I know, it's all so thrilling.
In case you've missed out, I'm putting my body through some new training - sleep training. I'm a self-proclaimed night owl-fiend, you know, the kind that stays up until the wee morning hours doodling in her journal and watching old television reruns. Then, while the rest of you are off greeting the morning (actually at morning time), I'm sleeping away hitting snooze button after snooze button. (OK, not really, I actually just set three alarms about 15 minutes apart, mainly because the snooze button makes me all sorts of delirious and confused in my zombie sleep state).
I bet you're wondering what the point of all this sleep nonsense is. You get your seven hours of Z's a night, why on earth do you need any tips? You just close your eyes and bam, you're sleeping. You're thinking, "that Chubby Vegan Mom is just crazy. Sleep is the easiest thing in the world."
Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But judging by some of the other human beings I've come into contact with the past few mornings, I think we could all do ourselves a favor (and our bodies) and just review this cute little list I've put together on some waking-up-on-the-right-side-of-the-bed pointers.
And fear not faithful followers, I'm testing out all these crazy theories, so if any of them are must-do's or must-don'ts you'll be the first to know (er, well, second, since technically I'll be the first to know).
Think you're ready to become a morning person? Then get ready to greet that sunrise with some serious zest folks.
1. No, seriously, get some zest. Or maybe a little bit of peppermint, whichever you prefer. Did you know studies show that people who kick start their day with a little lemon water, tea, peppermint tea or gum are more productive the rest of the morning? The effects are said to double when you pair a lemon or peppermint beverage with a scented candle, lotion or fragrance. I don't know about you, but if a little peppermint candy and lemon candle are all it takes to get my butt in gear, I'm going to give this little gem a whirl. And heck, even if it doesn't work, all I'm stuck with is a yummy candle and some hot water!
2. OK, now for the hard part. If you're trying to train your body to wake up earlier, take baby snoozes, I mean steps. If you're used to waking up at 9 a.m. everyday but now you need a consistent 6 a.m. wake up call, don't shock your body into it. You might think "oh one day of pain and no sleep will mean I'll rest easier the following night." WRONG. All sleep shocking your system will do is make you a big grouchy pants all day, cause you to seriously zonk out at night and wake up feeling even more tired when you try to get up at 6 a.m. again. Trying to make up for your five hours of sleep the night before with a 12-hour sleep session is not going to reset your body's clock.
Instead, work your way to an earlier wake by using the T rule. Decrease your wake up time by 20 minutes every two days (but make sure you're accounting for this at bedtime folks! Going to bed at midnight and expecting to feel refreshed at 5 a.m. is just silly). Take for example my week. My absolute latest curfew for this week is midnight. Today I woke up at 7:40. Tomorrow and Wednesday I'll wake up at 7:20. Then Thursday and Friday I'll wake up at 7 a.m. This means by Thursday and Friday I should be turning in no later than 11:30 if I want to allow myself time to journal in my stress book and catch a few minutes of "Friends" reruns (I'm setting the sleep timer on the TV and trying really, really hard to break this habit!).
3. Just say no ... to snooze buttons. Not only do they annoy the crap out of your significant other, they're actually MAKING you tired. No, they're not giving you a few precious minutes like you might think, they're actually tricking your body into trying to get more rest and making it MORE tired. Sleeping is seriously tough work on your body. It's got to go through a whole big spiel before it can really shut down and relax (hello melatonin production, muscle relaxing, body temperature cooling off, brain shutting down).
When you constantly hit the snooze button and only allow yourself 5-10 extra minutes of sleep at a time, it's basically like restarting your computer, reading one email and then rebooting it again using that back switch on the tower. (AKA not shutting it down properly). Each time you do it, it's going to take longer for your computer (AND your body) to load back up.
Some sleep experts even believe that by hitting the snooze button more than three times, you're actually making your body do so much work to go back to sleep that it forgets about all that REM (super deep, super awesome sleep) that you've already gotten and just makes you MORE tired. AKA, a big, fat grouchy pants.
4. So you're a serial snooze button-er, what now? It's simple really, just set your alarm clock somewhere you can't reach it. By the time you crawl out of bed and finally turn the darn thing off, it'll be MUCH easier to get your body moving for the day. Resist the urge to cozy back into bed. I'm really, really terrible about this. Even if I don't want to go back to sleep, I love, love, love laying in my bed wrapped in my blanket cocoon. I'll spend 20, 30 minutes just laying in my bed being warm. It's nice, but it's a waste of the morning.
If you're tempted to crawl back into bed, reward yourself for getting out of it. Now that I don't have time late at night to watch all that bad television programming I'll let myself catch up with my DVR while I'm enjoying my morning coffee or oatmeal. Give yourself a reason to get out of bed, even if it's to catch up with everything you missed on Facebook while you were going to bed at 11. Make it a morning ritual to catch up with a friend or work buddy before you start your day. Part of programming yourself to be a morning person means setting up new routines to follow, new routines to give you a reason to get out of bed.
5. You're going to hate this one, but get your butt out of bed and DO something. Sleep experts advise anywhere from 15-30 minutes of light exercise to get the juices flowing. Head outside with your faithful dog Spot and go for a 20 minute walk around the block. Pop in your favorite exercise video and catch up with that annoying, dancing, perky trainer. Grab a dedicated friend and meet at the gym for a quick run around the track. Just get up and DO something. It doesn't have to be a marathon, it's just got to be physical activity that gets you moving, your blood pumping and those wonderful, awesome endorphins flowing through your body.
Trust me, I'm the Chubby Vegan Mom herself, I'm not a fan of working out, but I can't stress how much this really, really helped me this morning. I got my butt out of bed at 7:40, brushed my teeth, brewed my coffee (because even though it's 12 degrees outside I LOVE iced coffee and have to let it cool off so the ice doesn't get all melty and water my drink down) and then did some yoga. I did 15 minutes of yoga and 15 minutes of light aerobics and you know what? By noon I was still going strong. By 5 p.m. I still felt great and it wasn't until about 7:45 p.m. tonight that I started to feel a little sluggish.
It's hard to make yourself do it, hard while you're actually doing it and you're body might be a tiny bit sore when you're done, but trust me, 30 minutes to an hour later you're going to have this awesome surge of energy and unlike your caffeine buzz, it won't cause a crash later.
6. Eat something for goodness sake! I know, I know, you don't have time to or you're not hungry. Too bad. I didn't say you had to eat a seven-course meal in the morning, I just said to eat something. Scarf down a banana, smear some preserves on an English muffin or blend up your favorite smoothie (say, with your Vitamix blender that you JUST ordered and are impatiently awaiting it's arrival). Just get something into your body. You're getting up earlier now and you're doing some physical activity, this means not only are you going to be hungrier, you're going to be hungrier A LOT earlier, like 10 a.m. earlier. I curbed my crazy lunch craving with a banana and peanut butter this morning and was good until I got off work in the early afternoon.
Shove something little in your belly, your body will thank you later.
7. Don't forget to reward yourself. Add a little more curl to your hair (that you normally NEVER have time to do), catch up with your crappy DVR'd television or read your favorite blog before you go in the office. You're not just getting up early, you're restructuring your day and your life, so make sure to give yourself a pat on the back for all your hard work.
Because when you're a serious night owl like me, waking up on the RIGHT side of bed at the RIGHT time, is A LOT of work.
Stay tuned, this week is going to feature some of my epic fails when it comes to new morning routines and maybe, just maybe, a few successes!
Do you have any sleep-sound tips? Don't hold out on a sleepy, chubby vegan mom, share already!