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7 simple steps to wake up easier in the morning
Take charge of your morning. - photo by Callie Hansen
If youre anything like me, waking up in the morning is a daily struggle. I press snooze every five minutes, sleep through fifty alarms and end up late to everything. Every day I tell myself that I will be better the next day and wake up earlier all to no avail. So I started changing up my bedtime and morning routine to find something that actually worked. These seven things helped me to take charge of my morning:

1. Go to sleep earlier

It sounds so simple, but it actually works. Going to bed a few hours earlier, (9 PM rather than after midnight) can have a profound impact on your sleep patterns. Youll not only get more rest, but your body will actually be motivated to wake up earlier and easier. If you have to wake up early for work or school (or if your kids love waking you up at the crack of dawn) setting an earlier bedtime for yourself can make all the difference in the world. It may mean sacrificing late-night Netflix binging, but its well worth it.

2. Lay out your clothes and things you need the night before

Take extra time before you go to bed to lay out tomorrow's outfit and everything else you need to help you get going. This way you arent wasting time staring at your closet for 10 minutes trying to figure out what youre going to wear.

If you exercise in the morning (but lack the motivation to do it) wear your workout clothes to bed. Yes, that includes your shoes. When you wake up youll already to be dressed and ready to work out and get your morning started.

3. Leave the blinds open

It is definitely easier to sleep in a pitch black room, at least for me. Ive noticed that even if my room is pitch black at night, by the time morning comes its hard to tell if the sun has even come up. This messes with my bodys rhythm, making me sleep in longer. If you sleep with the blinds open or a light on, itll be easier for you to wake up with the sun.

4. Apps are where its at

There are hundreds of awesome apps out there that will help you to wake up in the morning. Here are a few Ive tried that have worked great for me:

Sleep Cycle [Free]

This app analyzes your sleep patterns through the night and then picks the time when youre sleeping the lightest to wake you up as gently as possible. The alarm still has snooze capabilities, but they decrease in time with each time you press it. After a 30 minute window is up, you cant snooze the alarm anymore; you have to turn it off and wake up.

UHP Alarm Clock [$1.99]

UHP Alarm Clock makes you walk somewhere (your front door, your bathroom, etc) before the alarm turns off. If you dont walk to that place, the app will post to Facebook or Twitter that you arent awake yet. In order to save your online reputation, youll be sure to wake up in the morning and actually get out of bed.

Alarmy [Free]

This app is a one-stop shop for getting you out of bed. It has three modes: the first Photo Mode makes you get out of bed and take a picture of your bathroom before turning off the alarm. The second, Shake Mode makes you shake the phone in order to turn off the alarm, and Math problem mode makes you solve a math problem to turn off the alarm.

5. Avoid the snooze button at all costs

Challenge: avoid the snooze button at all costs. Set an alarm for when you actually have to wake up. If possible, disable the snooze button. Then youll be forced to wake up and get out of bed. And whatever you do, after you turn off your alarm clock, dont go back to sleep.

6. Dont let your phone be the first thing you see in the morning

The first thing I do after I turn off my alarm is open my phone to social media. I browse through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and repeat...over and over again. If you have this problem, check out the free app Freedom. This app lets you choose problem websites and apps to block for a designated amount of time. It will keep you free of distractions and help you to focus on what you need to.

7. Be motivated: have a goal to meet as soon as you wake up

Set goals for things you want to accomplish first thing in the morning: exercising, writing in your journal, reading a small passage from a book, making breakfast, getting coffee, etc. Make these things priorities the night before so when you wake up in the morning, youll be able to focus on doing what you need to. Making a to do list with boxes to check off helps me keep track of my goals. Theres something satisfying about being able to check a box off the list once Ive finished something important.

Dont let sleepy mornings control your life. If you apply any of these steps into your nightly and morning routine, youll be able to take charge of your mornings and wake up much easier than you ever have before.
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