Waking up early during the week is something that most students dread entirely. The school day brings insurmountable amounts of stress for many learners, which can make imagining the day coming overwhelming. Staying up late, as students are nervous for the next day, can lead to decreased focus which can negatively affect academic performance. All learners deserve to feel well rested each morning. Here are a couple tips, which I use daily, that I have found make early mornings a little less stressful and more enjoyable.
Once you wake up, it is imperative not to go back to bed. By turning a light on immediately, you become more aware of your surroundings, as your circadian rhythms are most vulnerable to the effects of light one hour after waking up (CDC, 2023). If you wake up after sunrise, you can also let light in by opening your curtain, blinds, or windows. Natural light is preferred but many students are up before sunrise, and thus have to use artificial light.
This tip is subjective, as not everyone’s bodies react well to caffeine and not everyone has caffeinated drinks readily available. However, for those students who do process caffeine well and feel it could help them wake up in the mornings, I suggest drinking a caffeinated beverage before school. Consumption of caffeine is correlated with improved moods and brain function, which can be beneficial to students (Ussery, 2022). It doesn’t matter what kind of caffeinated drink you choose, just drink whatever tastes best for you
Positive music energizes many people no matter the time of day. Though you may not want to blast your tunes in order to respect the people around you, listening to music at a low volume can still leave a positive impact on you and your mornings. Spotify has a great selection of morning beats, but so do other music streaming platforms. You can also always make your own playlist, but I advise you to aim for positive and motivational songs to get your day off to a good start.
Try not to switch up your wake up time. Our bodies are more likely to concentrate and focus with enough sleep and consistent wake up times (Mahibir, 2017). With this said, make sure you pick a time that allows for enough time to get ready for school. With consistent wake up times that grant you enough sleep, you are more likely to wake up feeling less tired.
Putting your phone on silent allows for limited distractions as you are getting ready for school. This allows for increased productivity and more time to focus on yourself and your needs.
Whenever your body begins to naturally feel tired and you feel it is a good time to end the night, that is your signal to sleep. If you try to force yourself to sleep, you can actually induce insomnia, which is counterproductive and limits sleeping time (Nast, 2020). Your body is more likely to feel well-rested by going to sleep when you are actually tired.
Whenever you can fit in any form of exercise, take advantage of that opportunity. Exercise has many benefits for students in a sleep regulation context. This is great for student-athletes who work out regularly, but also for those who don’t play sports. A simple walk, jog, run, or even dance party can help raise your core’s body temperature and alert your body's clock. The decline of your core body temperature thanks to exercise also helps the body to fall asleep (John Hopkins Hospital).
The more hydrated you are, the better you are able to concentrate. Energy levels are also heightened by the presence of water in your body. Water first thing in the morning also helps to decrease the frequency of headaches. Dehydration can lead to chronic headaches, so it is important to try to prevent these headaches whenever possible (LifeSource Water, 2020). Keeping a water bottle or cup near your bed will help encourage you to instate healthy hydration habits in the mornings. Still, you should try to be hydrated throughout the entire day and not just the morning.
It is extremely tempting to go back to sleep while hitting that snooze button as your alarm begins beeping. However, it is much easier to get up with a reduced amount of snoozes. The more you snooze, the more you experience interrupted sleep that will make you feel even more tired, which is counterproductive (McCallum, 2021). You also risk oversleeping, and as many students recognize, sleeping too long then missing classes can set you back academically. It is better to just get up with maybe one or two snoozes, if you need to.
This last tip definitely isn't for everyone but would work for those who enjoy reading quotes and doing affirmations. Positive affirmations have been shown to help people overcome negative thoughts, along with boosting self confidence (Taylor, 2022). This tip is applicable to people who may have anxious thoughts about the school day and need some reassurance in the morning. Positive affirmations are an awesome way to begin your day positively. An easy way to incorporate these into your morning routine is having positive quotes or affirmations on your phone’s lock screen or home screen. This way you'll see them very early in your morning. You can also put the quotes and affirmations around your room and other areas in which you spend time before school.
All in all, though waking up early can be very difficult for students across the world, these tips will help make the process a bit easier. These are simple changes you can make to your daily routine or even additions like drinking water and having caffeine. I encourage you to try them out and see if they work for you. Waking up early does not have to be negative and these tips can help you wake up early enough to get everything done while still feeling rested.
5 Benefits to Drinking Water First Thing in the Morning. (2020). LifeSource Water.
Effects of Light on Circadian Rhythms | NIOSH | CDC. (2023, April 13).
Exercising for Better Sleep. (n.d.). Www.hopkinsmedicine.org.
Mahabir, N. (2017). How and why waking up at the same time every day can improve your health | CBC Life. CBC.
McCallum, K. (2021). Does Hitting the Snooze Button Help or Hurt? Www.houstonmethodist.org.
Nast, C. (2020, December 31). How to Wake Up Early, According to Sleep Experts. Glamour.
Taylor, M. (2022). What to Know About Positive Affirmations. WebMD.
Ussery, V. (2022). Coffee in Schools: What’s all the Buzz? | Dairy MAX - Your Local Dairy Council.