But live a little and have the odd late-night snack, too.)
7) They engage in relaxation techniques
Before letting sleep take them, many individuals practice relaxation techniques like sleep meditation (or normal meditation), or breathwork exercises.
These activities calm the mind, reduce stress, and prepare the body for sleep.
Personally, I’ve found that a ten-minute guided meditation before bedtime helps me relax and sleep more soundly. And when I sleep well, I wake up well – often with a smile on my face.
8) They limit caffeine intake in the evening
Caffeine! My best friend, my arch nemesis…
While a late afternoon cup of coffee might seem like a good idea at the time, it can interfere with our ability to fall asleep at night.
Those who wake up feeling refreshed and positive often limit their caffeine intake in the latter part of the day. They tend to decline the coffees and the coca colas after 1pm, and opt for herbal teas or warm milk (hello, childhood!)
9) They prepare for the next day
Planning and preparing for the following day can ease morning stress and contribute to a positive start.
This also means that the hours intended for sleep aren’t spent mentally jogging over to-do lists and getting stressed about what you haven’t added to your diary.
The simple act of preparation could involve laying out clothes for work, packing lunch, or jotting down a to-do list for the next day.
By doing this minute amount of planning and mental inventory, they wake up with a clear mind and a sense of readiness, which often translates into a smile.
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