As a fresh graduate, getting into a working routine after university is always going to be a culture shock. You might have finally mastered the art of making one or two 9am lectures per week, but suddenly you have to be up at 7am every day for an entire week. Just typing that out makes me sleepy. It’s taken me almost a year to finally get used to full-time working life, especially in terms of establishing a proper sleep routine. Now it’s time to pass on my wisdom, because a proper morning routine can truly make a difference to your energy levels and productivity throughout the day. Lizzi Hart of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau discusses...
I know… not what you want to hear. But seriously, it makes a difference. Once you’ve gotten into a strict routine, you’ll naturally end up getting ready for bed earlier, and struggling to stay awake as late as you usually would. Don’t resist this; relish in the fact that you’re doing well by yourself.
Sorry again, but the more regular your sleeping pattern, the more likely your body will get used to being up early every day. Also, waking up early on weekends might actually surprise you; more waking hours – and during the daytime too – can have a positive effect on how rested and productive you feel after the weekend inevitably turns into Monday morning.
Opening your curtains is the first step, but the sooner you can immerse yourself in daylight, the quicker you’ll wake up. Research suggests that this will help to reset your body clock, and kick-start your body into its daytime routine. Another approach, although the two are not mutually exclusive, is to leave your curtains open, or use sheer curtains, in order to let the natural light wake you up.
Sleeping dehydrates you (because you can’t drink whilst you’re sleeping, obviously) so re-hydrating yourself as soon as you wake up will help your body wake up and prepare for the day at hand.
It might sound daunting, but by starting your day with exercise, and a flood of endorphins, you’ll end up feeling accomplished, enthusiastic and ready to smash the rest of your day. I’ll admit, this is one of the points I’m yet to introduce into my morning routine, but it’s the next thing on my list. On that note, don’t expect to go from 0 to 100 in a day; start slowly, and build up to what works best for you.
Coffee is not enough to wake you up. We need food to function, and the start of the day – even though you’ve heard it a million times before – is the most important time to eat well. Protein is brain food, helping you to function at your best, and complex carbohydrates give you the slow-burning energy to make it to lunch. A combination of both, as well as water and some whole fruit will set you up for an excellent morning, and day – far better than just a latte ever could.
You’ve woken up earlier than before, and you have more time to ease yourself into the day. To further motivate yourself to keep this up, try and reward yourself with something you wouldn’t normally have time for. For example: meditation, a cooked breakfast, an extra cup of coffee, time to read the newspaper.
Seriously, stop it. It’s such a bad habit, and snoozing makes you feel worse because you effectively start a new sleep cycle, which then gets interrupted 9 minutes later. No matter how tired or groggy you feel at 7am, you will always feel worse after snoozing. I picked up a snoozing habit during university, which I really struggled to shake. But once I started working full time, and waking up at the same time each day, it was very easy to transition out of.
In the 30 minute period before you sleep, or even better, an hour before, you should avoid any form of stimulant or device with blue light emissions. This means: no TV, no computer, no nicotine, no alcohol, no food. Avoiding these things before sleep will let your body unwind and prepare itself for rest a lot easier, meaning a more peaceful and restful night’s sleep.
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