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Waking up early in the morning and setting a sleep routine is a challenge for some people. You may have a TV in your room, tablet or cell phone next to your bed, cozy blankets, and a beautiful view, so why in the world would you get up – am I right?!

Your body loves the comfort of your room because your worries ordinarily drift away as you go to sleep. You don’t worry about what’s next, where you have to go, and what is on your to-do list for the day. Whether you are retired, working from home or working outside the home, this is not the ideal scenario. You need a routine and to set one – it is vital that you wake each day around the same time. You don’t want to confuse your body by waking up at different times every day.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you get into a morning routine and prevent you from sleeping in:

1. The Why of the Sleep Routine

The why is the reason why you need to wake up at a set time daily. The answer will differ based on your personal situation; however, it is important that you find what your why is. If you have no “why” there is no sense in waking up at a certain time and getting out of bed – everyone has a “why.” Before bed, write down 2-3 easy things you need to do when you first wake up. These should be tasks that you enjoy doing, take less than 20 minutes, and you can do every day. For example, I recommend that you read 20 pages of a book, call your mother, father, brother, sister or kids, stretch, meditate, and do two to three yoga poses. Maybe you can go for a 20-minute jog or run on the treadmill, or a brisk walk.

2. Mind matters

Get your mind into a routine. Trick yourself into believing that you are forming a routine, and for the first three weeks, you may need to force yourself. After three weeks, you will do it without even knowing, and after six weeks you will have mastered this new habit!

3. Do not eat before bed

First, how about a little pep talk? Put down the Girl Scout cookies. Yes, I know they are delicious, but you don’t need a bedtime snack. A full stomach can inhibit your ability to wake early. Avoid eating three to four hours before you go to bed. If you do, drink a cup of hot white tea or green tea to help with digestion.

4. Relax

Do you ever get in bed and your mind is racing, causing an endless cycle of thoughts? You cannot sleep. Well, to combat that, make an effort just to relax. Don’t finish your toughest task for the day and then attempt to sleep. Instead, do some reading, drink a non-caffeinated tea, light a scented candle, and let your mind settle down. Make sure all your electronics are off or not within reach during this period.

5. Sleep early

According to many sleep experts, an adult should get seven to nine hours of rest each night. If you are sleep deprived, you will not wake up on time. As you work toward this goal, start out with a plan to sleep for nine hours; after the first week, plan for eight hours of sleep. As you approach the the next week, sleep for seven hours at night. Going through this process can help you to get to seven hours of sleep as a long-term habit.

6. Document your routine

Write a journal documenting your sleep patterns, both before and after you make changes. Score every night’s sleep and the time you woke up. You will start to see a pattern. Make the best pattern a routine for you.

7. An alarm of the future

Set an alarm, but not just any old alarm. Consider using one from the Google Play or Apple App Store that will monitor your sleep and give you analytics. You may also want to try a sleep monitor app that’s tied to a fitness device like the FitBit. These devices have a gentler wake than the blaring siren of the standard alarm clock. It will also be an alarm, of course.

8. Snooze and lose

If you have a habit of hitting the snooze button – your last time hitting it was yesterday. If you are going to do one thing, this will be it. You need to stop hitting the snooze button. It will make you feel sluggish when you wake up, and it prolongs your sleep, though, your body isn’t physically in a sleeping state.

9. Water

Water is good for you. Drinking more water is one of the best changes you can make to your health. Drink a glass of water before bed. You will wake up hydrated and because of that, feel more energized.

10. Exercise and Work

Avoid heavy cardiovascular exercise before bed. If you catch yourself doing this, please refer to point 4 above. Both of these activities will stimulate your mind and will not let you focus on sleeping when it is time to sleep.

Not getting enough sleep?

If you have prolonged issues with sleep, you should talk to your doctor. It is possible you may have a sleep disorder that can be diagnosed through testing, and often, you can resolve sleep related to stress or worry through learning coping strategies and speaking with a counselor.

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