I’ve never been a morning person … I’m 32 now and I still don’t understand how people wake up early without feeling like a zombie. I used to be all grumpy and felt completely drained before even starting my day. So let me tell you how I managed to turn that around and NOT be a zombie in the morning.
I first realised I had ‘a problem’ when I was in my first job. I would only have to start at 9am, but for some reason I never managed to make it in time and my colleagues knew it was best to stay out of my way for the first half hour. No one else seemed to have that issue ;-) so I soon concluded that the issue was me … not my colleagues.
Something had to change! If other people could get out of bed on time, then so could I.
So I started being more mindful in the morning and realised that my problem was twofold: on the one hand I would just keep snoozing and falling back asleep (due to a lack of self-control). And on the other hand I really did feel like a zombie when I woke up. Like someone had ripped me from my happy place and I had tried with all my might to fight it.
My journey to waking up easier
After reading countless blog posts and articles on the subject I off course tried every possible solution: from going to bed earlier (never really worked for me), moving my alarm clock to the other side of the room (that made me even more grumpy) or using sleep apps that would wake me at an ‘optimal’ time. This last one did have a small effect, but I knew I could do even better.
So I started researching how my body naturally functions and how that could give me clues to waking up easier. I find that this way of thinking usually gives me the best solutions: by looking at how mother nature operates and what my body is ‘designed’ to do.
Every resource I consulted spoke of how sunlight is the way your body knows how to wake up. Makes sense, right? In the good old days (before alarm clocks) people just woke up when the sun told them to wake up.
So I started looking into alarm clocks that try to recreate the feeling of a sunrise. They wake you up by gradually increasing the amount of light about half an hour before your alarm clock goes off. And by ‘faking’ a sunrise your body has the opportunity to wake up slowly and in a more natural way.
Here in Belgium the Philips Wake-up Light is the most known, so that’s what I got. Honestly, I didn’t think it would really work for me … I figured it was just a sales pitch and that an artificial light would never have the effect the sun has. But I have to say, it sure makes a big difference for me.
I’ve had it for more than a year now, so I’ve been able to test it both in summer and winter. And it really performs miracles in winter when it’s cold and dark outside :-) That would usually be the worst time for me to drag myself out of bed and I have to say that this past winter it was a breeze to wake up.
I still wouldn’t call myself a morning person, but the wake-up light has really increased my quality of life. The grumpiness has disappeared and I’m not snoozing nearly as much as I used to.
If you’re also thinking about getting a wake-up light, here’s an extra ‘Minie’ tip: I find it works best to block out external light as much as possible. This helps me to fall asleep easier and increases the effect of the light (eg. when I want to sleep in). I got a pair of blackout curtains and they work miracles.
Want to buy a wake-up light? I’m really happy about my Philips one which allows me to wake up to three different sounds (including the radio – though I prefer the singing birds ;-).