The secret to a great night's sleep

How to become a morning person

We can now officially say that summer is here. In the winter, long, dark mornings make it difficult to get out of bed, but in the summer have no excuse - it's time to make the most of the long and lovely days. The school holidays are looming, and if you and the kids are up early, you'll have more time to enjoy the sunshine and get outside.

Silentnight's sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, says: 'Not everyone is naturally a morning person but you can encourage your mind and body to be more alert and optimistic in the morning by practicing the following techniques

Eat Breakfast 

This is an absolute non-negotiable if you want to become a bright-eyed morning person. People who eat breakfast have less difficulty falling asleep, wake up with more energy and are less inclined to hit the snooze button. Eating breakfast within 30-45 minutes of waking up stabilises your blood sugar levels and speeds up your metabolism. If you can, try to include some protein and vary your breakfasts to keep you motivated.

Have some early morning 'you' time

Gradually start to get up a little earlier. Allow yourself more time to get ready and prepare for the day. This isn't about getting up and getting into work earlier, it's about waking up and giving yourself peaceful, quiet time to prepare mentally for the day ahead. Use this time to think about what you have to look forward to that day. Smile and count your blessings. You'll soon realise how valuable this early morning you time is. You might even start to look forward to it! 

Avoid checking your phone first thing

Try to avoid reaching for your phone first thing to check emails. While looking at your bright phone screen will certainly wake you up, it's stressful for the brain and and doesn't allow you to wake up gradually. If you go to bed knowing you're going to be straight up and into work mode you'll be far more inclined to roll over when the alarm goes off.

Don't rely on caffeine

Many people who struggle to get up in the morning rely on caffeine to give themselves a boost. This isn't ideal and will get you into a vicious cycle. Caffeine blocks the action of melatonin which helps us sleep and increases the number of times you wake up during the night leaving you tired and sluggish in the morning. Try to avoid any caffeine after 3pm, never have caffeine before your breakfast and if you're really serious about becoming a bright-eyed morning person cut it out completely.

Wind down in the evening 

To wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead you need to put the ground work in at bedtime. This doesn't necessarily mean going to sleep earlier, but it does means starting to wind down earlier in the evening. A perfect way to do this is with a hot bicarbonate of soda bath 60-90 minutes before bed. Add two big mugs of bicarbonate of soda to comfortably hot water. Immerse yourself completely for 20 minutes. The bicarbonate neutralises the skin's acidity, softens dry skin and is a good aid in detoxification. Don't use soap or shampoo as the chemicals will reduce the effect. Rinse off and go to bed soon afterwards. You will feel very tired, sleep well and find it much easier to get up in the morning.

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