The alarm clock goes off. That horrible beeping rouses you from slumber (and dreams of the sexy neighbor down the hall) like a death knell. So you slam your palm on the snooze button with the force of an MMA fighter. “Just ten more minutes,” you grumble. But thirty minutes later, you’re running around the apartment looking for your other shoe, wishing you had time to shower and praying you don’t miss your train.
Instead of stabbing yourself in the eye with your mascara wand as the bus jerks forward, wouldn’t you rather be fully awake when you arrive to work? Mornings aren’t only for freaks of nature who like running before dawn (don’t worry-I would never suggest such torture). You too have the power to seize the day! Making a few simple changes could be the difference between greeting your boss by name and shouting, “Move dumb-ass, I haven’t had my coffee yet!”
1. Avoid drinking booze with your buddies the night before
Your best friend is having a relationship crisis and needs to vent to you about what a complete douche-bag her boyfriend is being. Before you know it, you’ve drained two bottles of wine and you’re screaming along to Kelly Clarkson using the merlot as a microphone. Do I need to remind you that waking up with a hangover will increase your morning hatred by a hundred-and-fifty percent? Save happy hour for Friday, when you really have something to be happy about. You can sleep in all you want. And there will be no fear of vomiting on that business man’s shoes during your morning commute.
2. Go to bed when you’re tired-but not too late
Are you watching reruns of South Park at midnight, only to be sucked in by a weight loss infomercial afterwards? Those muscular abs are so mesmerizing…wait, how did it get to be two in the morning already? Even if a new episode of Toddler’s and Tiaras comes on, your sleep is more valuable than finding out which spray tanned beauty won the Ultimate Grand Supreme. Turn off the TV and your computer (if you’re up stalking your crushes on Facebook) and get to bed! Your shut eye might not come at the same time every night, but give in when your eyelids feel heavy. If you did an intense gym workout, you might crash early. Listening to your body will help you sleep better, so don’t stay awake just because the TV is still on.
3. Sleep Well
Even a full eight hours of sleep won’t help you if you’re trying to find a comfortable sleeping position on that piece of crap futon you got for free on Craigslist. Invest in a good bed, a soft pillow and a memory foam mattress topper. You’re not an eight-year-old anymore…it’s time to upgrade from a twin mattress to a queen. (And you want to share your bed with someone else occasionally, right?) Create the conditions that will help you relax. Did that episode of CSI scare you too much to turn off the lights? Buy a nightlight if it will help convince you that there isn’t a rapist/murderer hiding in your closet. It doesn’t matter if you prefer the windows open or closed, total darkness or dim lighting. Find your comfort level and drift into dreamland.
4. No snooze button!
Are you ready to smack that snooze button before you’re fully awake? Most of us do it in a zombie-like state, our hands groping for the alarm clock while our brains think, “Me sleep now! Stop awful noise.” Well guess what? If your alarm clock (or cell phone) is across the room, you can’t hit the snooze button. With the snooze out of arm’s reach, you’ll be forced to fling off your covers and get out of bed. Because let’s face it, if you hit snooze even once, you’re going to hit it again. The damn thing is addictive. It’s sort of like, “Oh I’ll only have one beer.” (We all know that never happens). Force yourself to stand up, march over there and turn off the alarm. See? You’re awake!
5. Shower in the morning
Yes, showering at night means you can sleep in later. But by showering in the morning, you’re doing yourself a favor. The hot water will invigorate your senses and so will that peppermint scented shower gel. Go ahead and loofah yourself for extra stimulation! That cute girl in the next cubicle might actually respond to your advances if you don’t look like you just crawled out of bed (we see the crust in your eyes and the sheet creases imprinted on your face. Not a good look.) By the power of deodorant, clean skin and combed hair, you might get lucky in the copy room this year! Hell, you could be the next Don Draper. Go get ‘em!
6. Wake up to light
Most of us sleep with the blinds drawn, fearing sunlight like we’ll be incinerated faster than vampire Bill under the curse of that crazy witch lady. But this isn’t True Blood, and light is a cue to your brain that it’s time to wake up. Open the curtains and feel the sun warm your face. If it’s winter (or you live in some god-awful rainy place) get a light on a timer. There are several models that gradually increase light intensity over a half-hour period, and some have built in alarm clocks. The Phillips Wake-up light has 20 different brightness settings, which is good when you realize that “10” from last night is really a “2”. In that case, ask your paramour to leave before full brightness is achieved! Your roommates won’t get the chance to tease you.
7. Program your coffee maker
What about you, naturally-early-riser? Any tips for the rest of us?