Rise and shine
Writing a story about how to get up and out of bed with the sunrise feels somewhat duplicitous. I mean, I love my bed. It’s one of my favorite places to be, and I don’t like leaving it in the morning.
When I mentioned this topic to my father, here was his response: “You have got to be kidding me! [In high school], neither Mom nor I would dare go into your room to try to wake you. Trying to get you going was downright dangerous. In retrospect, I should have used an air horn.”
Being the author of this story is like being a therapist who needs therapy.
Still, I can dream (pun intended). I want to be a morning person, one of those who hops out of bed ready to slay the day. I want to be someone who watches the sunrise while drinking coffee and checks off three-quarters of her to-do list by 9 a.m. Help!
The problem: When I asked friends and neighbors for their best up-and-at-’em morning tricks, all I heard was groaning.
“Are you joking? I’m 71 and could stay in bed all day!”
“I can’t wait to read this one. I am not a morning person and could use whatever tricks you have.”
“I have absolutely nothing for you. I’m still trying to figure that out in my 50s.”
Why oh why is it so hard for so many of us?
We are not talking about depression, or chronic fatigue syndrome, or sleep apnea. Those (and others) are all real issues that need to be addressed with expert guidance. We’re just asking about those of us who like our beds. Is there some secret graceful routine we can learn?
One friend suggested leaving a window shade open in the bedroom. “The sun wakes me up,” Heather Kearney says, adding, “I’ve never jumped out of bed in my life, but I am a morning person, so it’s not that difficult to get moving.”
Heather is onto something. Research shows sunlight boosts both our performance and mood. Studies also show that our circadian rhythms react to sunlight – it signals us to be awake and productive.
Another friend swears by vitamins and a big bottle of water first thing. “I never feel rested when I open my eyes in the morning. I always feel like I’ve been run over by a truck, and it doesn’t matter if I’ve gotten six hours of sleep or nine hours of sleep,” Sandy Sales tells me. “Having said that, within 30 minutes, after a bottle of water and handful of my vitamins, I feel great.”
Water is another scientifically proven boost in the morning: it helps us rehydrate from the night and start to think more clearly.
Sandy’s daily vitamin arsenal includes: B-12 for energy; Biotin for nails and hair; a turmeric-curcumin combo as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and for heart health; D-3 for immunity and strong bones and muscles; zinc for metabolism and immunity; and a women’s probiotic for digestion. (Consult your doctor if you are interested in adding vitamins to your own diet.) While she’s serious about consistency and hydration, Sandy still says, “I would love to open my eyes and spring out of bed, instead of falling out!”
Maybe even the self-proclaimed “morning people” among us don’t joyfully leap out of bed. Mel Robbins, a CNN legal analyst-turned-motivational speaker, says, “You can’t wait for motivation to drop out of the sky and push you.” To get up (or, according to Mel, to do anything you’re dreading or putting off), count down – five, four, three, two, one – and then just jump out. That’s the whole premise of her bestselling book The Five Second Rule: The fastest way to change your life. “Do you think I wanted to get out of bed before 6 a.m. this morning?” she asks in a TikTok. “Nope. You have to start pushing through your resistance. I think the secret to life is learning how to push yourself out of bed when you don’t feel like it.”
Maybe the difference between the people who bound out of bed and the rest of us is discipline?
Yes, but let’s not be so quick to dismiss nature. For those of us who have a super-hard time moving in the morning, we might be able to blame longer periods of sleep inertia, a state where our bodies still exhibit some of the features of sleep even after we wake. For us, we’ll just need to be more disciplined.
Or, according to another friend, Sarah Sampson: “Get a puppy.”
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