How to Wake Up Fast and Attack the Day
Every day at 6 a.m., my alarm goes off. I hit snooze several times before eventually rolling out of bed 30 to 45 minutes later. Why? Because waking up is hard to do. My still-asleep self tells me I’m still tired, and my bed is comfortable. If you’re anything like me, though, you want to wake up earlier; you just don’t actually follow through. Until now, that is — I’ve compiled a list of ways to get over the hurdle of waking up the first time your alarm goes off, jump out of bed, and attack the day! (See also: 5 Effective Sleep Tips You Haven't Tried Yet)
1. Articulate Why You Want to Wake Up Fast
If you’re not clear about why you want to wake up fast in the mornings, you won’t do it. It sounds simple, but actually verbalizing your reason for getting up in the morning is an important first step. In my case, I want to get up early enough to do a little yoga. It helps wake me up slowly, relaxes me, and sets the tone for the day. In your case, it might be important to get some reading in before heading to work. It might simply be getting up early enough to not feel perpetually rushed when you get out the door. If you were able to wake up the first time your alarm went off instead of 30 minutes later, you’d have 130 extra hours — or nearly 5 ½ days — per year to do something you enjoy!
2. Assault Your Ears With Loud Noises
If you’ve ever heard the submarine alarm sound for the iPhone, you know what I’m talking about. Obnoxious noises are an excellent, albeit annoying, way to shock yourself awake in the mornings. You could also try having one of these great tunes to wake up to playing at top volume. Whatever the sound, make it loud and jarring, and you’re more likely to speed through the fog of sleep to full consciousness before your brain has time to hit snooze.
3. Put Your Alarm Across the Room
Movement, like loud noises, helps your brain to wake up quickly. Make that movement compulsory in the morning by putting your alarm across the room. By the time you get to it, you’ll be awake enough to remember that you want to get up to practice yoga this morning, or get to the gym, or read. This tip works even better if your alarm is playing an extremely loud noise — it gives you added incentive to get to it quickly. Instead of putting your alarm across the room, you could try the popular Clocky alarm clock, which rolls across the room once it goes off until you chase it down. For an alarm that combines music and movement, check out Clocky’s little brother, Tocky.
4. Splash Cold Water in Your Face
It’s common knowledge that the shock of cold water is a great way to wake up fast. You could enlist a roommate or spouse to throw water on you in the morning, but that would be extreme. Instead, prepare the night before by putting a bowl of water and washcloth by your bed, and you’ll be able to immediately give your face a cold soak in the morning before the snooze monster gets you.
5. Drink a Cold Glass of Water
Although it turns out that drinking copious amounts of water at the start of each day cannot, in fact, cure disease, drinking one glass of cold water can help raise your alertness quickly. Again, the key is preparation — have a glass of water by the bed and try to drink it all before even thinking of hitting the snooze. By then, your rational, awake mind will have taken over, and you’ll be ready to start the day.
6. Smell Something Energizing
According to FOCUS Magazine, smelling salts, which have been used for hundreds of years to revive people from faints, work because the gas in them irritates the lungs, causes people to inhale, and elevates blood oxygen levels. Similarly, certain scents, including peppermint and lemon, have been shown to increase alertness. In fact, one study by the Sense of Smell Institute (yes, it really exists) found "that people exposed to lemony, woody fragrances early in the morning" experienced a boost in motivation. The best way to have these scents at your fingertips early in the morning is with a small bottle of peppermint essential oil or lemon extract at your bedside.
7. Drink Caffeine
Caffeine is likely one of the most obvious ways to wake up fast in the morning; however, the benefit you reap from it depends on the method of delivery. If you hate the taste of coffee, try having a soda, an energy-boosting shot (like 5-Hour Energy), or a chai tea. If you’re just after the beverage that packs the most caffeine punch per milligram, check out the Energy Fiend’s Caffeine Database. Just take care to only drink enough to get you going in the morning, so you don’t get the jitters by the afternoon. Ever wondered how much is too much caffeine? Answer your question with the Energy Fiend’s Death by Caffeine Calculator.
8. Eat Something
Besides the other numerous benefits of eating breakfast (PDF) in the morning (including weight loss, increased focus, and decreased stress), breakfast can also help you to wake up fast. Because we don’t eat while we sleep, our blood sugar levels drop at night. Getting some carbohydrates first thing in the morning can give you a quick increase in alertness. Try keeping something like chocolate-covered espresso beans (for chocolate and sugar) or fruit (for sugar and carbohydrates) by your bed so you can reach for it first thing in the morning.
I don’t mean a full workout routine, although for some (including me) that’s the whole point of waking up fast in the first place. I do mean jumping out of bed and doing a two-minute stretching exercise to increase your blood pressure and heart rate. A quick bout of calisthenics is a good way to get your brain in wake up mode fast. Not sure what exercises to do? Try some of these sun salutation yoga poses or just stretch every extremity for 15 seconds.
10. Prepare the Night Before
Waking up fast has a lot to do with how you go to bed the night before. We all know the basics, but they bear repeating: avoid alcohol and caffeine within several hours of bedtime, try to resolve bothersome disputes, and get enough sleep. It also helps to prepare for the next day on the night before by laying out clothes and putting together supplies needed for work or school. This way, your mind is better able to focus on what a great day you’re about to have, rather than dreading the odds and ends you’ll have to wrap up as soon as waking up.
So there you have it — the best of the best ways to wake up fast. I hope it helps you to wake up fast, fresh, and ready for the day ahead!
Have you found anything particularly helpful in waking up fast? Share your thoughts in the comments!