Are you well-acquainted with your snooze button? Do you struggle to get out of bed in the morning and then find yourself rushing to work? We all know the feeling. Whether it’s cold, you’re tired, or you just don’t want to go to work, they all have the same result.
Why do we sleep in in the morning?
Let’s face it, you’ll probably never be a morning person – your bed is too comfy and warm – but you want to wake yourself and get up in the morning without it being such an upheaval. Thankfully, there are many techniques that we can employ to solve the problem. We’ve spoken to sleep experts who can help us to understand why we feel like this in the morning, and suggest ways to help us get out of bed when we really don’t want to!
We are living in a society where, if it’s not our phones and other devices that keep us up, it’s the on-demand Netflix account and the need to watch ‘just one more episode’. As we become slaves to our modern day tech society, we are putting sleep on the back-burner.
Problems with morning wake-ups
Our need for healthy sleep habits seems less important during the evening when we are doing some last-minute ironing, or trying to impress the bosses by working late, and we are pushing our bed times later and later. Inevitably, though, sleep soon becomes important to us in the morning when we have to get up.
Jordan Gaines Lewis, sleep researcher and PhD student at Pennsylvania State University, says there are many factors that make us want to stay in bed after our alarm tells us we can’t.
‘The biggest factor is that most of us are waking up way earlier than our bodies want us to. Our circadian rhythm prefers that we rise with the sun, so a 5am alarm to make sure we get to work on time isn’t exactly natural for us.’
Read more on circadian rhythms.
‘I suggest going to bed earlier if you have an early start. It’ll help your circadian rhythm adjust to the pattern you desire, and you’ll be less likely to wake during deeper stages of sleep. Try to get as much natural light as possible as you start your morning routine. If it’s dark outside or windows aren’t accessible, artificial blue light can help. Blue light, like that in natural daylight, signals to your brain that it’s daytime’.
We Brits get 6 hours, 36 minutes’ sleep a night, on average, and 1 in 10 of us is so tired in the mornings that we snooze for 30 minutes or more. Chireal Shallow, psychologist and sleep expert, explains, ‘Snoozing is a way we, as humans, attempt to mitigate the lack of sleep or how tired we feel – by trying to wake up gradually and gently. This is how we cope with feeling as though we have not had enough sleep.’
‘The reality is, we need to break the vicious cycle of snoozing and make good use of those morning hours. Ensure you get more than 6 hours of sleep a night, have a bedtime routine a bit like you may do for a child. You should prepare your body for sleep and wind down. Go to bed with your partner and have a conversation with a real person, not a Facebook or Twitter conversation.
‘To reduce snooze time and make your mornings more effective, there are a number of options:
- Change the environment
- Mix up your diet
- Adapt your behaviour patterns
‘One suggestion is to sleep with your curtains open so that your body gradually wakes with the light of the dawn. In winter months, you can get lamps and other devices that replicate this (see below). This means you wake refreshed, eliminating the need to snooze.’
Techniques to help you wake up:
For app enthusiasts: Wakie
Wakie is almost like a social network of like-minded people who struggle to get up in the morning. You can set an alarm and someone will wake you up, from anywhere in the world, or you can wake someone else up and do a good deed, too. It beats the piercing noise of an alarm clock by having a warm, friendly voice at the other side of the phone. The call lasts 60 seconds and it’s totally anonymous and safe.
For gadget fans: Lumie
We’ve learnt that light is an important factor to help us wake up feeling brighter (pun intended). The Lumie is an alarm clock with a difference. The lights help you to have a better night’s sleep and get up easier in the morning. The light of Lumies’ Bodyclock can help reset the body’s natural rhythms. This will help to make you feel alert and start your day more refreshed.
For the technophobe: move your alarm further away
If you place your alarm across the room, you’ll be forced to get out of bed to turn it off. Getting out of bed is the hardest part; you just have to resist the temptation of getting back in.
Have you tried any of the methods above? Let us know in the comments!