Like many of us, I wake up most mornings already ready to crawl back into bed. The word “grumpy” is a severe understatement when it comes to my attitude before several cups of coffee. Until now, I had always just accepted these rough starts to my day, but I knew there had to be a better way to wake up, so I started digging.

The most common tip I found when researching was to try and relax for at least an hour before bedtime. If stress can literally kill your brain cells, just imagine how it could affect your sleep cycle.

While we’re on the topic of stress, it is imperative to try and accomplish as many tasks for the next day you can before you go to bed. Waking up and knowing you have so much to do before you even leave the house is guaranteed to put you in a bad mood.

The director of the behavioral sleep medicine-training program at the University of Utah expressed the importance of light on our body’s circadian rhythm. Leaving your blinds slightly open and waking with the sun can keep you from feeling groggy.

And now… let’s talk about the snooze button. Your body goes through a detailed sleep cycle every time your head hits the pillow and you drift into dreamland. REM sleep is an essential part of this cycle. Ideally, when you wake up, your mind has reached the end of its REM cycle and is ready to start the day. So by hitting the, ever so tempting, snooze button and attempting to get just a few more minutes of precious sleep, you’re sending your body into a REM cycle it can’t complete, leaving you feeling more tired than you would have before the first snooze hit. Reena Mehra, M.D., the director of sleep disorders research at Cleveland Clinic explains that those extra minutes of sleep isn’t doing anything for your mind, as it isn’t “restorative sleep.”

As soon as I began to research sleep and morning tips, I decided to try them out for myself.

The most helpful tip I discovered was, surprisingly, getting up as soon as my alarm went off. Although it took me a minute to shake off the drowsiness, I realized that I felt so much more refreshed and ready than I previously had.

No matter how hard I tried, however, it seems I am just not the type of person who can get her clothes and bag ready the night before. I kept telling myself, Oh, I’ll do it later, and then just never did.

Now it’s time for you to take your sleep habits into your own hands. Experiment with what works for you and what doesn’t. Taking small steps like these can help improve your overall happiness and health, and ensure a goodnight's rest and peaceful morning.

Annika Sorrow is a Junior at East Jackson Comprehensive High School and intern at Mainstreet Newspapers. 

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