How to leap out of bed joyous to face the day?
January 10, 2013 10:59 AM   Subscribe

What are your best tips/tricks/hacks to not feel like hammered sh*t first thing in the morning?

I am the opposite of a morning person. The first ~30 minutes out of bed in the morning are so tough. Maybe it's hitting 40, maybe it's having 2 young kids - actually, of course it is - but I know there are ways to make it even a little more bearable to get going in the morning, at least until that first cup of coffee.

What are your (quick and easy) secrets for surviving the daily transition from horizontal to vertical? Late-night snack (as suggested in "Four Hour Body")? Quick early workout? Cold shower? Sleep cycle tracking? (I've been experimenting with an iPod app for that, can't tell if it's helping yet.)
posted by gottabefunky to Grab Bag (44 answers total) 69 users marked this as a favorite
Having something for breakfast that you really look forward to.
posted by desjardins at 11:01 AM on January 10, 2013 [6 favorites]

For me a couple of things make a big difference.
1) Have a regular sleep schedule - go to bed and wake up at the same time
2) Eat moderately the day before. For whatever reason, if I overeat or eat a bunch of junk food the day before I wake up feeling like shit.
posted by nolnacs at 11:02 AM on January 10, 2013

I don't know what your sleeping environment is like, but a humidifier has changed my life.

Also, I have a pretty hardcore vitamin regimen. Most people have some sort of vitamin deficiency, and taking a "multivitamin" doesn't fix it, because multivitamins tend to not have enough to make up for what you're missing.
posted by griphus at 11:03 AM on January 10, 2013

Are you drinking enough water?
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:03 AM on January 10, 2013

I go for a 30-45 minute walk first thing in the morning. When I don't do it for a few days I find it hard to drag myself out, but once the pattern is re-established I wake up itching to go. I microwave a cup of leftover coffee, put on weather-appropriate clothes and sneakers, and I'm out the door. Of course it helps that I have no young children and that I live in a relatively warm climate in a relatively safe neighborhood.
posted by mareli at 11:09 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

a wake up light worked well for me at my old house ... soon going to buy one for the new house
posted by jannw at 11:11 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Breathe-rite strips have helped. I often get congested at night and it helps a *lot* to be able to breathe easily though my nose -- I sleep much better and therefore wake up feeling less like shit. It also really helps to have some goal for something that must be accomplished at a certain time in the morning -- this morning for instance I met someone for breakfast, which got me out of bed at 6:30AM instead of my usual 10AM or 11AM, and I feel great about it.

Also it helps if I front-load some of my morning chores. If I know that breakfast is on lockdown and I already have my clothes for the day picked out, then getting up doesn't seem like such a burden. I also feel the least crappy when I can get my crappier morning chores (which for me means showering and dressing) taken care of right away instead of spending like an hour gradually eating a joyless breakfast while wearing yesterday's underwear and sitting in a day's worth of sweat and accumulated grime and mentally building up the chore of showering and dressing into some kind of dreaded Sisyphean burden.

When I'm having a really hard time getting out of bed, I'll sometimes read in bet a bit before I actually lever myself out onto the floor. This isn't ideal, but it works faster than saying "just fifteen more minutes" and then waking up an hour and a half later and thinking "god dammit I have wasted half the day in bed".

I also got a lot of useful advice, some of which may be relevant to your situation, in this old AskMe question of mine. It's not exactly the same question as you are asking here, but it's related.

Basically I still hate getting up in the morning but I have learned some tips and tricks that help me get it over with as quickly as possible, which leaves me feeling better all the rest of the day. Getting up doesn't hurt any less but it's drawn out over a shorter time period and I feel like a happier and more productive person in general.
posted by Scientist at 11:13 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

When the alarm goes off but I just am not ready to get out of bed, I compromise by just sitting up in bed for a while. This eases the transition, literally, from horizontal to vertical. It's much easier for me to get out of bed five or ten minutes later if I've been sitting up for those few minutes.

Anything that will make your transition logistically easier is worth a shot, too. If it's a struggle just to get yourself downstairs to pour a cup of coffee, keep a small coffeemaker with a timer on your nightstand. If the room is cold when you wake up, set a programmable thermostat, or keep a sweater and slippers right next to the bed. Sometimes a bedroom can be too comfortable--don't use room-darkening shades (unless they too are on a timer), for example.
posted by payoto at 11:15 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

No booze at night. Go to bed on time. Don't linger once the alarm goes off, just get up.
posted by trunk muffins at 11:17 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am a morning person. Maybe you can get something out of my habits.

When I wake up, I get out of bed pretty much right away and start making coffee, or breakfast. But! I don't start getting ready for my day. I usually sit on the couch, watch tv, have coffee, read or listen to the radio. I just generally do something relaxing for an hour. And I really look forward to relaxing by myself in the morning! I have tried morning walks and it just made me stay in bed longer. When I get up, I basically don't exert myself at all, I just get up, make something easy for breakfast and hang out for an hour. Then I get in the shower and get going.
posted by Katine at 11:18 AM on January 10, 2013 [12 favorites]

I could never be bothered to spend that much money on a dedicated "wake up light", but I once used a cheap wall socket timer thing (as used on holiday to turn the lights on and off) to rig a bedside light to come on just before my alarm went off. This worked wonders for winter morning blues.

So did having the day's clothes laid out ready for me, and making sure the heating is on so the room is not frozen.
posted by emilyw at 11:18 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Go to bed an hour earlier than you normally do. Don't make your alarm any earlier.

If you feel crappy after that, maybe you have something interfering with your sleep.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 11:21 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

I, too, sit up in bed for a few minutes, with the bedside light on, to let myself transition from horizontal to vertical. Once I'm out of bed, the first thing I do is ten minutes worth of yoga-inspired stretching. It helps shake off the wanna-stay-in-bed blues, for me, and once my body feels more awake it's easier for my mind.
posted by hungrybruno at 11:21 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

If I eat after 5pm, I wake up groggy. The longer I go without food before sleep, the easier I wake up the next morning.
posted by katypickle at 11:23 AM on January 10, 2013

I was never a morning person until I adopted a dog. Now when I open my eyes in the morning, there's a super happy face that can't wait to do something with me. That's not a solution for everyone but it helped me be a happier waker-upper.

Also, I do a lot better when the house is a normal temperature when I get up. If it is cold, I have a harder time getting out of bed.

If you always feel exhausted when you wake up, you may have a sleep disorder. Until I was about 27, I never felt rested when I woke up in the morning. My boyfriend told me I was doing weird things in my sleep like loud snoring followed by scary dead silence that was followed by huge snorts. So ladylike, I know!

I did a sleep study and was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I had surgery and it really changed the way I feel when I wake up in the morning. I actually feel rested and no more crazy snoring!
posted by dottiechang at 11:40 AM on January 10, 2013 [5 favorites]

If I work out (doesn't matter when), I sleep better, which makes getting out of bed in the morning much easier.
posted by asphericalcow at 11:40 AM on January 10, 2013

I feel better if I do yoga before bed, specifically this routine. Here is a link to the original DVD. The AM segment is good too, but I think the PM makes the biggest difference.
posted by fozzie_bear at 11:42 AM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

I always thought that the willpower to get out of bed in the morning and be awake and alive was tied to those moments in the morning where I have the mental argument about how I should just hit snooze. That is usually an argument I lose to the lazy ass that wants to sleep.

However I had the realization that the will power actually comes into play in the evening. If I can get myself to bed earlier, I get up earlier almost by default. I have more energy and am not groggy. I don't even need my alarm.

How I accomplish this:

1. I set a mental bedtime goal. I don't have a regular time, but early in the evening I just remember to tell myself "Ok I am going to bed by 10" or whatever.
2. If I am going to watch TV I do it prior to getting into bed. I usually leave the remote somewhere not within arm's reach of the bed.
3. I tell myself when I get into bed that if I wake up within a specific 2 hour range, I am going to get out of bed and not try to fall back asleep. I do have an alarm set for my latest wake-up time just in case.

So for example, last night I decided I was going to watch TV until 10:30, then go to bed. When I got into bed I said, "Okay if I wake up between 5 and 7, I am going to get out of bed." Sure enough, I woke up at 6:05 and was practically wide awake. No snooze, no argument. I got up and started my day.

Overall I think it is the mental directions that help me stay on track. I also have a hard time following a specific bed time since something always comes up. But since I have been trying this, it has been working very well for me.
posted by thorny at 11:42 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Two young kids? I have two young kids and inevitably one of them will be up before 6, usually closer to 5.

The only thing that helps me is going to bed early. Ridiculously early. Of course there's so much sh*t to get done at night after they've gone to sleep that doesn't happen.

I'm waiting for them to grow up. I figure it has to happen eventually. I look forward to the days of dragging my teenagers out of bed at noon.

Until then I trade long naps on the weekend with my spouse and stumble around like a drunken zombie during the week.
posted by samhyland at 11:43 AM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

I wasn't a huge coffee drinker - usually just a mug a day, but I sleep way better, and wake up far more alert when I don't drink it at all.

Exercise also seems to help me too.
posted by backwards guitar at 11:50 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

The only thing that has ever worked for me (not a morning person) is going to bed earlier.
posted by barnoley at 12:12 PM on January 10, 2013

Get more sleep and/or go to bed earlier.
posted by cnc at 12:37 PM on January 10, 2013

I really agree with all the people saying breakfast. try to eat a bit earlier the night before, no snacks before bed, so you wake up hungry. and have something easy and delicious, overnight steel cut oatmeal with pre-chopped up apples and brown sugar and cinnamon, or overnight fridge oatmeal, or a chia pudding, or, my personal favourite, turkey bacon and lentils, and get your coffee machine all prepped (if you have a timer, set the timer so you wake up and coffee's ready!) and then you wake up, you're hungry, you can smell the coffee, grab a cup, make a little breakfast, eat in front of the news or whatever.. it's nice. I find I actually get up earlier for it. bonus: sometimes I pack a lunch while I prep breakfast the night before. woo!
posted by euphoria066 at 12:52 PM on January 10, 2013

I use the alarm built into my iPhone and I set two alarms, 30 minutes apart. The first is basically the warning alarm, and the second one is the real time to get up alarm. That gives me built-in time to snooze and gradually wake up. I think it also sort of tricks my brain into thinking I'm still sleeping in, which makes the morning less offensive.
posted by mmmmbobo at 12:59 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Before you go to sleep, set out a large glass full of water right next to the bed. As soon as you wake up, chug the whole thing. It won't be super pleasant for those 5 seconds you're chugging, but you'll immediately feel much better.
posted by saul wright at 1:14 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

Keep a cozy robe and slippers immediately beside your bed, so when it's time to get up you don't have to be uncomfortably cold.
posted by Pomo at 1:30 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

For me, the biggest thing is not drinking coffee. I'm terrible at this — I love coffee, I can't stay away long, I get addicted very quickly — but when I do manage to stay off it, mornings are wonderful because I'm not starting the day with a physiological addiction that hasn't been fed.

(If you smoke, quitting smoking works similar miracles.)

Also, for me, having someone to talk to over breakfast in the morning is a huge help — which sucks because it's not like that's something you can go out and buy. In a perfect world, I'd have one of those idealized Norman Rockwell small-town coffee shops right around the corner and I'd get up and pop in there and say hi to everyone before work.
posted by and so but then, we at 1:57 PM on January 10, 2013

If it's just the first half hour that sucks, you're probably dealing with sleep inertia. I'm a morning person, but definitely not the kind of person who jumps out of bed ready to climb a mountain. It takes me a good 20-30 minutes to feel fully alert, so during that time I go about my morning tasks on autopilot and don't rush myself.

If you can, get out of bed half an hour earlier than you need to, and use that extra time to quietly let yourself wake up. Do the normal getting-ready things you usually do, just do them at a more leisurely pace. If you can't spare the half hour, change your morning routine so you do the easiest things first, while the grogginess clears.

It also helps to organize things so you minimize any early-morning decisions. Lay out your clothes the night before, always keep your wallet and keys in the same place so you know where to get them, and so on.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:11 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Up until three months ago, I was not a morning person either. I made a few changes and it has made a world of difference. Granted it hasn't been that long but I feel much better. Here is a list of things I did.

1) I started exercising in the morning. I wasn't much of an exercise person either, but I find I really enjoy getting up knowing that I will feel much better after I complete my workout.

2) I started keeping a regular bedtime/wakeup schedule, no matter what day of the week it is. I can't stress how much this helped.

3) I get up early enough that I can afford to take my time getting ready. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than having to hurry in the morning. Knowing that I am not starting my day in a rush makes it that much easier to get up.

4) I started using the alarm clock on my FitBit. For some reason, the vibrating alarm doesn't get on my nerves as much as my iPhone or even worse, a traditional alarm clock.

5) If there is something I can get ready before I go to bed, I do it then instead of in the morning.

6) I made a change in my breakfast. Instead of skipping breakfast or eating something I wasn't excited about, I started eating a bigger, tastier breakfast.
posted by Silvertree at 2:14 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

More sleep, and then getting up when your alarm goes/when you have to, no "ten more minutes." Also, giving yourself a lot of time to get ready in the mornings. I make sure I don't have to rush, so that I know I don't have to be completely alert from the get go. Also, having some me-time to surf the internet or read or prepare a leisurely breakfast means I'm happier about getting up.
posted by yasaman at 2:21 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

My ex, who had the same problem, swore by this alarm clock, which wakes you up with a serious of soft chimes of increasing frequency. I can't attest to its effectiveness at the issue at hand, but it is the least unpleasant alarm clock I've experienced.
posted by dersins at 6:48 PM on January 10, 2013

Like saul wright, in the last year I've come to swear by the Big Glass of Water technique. Only I chug mine right *before* I get into bed. Everyone always jokes that it must just be having to pee that wakes me up, but I honestly just feel more alert and less groggy/gross the next morning.
posted by Zephyrial at 7:07 PM on January 10, 2013

My husband does his stretches in bed before he gets up. When I remember to do them I do find that it helps.

Warmth. That differential between warm wonderful bed and cold horrible morning air is the worst. I have a little heater in my bathroom that works really fast, so I can stagger straight in there and get warm again. Once in there I stretch -- arms up to the ceiling then down to the floor several times until it goes easily.

Any chance you are remodeling your bathroom soon? Heated floors are AWESOME for making getting out of bed more comfortable.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:56 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't know how effective this may be with a couple of young kids... but I try to go to bed an hour before I want to be asleep and I use Sleep Cycle and it's the best alarm clock I've ever had.
posted by kirstk at 11:12 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

I lurch out of bed like a zombie (like you I find it extremely difficult to wake up) and immediately switch on the radio to my favourite cheesy music channel. It's hard to want to stay in bed when you would rather be bopping.
posted by Ziggy500 at 1:59 AM on January 11, 2013

Seconding a wake up light: makes waking up seem the right and natural thing to do, rather than a horrible ordeal.
posted by Gomoryhu at 4:35 AM on January 11, 2013

For me a great big huge "I can't stress this enough" thing to do to feel good in the morning is to follow a very regular sleep schedule. I go to bed the same time every day (even on weekends) and I get up every days at the same time (even on weekends). I follow it so carefully that I usually wake up about 3 minutes before my alarm every morning. It will take a little while for your body to properly click in to it, but when it does the difference (based upon my experience) is remarkable. I'm tired at bed time and I'm awake in the morning. My body knows what is expected of it and makes it happen efficiently.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 6:58 AM on January 11, 2013

I focus on how many of these morning wake ups I will have with my children. How will they remember them? I hope, with joy. So, I actively play with my kids first thing in the morning. Then, breakfast and getting ready for the day (school and grandma's house). I really want to remember this time fondly too. So, for me, re-framing the question to "how can I take advantage of this precious time" helped.
posted by zerobyproxy at 10:03 AM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Big for me anyway, do not eat within three hours of going to bed. Nothing. Nada. If bedtime is 10, then you finish eating at 7. No more solids. Waking up after you've spent all night digesting makes me feel groggy, the morning hunger pangs give much spark to one's step.
posted by The Whelk at 10:19 AM on January 11, 2013

that being said being kind of useless 20 min after waking isn't that unusual, I found I woke up much crisper and more naturally if I woke up slowly to full sunlight right on my face.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 AM on January 11, 2013

I do a slow wake-up period, too. I have a bunch of different alarms on my phone, everything from a soft tapping sound which means "you should probably think about getting out of bed in the next 45 minutes" to a full on alarm which means "something went wrong and you missed all the other alarms and you must leave for work as soon as possible". And I go to bed early so I have time to do all of this in the morning.
posted by anaelith at 4:38 AM on January 12, 2013

Making sure the bedroom is *dark*, especially avoiding blue-ish lights. My wife's smartphone has a bright-blue clock when it's on it's charger, and it's the devil. Installed F.lux on our laptops, so that late night typing isn't telling our brains it's daytime.

Add a light to wake us up. Any light on a timer works; specialty clocks or lightbulbs that slowly turn on are even better.

For me personally, I would always wake up an hour early, go back to bed, then oversleep by 30 minutes; either that or wake up an hour early, go back to bed, wake up to the alarm, and feel like crap. My lesson? I'm stuck on the 90 minute sleep interval here, that's not going to change, so if I wake up up to an hour before my alarm, just get the hell out of bed; the day will be better that way.
posted by talldean at 6:41 AM on January 12, 2013

I got trained by 2 years of 9am language course, M-F, rain or shine, uphill both ways; this was the sort of course where if you were 2 minutes late, you missed the memorization quiz and were sort of embarrassed to let down your teachers and such.

I think I enjoy the efficiency of my morning routine and that motivates me to get out of bed -- it's something like:

- put water in coffee pot, add beans, go;
- begin brushing teeth
- make oatmeal while brushing teeth
- while eating oatmeal cram for quiz.

I also really like the phrase "up and at'em!" Sometimes I think that to myself as I spring up. A lot of it is habit building, and if you can associate getting up with joy enough times, it'll become genuine.

More pragmatic tips:

Use minty toothpaste. Really minty! Natural stimulant; it helped me quit morning coffee for a bit.

Also, figure out how your body works with temperature / sleeping: I know I can't sleep cold and wake up better if it's just a little bit chilly. For me, I turn on the heater half an hour before I go to bed and turn it off before I get into bed. The heat dissipates overnight and I get a natural alarm.
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:23 AM on January 15, 2013

Here are the things that have worked for me:

1. Get enough sleep. For most people, that really means 8 hours or more. Really.

2. Drink a lot of water.

3. Have a morning ritual of some sort. Someone up there said "I get up and sit on the couch for a bit with my coffee," and yeah, knowing that I don't have to get up and freak out and rush and hurry and then go to work made it TONS easier to get up early. Pleasant little things that I do for myself in the morning make a huge difference.

I would not have called myself a morning person a few years ago. I do, now.
posted by hought20 at 10:20 AM on January 15, 2013

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