Wake Up Refreshed

Daily Health Solutions, Sleep
on January 1, 2009

If you want to jump out of bed feeling more rested in the morning, the obvious answer is to actually be more rested. That means heading to bed earlier the nights before your crack-of-dawn wake-up calls.

"Start winding down earlier than usual,¨ says Dr. Mary Susan Esther, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Esther suggests turning off all but the most essential reading lights and shutting off the TV and computers a few hours before bed to signal to your body that it's time to slow down. A warm bath may help too—the post-soak drop in body temperature is conducive to sleep.

In the morning, use the energy-boosting power of light to your advantage by flipping the switch on a bedside lamp (instead of the snooze button!) as soon as your alarm goes off.

Even on days when you don't need to get up—for instance, if your walking group only meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings—go ahead and set the alarm. "In order to really adjust and make yourself more of a morning person, you have to establish a new waking schedule," Esther says. That means getting up at the same time every day. Use your off-mornings to get chores done, squeeze in a little me-time, enjoy a good breakfast—or all of the above. Or do a few yoga poses or gentle stretches. All of the extra time you'll have might make you miss your cozy bed a little less.