Getting out of bed to a blaring alarm can be a real struggle when you’re cozy and sleepy. The temptation to hit snooze (again and again….) always seems appealing, but in reality it only leaves you less time to get out of the house, likely flustered and potentially late. Not the best way to start the day! Society has led us to believe that early starts are the key to a successful life. Whether it’s school at 8am, or work at 9, if you’re not a morning person, chances are you’ve always struggled to produce your best at these early times.
In the absence of Cinderella style bluebirds helping you get dressed and start the day, Nick Littlehales, the world’s leading elite sports sleep coach, says the best thing you can do is to understand what type of sleeper you are. More specifically your chronotype, which is a genetic twist that can leave you reacting and functioning to the start of every day (sun rise), two hours after those that wake up easily. Nick say’s we are all ““AM-ers” or “PM-ers”, no matter how much we try to camouflage it with our job or lifestyle choices”. You can probably already take a good guess as to which category you fall into, but there are many online chronotype questionnaires, which will quiz you on various lifestyle factors, from if you prioritise breakfast, to when you exercise and even the severity of your jet lag.
Armed with this knowledge, say’s Nick, “you can then make informed lifestyle choices that better support your biological rhythm”. For example, PM-ers will go to bed later and wake up later, or schedule a 20 -30 minute recovery boo – easier of course for those that don’t have 9-5’s. But you only have to look to big companies like Google and L’Oreal who are catching on to this latest thinking, and taking flexible working seriously, empowering their employees with workplace flexibility.
But if you do have to conform to the 9-5 norm, then invest in a Wake Up Light (compare options at www.lumie.com) urges Nick. Good news for all “PM-ers” out there, they wake you up gradually by infiltrating your pineal gland with light, triggering serotonin production and increasing cortisol, signalling to the brain to wake up.
Once up, you can then start to add good habits to your morning routine, to help your slow body clock catch up more quickly. We’ve enlisted some of our favourite experts across nutrition, fitness, yoga and aromatherapy to share their top rise and shine secrets:
Annie Clarke, yoga teacher @mind_body_bowl
NO PHONE ZONE – Keep your phone out of your bedroom – it will stop you from late night scrolling or checking emails the minute you open your eyes. I don’t have an alarm clock at the moment, so I set my phone alarm outside my door so that I have to get out of bed when it goes off – of course just having it on the other side of the room works too, but if you can avoid having your phone in your room then that’s an added bonus.
James Duigan, founder of Bodyism @jamesduigan
START IT RIGHT – I always start the day with a short series of deep breathing exercises or 10 minutes of yoga. This gets my body energised for the day ahead. Once I’m up and dressed I give myself a proper boost of energy by having a Body Brilliance shake. This ensures that my body gets the fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals it needs. It’s basically like having a nutritious green salad first thing in the morning! To really help keep your cells hydrated and to give your adrenal glands a boost, add a pinch of Celtic Sea salt or Himalayan salt to your morning water. This will help improve your concentration and improve your focus throughout the day.
Frances Phillips, Nutritional Therapist @franvphillips
CARB UP & COFFEE DOWN – The key to waking up feeling energised is a restful night’s sleep. I help achieve this by a few simple diet choices; not drinking coffee after midday. Then eating some slow release carbohydrates, such as sweet potato or brown rice, with your evening meal.
Fiona Brackenbury, Aromatherapist at Decléor @fionadecleor
CREATE RITUALS – Bedtime rituals can create a relaxing, peaceful bedtime routine that’s easier to stick to. Using essential oils will help you wind down and remind your body that it’s time for shut eye. Also unplug your phone 30 minutes before sleep and switch social media for a relaxing book.
words by Mea Perkins