Updated: Feb 18, 2021
I will preface this by saying I am a healthy sleeper. Friends and family still marvel at the straight 9 hour sleep I had the night before my wedding when many hadn't had a solid sleep in months, preparing for the big day. Falling asleep is, for the most part, a breeze and I get my 8 hours more often than not. Where I do struggle is in the waking up department. Before I started the methods below, I was waking up at 7:30AM, reading my emails immediately, eating some quick breakfast and sitting down at the computer by 8AM. That doesn't mean I was awake, organized and focused. That just means my butt was literally in the chair.
What sparked this movement towards change was a book I got from the library called "Change Your Sleep Schedule, Change Your Life". It's written by a Ayurvedic physician but before you scoff at how "froofroo" (it's a word - look it up in the Urban Dictionary) the whole thing sounds, just give it a chance. I've had far too many ear infections to not be a strong believer in Western Medicine but I'm also open to the possibilities of a more natural way of living and healing. As the title suggests, this book explores the importance of sleep and schedules. I find I still really crave schedules after having one for so many years in a full time position and that plays a big role in why I'm trying some new things.
I won't go too in depth on the book because you can always read it if you're interested but I did want to share some apps I've started using that have helped me wake up and start my day a little more grounded:
1. The Alarm
We all know this friend. Set it for 6:30AM.
If you're like me and use your phone for the alarm, you have to look at it first thing in the morning so it's hard to avoid scanning the emails that have (or have not) rolled in. I found this app that allows me to pause my inbox until I'm ready to tackle the emails. As an added bonus, it also allows you to put read receipts on emails and schedule when they go out.
I do this as soon as I get up. No checking Instagram, no drinking coffee - just immediately this workout. It's not hard and it doesn't take the place of a real workout, but it's movement. Side note: I'm completely incapable of doing a proper squat without losing my balance at 6:30AM. What is this?
This is a "brain training" app that consists of short games to measure your cognitive abilities. I didn't upgrade to the premium version and I get 3 free games every day. I've been doing this while I'm still sitting on the floor following the 7 minute workout. Some of the games really force you to think far more than you would normally before breakfast.
The meditation portion of my morning. I feel like meditation is kind of the wellness buzzword at the moment but I'm not fully sold yet. My brain is always SUPER busy so honestly, a 2 minute meditation is a huge struggle for me. Luckily, this app has 2 minute meditations though so I'm starting there and working up to the big ones. They have a wide range of guided meditations to help you de-stress, fall asleep etc. I'm still on the floor following my 7 minute work-out and brain games so I jump right into this.
In addition to the apps, here are a few things I'm also throwing into the mix:
No screens after 10PM
Bed at 10:30PM
Warm lemon water first thing in the morning
Big lunch, smaller dinner
I'm definitely not an expert but I like to try things that may improve my day, help me get more done and feel more prepared for whatever may come. Let me know if you give any of these a shot. I'd love to hear what you're doing.