Ways to treat myself for better sleep and earlier mornings
November 14, 2018 2:51 PM   Subscribe

I have developed a taste for getting up early, but I need a nudge or two to stick with it. How can I make sleeping early and waking up early more luxurious?

I am not a person who responds to the concept of self-discipline or stoicism with pride (like, ahem, my boyfriend). In fact, quite the opposite! I lost 25 lbs over the last year by buying beautiful clothes that didn’t fit until I lost the weight. I’ve heard a million times that that kind of motivator never works, but... it did for me. Similarly, I starting taking a weekly exercise class after I bought a super cute exercise getup, and I’ve stuck with it because I get to drink chocolate milk afterward, the most luxurious of drinks.

In other words, while some people are motivated by the idea of discipline alone (or the gains they see), I am not, and need to couple a sense of luxury with the habits I don’t take to naturally. I’ve recently started going to bed earlier and waking up earlier and it’s had a great positive effect on my moods, but I’m starting to wane in my enthusiasm lately and am trying to think of things I can do to make it feel more... resplendent.

For instance, I read a profile of a French model recently where she said she wakes up early because she likes to laze around for awhile before she has to do anything. I never really thought of that as a perk— more my own personality defect— until I heard it described that way, and now I love it. I’ve also heard the “cook an amazing breakfast” advice but I’m kind of out of ideas that would really excite me (in the past I’ve enjoyed making an egg sandwich every morning, or a boiled egg with pb toast... can’t come up with much else. Avocado toast?).

The even harder part is making going to sleep early feel indulgent. I like sleep, obviously, but have always been the type to stay up until 4am if I have nothing going on. I tried doing the crossword before bed and reading in bed as two ways of making it feel nice but the former is a bit too stimulating and the latter is nice but not quite enough. I have a very comfy bed and pillow but maybe there’s more I could do. I also bought a pillow spray that smells nice. I bought some apple cider flavored herbal tea that might help too... any other ideas?

tl;dr, what ways do you have to make sleeping early and getting up early feel fun or luxurious? Specifics are great (like exactly what composes the breakfast that gets you out of bed every morning). One caveat is that I can’t drink coffee, but used to make a matcha + chocolate almond milk confection that was equally nice to drink. I mostly drink black tea every morning now.
posted by stoneandstar to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
A very soft furry throw blanket against bare skin!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:00 PM on November 14, 2018

Get a coffee/ tea maker with a timer. Knowing my coffee is waiting for me is a big motivator. Scrambled eggs with my favorite fresh salsa, possibly in a wrap, would get me out of bed.
posted by theora55 at 3:19 PM on November 14, 2018 [4 favorites]

I go to bed early and (usually) wake up early. I have a heated mattress pad that I turn on before bed to get it cozy and warm, and I bring a cup of mint tea with me to bed. Lately I've been buying cute nightgowns and pajamas. In the morning, well, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I pretty much go to sleep dreaming of breakfast. I often bake delicious things and freeze them. Then in the morning I start the coffee maker and one of the delicious things warming in the oven while I take the dog for a 20-minute walk, then come back home to a warm cozy house that smells like somebody made breakfast for me while I was out.
posted by HotToddy at 3:20 PM on November 14, 2018 [22 favorites]

Even though I typically just end up sleeping in a t-shirt, I find the most luxurious pajamas help me want to go to sleep. Especially if I just put them on toward the end of the evening, as I'm heading toward bed. (And then, yes, I know it doesn't make sense to change them out for a t-shirt but ... go with me here.)

I find taking a bath or shower right before bed can be both relaxing and indulgent, but that may depend on your schedule/beauty routine. But maybe something like a wonderful lotion in a scent you like that you only use at bedtime may help (I love Lush's Dream Cream but it's not cheap).

Is there something you'd like to have "alone" time for that early mornings would work for? A quiet craft project? Or even just reading? Taking a walk in the early morning is more seasonal dependent (and possibly also dependent on where you live) but I love being outside at dawn.

(This may or may not be something that works for you, but I really set up my sleeping space as a space where that's basically all it's for. I've decorated it cutely in a boutique pod hotel fashion & I will read and write in my journal, but I do nothing else than that in this space, except for extremely limited phone-time to turn on some background noise/etc. Even my clothes are kept in another room. When I go into this space, it feels like a special sanctuary that's separate from the rest of the world.)
posted by darksong at 3:35 PM on November 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

I go to bed early. I have a heated mattress pad that I burrow into and feels absolutely decadent. Sometimes I read before sleep. For breakfast, how about pancakes or a quiche?
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 3:36 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't eat dinner. I have a nice hot tea before bed, and then I read something great. I refrigerate the house at night so bed is pretty much the only comfortable place, plus I'm thinking about breakfast, so I'm motivated to get into bed to make morning come the faster so I can get my snack on. My boyfriend comes to bed two to four hours after me and by then he's freezing because the house is like a meat locker, which is perfect because I'm usually sweltering, so it's this refreshing midsleep chilldown. At four when I wake up, it's usually because I'm starving and sweltering and just done with sleep. I leap up and race to the kitchen to make coffee and begin the daylong festival of eating. I listen to BBC radio while puttering and tinkering, my favorite things in the world to do. Sometimes I rearrange stuff in the house or come up with new housemanagement systems. They frequently suck, but whatever, it's fun to try new things and some of them work out. I also do mindless chores like unloading and loading the dishwasher and the washing machine and dryer. I like to fold clothes the Kondo way. Then at 6 when NPR comes on, I slap off the radio before I hear Steve Inskeep say one single solitary phoneme, and I listen to podcasts while making the breakfast raita and omelet and whatever I'm eating for enormouslunch at the workplace.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:43 PM on November 14, 2018 [11 favorites]

A nice bedtime routine with a nice moisturizer for hands or face or both makes me interested in getting ready for bed sooner (if not always going to bed earlier).

In the mornings, quiet time alone is a huge perk - I have two small kids so once I figured that out its pretty motivating. I've done a nice mani/pedi for myself with that time. Netflix time, reading, video games - any of those guilty pleasures speak to you? I went through an avocado toast phase and it was tasty and helpful at getting me up. Gourmet breakfast in general - muffins, omelets, things that take some time to prepare?

Having the heat turn on so the house is already warm when I get up, and also having a downstairs lamp on before I head down the stairs have been helpful. In the summer, I sat on the porch swing and watched the sunrise.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 3:45 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is kind of off-kilter...

For me, the best thing about sleeping in isn't the time that I get up, but how: Waking up naturally instead of to an alarm. It's feeling "ahhhhhh" rather than "uuuugggh." So I have this wake-up light, and it makes a big difference.

I still have to get a good night sleep for this to work. For that, one thing I feel encourages it is lighting. It's cold now so I sit in bed all cozy under the covers and in soft, dim yellow lighting. It's nice, and I'm more likely to get sleepy at the appropriate time.

So, uh. I guess the tl;dr for me is "lighting".
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:45 PM on November 14, 2018 [5 favorites]

I came in to also say lighting. After dinner, during wind-down time, I dim all my lights. This makes a huge difference for some reason!

Heated blanket gets sandwiched between the sheets when I make my bed in the morning, and I turn it on about 20 minutes before going to bed. Going to sleep in a nicely made bed helps make it feel more decadant for me, too.
posted by sockermom at 3:53 PM on November 14, 2018 [4 favorites]

Going to bed early leaves plenty enough time for a nice luxurious round of getting yourself off, and that also helps many people sleep better.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:02 PM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

My favorite life hack recently has been getting Spotify connected to my Android phone's alarm, and using it to wake up to new piano music every morning. I am not super familiar with classical music so this has been a new, special experience, and I look forward to waking up and listening to something that lovely.
posted by twoplussix at 4:08 PM on November 14, 2018 [4 favorites]

Also: maybe you are very different from me but your idea of luxurious breakfast seems... milquetost.

Fry up some potatoes, make congee that takes two days, get some expensive ass steak to go with those eggs, make exotic breakfasts that the pharaohs ate, master the Monte Cristo and all its relatives, etc etc.

Breakfast can be one of the most luxurious and indulgent meals of the day, and to my taste you’ve barely scratched the surface. Let me know if you’d like more details or guidelines :)
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:09 PM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have also set up a crockpot with a heavy-duty lamp timer (some crockpots come with one built in) and set it up in my room to wake me up to fancy rice or porridges. Someone mentioned congee- I was making a sort of congee with Thai sticky rice with mango and coconut milk and coconut shreds. It was so amazing to wake up to.
posted by twoplussix at 4:13 PM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

But maybe something like a wonderful lotion in a scent you like that you only use at bedtime may help

I used to follow a lady on LiveJournal who had kind of an old Hollywood glam aesthetic and she had bedtime perfumes. Perfume she literally only put on to go to bed. Super luxe. I bought a small vial of a perfume I can't afford a bottle of from The Perfumed Court to make it even MORE luxe and it's awesome.

I also have candles I like that I only burn when I'm getting ready for bed OR in the half hour after I get up, if I get up early enough to have half an hour of faffing around time before work.

Nice or nicer sheets. Same for pajamas.

Also, it sounds like rewards motivate you, like the clothes and the chocolate milk, as much as or more than the luxury? (Having 30 minutes of French model free time is a reward) I've mentioned here before that when I'm trying to form a habit that I don't find intrinsically motivating, I buy myself a reward and then give it to a friend to hold hostage. So a week of going to bed on time could earn you new pajamas, etc.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:44 PM on November 14, 2018 [4 favorites]

Bedtime: I wind down much earlier than I need to. I brush my teeth (slowly so I enjoy it), wash my face, put on comfy pjs, then climb in bed for reading with a nice smelling candle lit next to me. I read for an hour or so and then turn off the lights and go to bed.

Morning: Slow cooked steel cut oats, yum yum yum. With bananas, coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, and/or peanut butter. Plus milk. Maybe spices.

These work better in the cold seasons.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 4:55 PM on November 14, 2018

I've found that doing some yoga right when I roll out of bed helps me get up and starts my day off well. I use the app Down Dog, which puts together somewhat randomized practices based on my preferences. Knowing that I'm using those 20 minutes or so as an act of love for myself has made a big difference. I also save tv to watch in the morning with a cup of tea and breakfast. I enjoy the me time.

At night: dimming the lights, setting a "time to start winding down for bed" timer about 30-60 minutes before I want to truly be in bed heading to sleep and having a good book to read as I relax before bed all help. I'm still working on the nighttime routine.
posted by wiskunde at 5:13 PM on November 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

I don’t think it’s rewards exactly, because they’re things that are a part of the process... though maybe I’m incorrectly defining reward as something wholly “guilty” and extra. It’s kind of the “piddling reward” described here. Something that makes the experience itself enjoyable; definitely NOT something that is a “carrot,” as in “once I finish this horrible activity I get something nice.” The post-workout chokkit mikk is slightly superfluous but also necessary because I get crazy hungry after workouts if I don’t have some carbs. (I know this is a controversial point but to me it feels like a fun thing plus body maintenance.)

Lotions are a good idea, and I love the idea of bedtime perfumes and candles. I also like the idea of making my bed every day and crawling into perfect sheets, and I think I’ll start opening the shades and putting on my music/podcasts every morning...
posted by stoneandstar at 5:33 PM on November 14, 2018

For me the free time aspect and lack of stressful start to day is enough for me, but I also drink chai tea and eat oatmeal cookies that I often bake that morning (I make the dough in the evening and it takes 10 minutes plus a few for dishes). I like apple crisp for breakfast too, with yogurt, I made a big portion of it on Sunday and had it for breakfast all week, such a good idea. I've been making very simple smoothies with kefir, strawberry jam, and a banana and that lone is great or I'll add cinnamon and cardamom.

My boyfriend and I watch a one-hour long show in bed right before we go to sleep every night, and we don't switch between different shows, we watch an entire season or series once we're both happy with one so we get sucked into what happens next. We've done game of thrones, six feet under, the wire, the sopranos, currently watching big love. I barely watch tv outside of this hour so I savor it. If I'm not feeling like lying there, I'll stretch a bit and rub oil into my cuticles. I never thought I'd be the kind of person to watch tv in bed but it's become one of the highlights of my day. We try to get into bed before 10, and my boyfriend is really good at turning the tv off and going to bed right after so I have benefited because I'm sort of forced to get to sleep, and it works.

I sleep with a sound machine, a humidifier (in the winter), and my bedroom is really pleasant so it's a treat to go to bed on my nice sheets on my comfy bed with my fluffy pillows. The dog waiting up for me to get to bed helps too. I often have a shower before bed and that encourages me to wind down. Also once it's past 8:30 no chores are happening unless it's an emergency, a good rule to avoid getting a second wind.
posted by lafemma at 6:44 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Here are some things I do.

Heated mattress pad
Humidifier in winter
Lotion, because otherwise I turn into a lizard
My meds

Here are things that help even more than this: keep a schedule. Take meds on schedule. Take sleep meds on schedule, and then go to bed on schedule. Do things you enjoy in bed: reading books, playing videogames, crazy sex, but also relaxing with a cup of an herbal tisane and a little snack - fruit, cheese, chocolate, crackers, maybe a small glass of wine. Do these things in your luxurious pajamas.

In the morning, the suggestion to have the coffee or tea automatically get started is brilliant. You can drink your morning juice while getting ready to make breakfast, or while reading a delightful book, or writing in your journal. Then make delicious breakfast and eat it while you are still luxuriating in your pajamas.

Next up, shower, and if you have more time now, do a little exercising or a bit of a personal project.

Find ways to reward yourself more highly if you get up earlier. Better pastries, you get to wear something exceptionally fabulous, you get some sort of treat.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:57 PM on November 14, 2018

Making a good breakfast every morning is one of my greatest joys of working from home but still waking up fairly early. For me that means an omelette with some nice toast, maybe some sliced fruit, and French Press coffee. It feels sooooo luxurious to eat such a nice breakfast and drink such good coffee on a Wednesday morning. Instead of just grabbing a bagel or having a bowl of cereal or something.
posted by lunasol at 9:48 PM on November 14, 2018

From a mindset perspective, it’s kind of nice to crawl into bed and say to yourself, “Isn’t it nice that my only obligation for the next several hours is to be cozy and do nothing?” Sleeping is great, but so is the suspension of responsibilities, the privacy, and the luxurious feeling of just being in a cocoon for several hours.

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, bring your awareness to the present and feel the softness of your bed, the warmth of your blankets, and just appreciate your coziness as an enjoyable experience in its own right, independent of sleep. A therapist gave me that advice once, and it stuck with me.
posted by delight at 10:35 PM on November 14, 2018 [6 favorites]

If you get up early enough you can have shakshuka for breakfast. Chop the veggies the night before so it’s easy, and set the coffee percolator. For toast you have the nice bread that you like, not the worthy coconut matting bread. Eat them in the robes of Olivia Crain (tried to link but Google says I’m suspicious and won’t let me search) (ETA: here) with satin ballet slippers (they will be tough to chew at first so boil them thoroughly), a fresh bouquet on the table, and a chapter of your favourite book or episode of your show.

If you have a cat, they will be happy to cuddle you for 15mins when you wake up.
posted by tel3path at 6:11 AM on November 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you are a tea person, buy a nice teapot and quality loose leaf tea. Loose leaf tea is so. much. better. than anything bagged. If you get a glass teapot, you can watch the leaves unfurl, which is lovely and meditative.

Breakfast suggestions:
-steel cut oats with butter & maple syrup (the real stuff!) or honey
-scrambled eggs sprinkled with chopped fresh herbs and grated parmesan
-fried eggs, toast, bacon or sausage or sauteed mushrooms
-poached eggs on a bed of sauteed kale, hot sauce to taste
-blueberry pancakes with maple syrup

Bedtime suggestions:
-get PJs that make you happy: fuzzy socks & flannel? luxurious lingerie? soft cotton? silk or satin? slinky or comfy?
-soft, warm, reassuring lighting is a must
-candles if that is your thing; I like beeswax pillar candles for extra cozy
-get into your PJs and have a cup of tea
-if it is chilly out, snuggle under a blanket
-read a book, work on a puzzle, journal, listen to music while sipping tea
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:13 AM on November 15, 2018

Along with lotions, I'd also recommend some Korean Sheet Masks. You toss one on for a few minutes and your skin feels so darn good after! I always feel like I'm treating myself to a tiny spa when I use one. My link is just one option, but there are tons out there to try.
posted by thebots at 9:57 AM on November 15, 2018

Perhaps a sunrise alarm would make waking up nice? Mine also has a sunset feature, so it could gently remind you to go to sleep because your room will get dimmer.
posted by purple_bird at 3:01 PM on November 15, 2018

« Older Help me throw money at the problem of unmotivated...   |   GiftFilter: Office Secret Santa Edition Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments