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You’re reading First Thing, the HuffPost UK series helping to make your mornings happier and healthier.
Let’s be honest, most of us struggle with getting up in the mornings. Maybe you’re someone like me who always wakes up before the alarm goes off (then groans). Or you’re the person who snoozes their alarm several times.
Most Brits apparently set their alarm for 6:47am, but then hit snooze for another 25 minutes before eventually getting out of bed.
But, snoozing your alarm can negatively impact your day. “This is because a five-to-ten-minute snooze time only gives you enough time to go into ‘light sleep’ as it waits to enter the deep sleep state, otherwise known as REM,” internal sleep expert, Martin Seeley, previously told HuffPost UK.
“Your body is, therefore, put into a fight or flight mode, which triggers a response that increases your blood pressure and heartbeat as you wake up, leaving you on high alert. This makes you feel stressed despite it being the start of your day.”
Catherine Wilde, who is the founder of Soul Care Mom, life coach, a qualified yoga and meditation teacher the best time for us to wake up is typically when our circadian rhythm is in an “alert” phase.
When is the best time for us to wake up?
“The alert phase typically occurs in the early morning, so waking up at this time would be most beneficial for us. However, everyone’s circadian rhythm is different, so it is important to find out what time works best for us individually,” Wilde says.
“There are a number of ways to do this, including using a sleep diary or taking a quiz on the internet.”
Will waking up earlier increase our productivity levels?
“There is no one definitive answer to this question. Some researchers believe that waking up earlier will increase productivity levels, because individuals will have more time to get things done,” Wilde explains.
“Others argue that the early morning hours are not productive for everyone, and that people should wake up at a time that works best for them.”
“It is important to experiment with different wake-up times to see what works best for you, and to make sure you get enough sleep so that you are productive during the day.”
How can we train our bodies to wake up at a specific time every day?
“There are many factors that can influence our ability to wake up at a specific time every day, including but not limited to the time of day we go to bed, the length and quality of our sleep, and our body’s natural circadian rhythm,” Wilde says.
“However, there are some techniques we can use to try and train our bodies to wake up at a specific time. One method is to gradually increase the amount of time we spend awake in the hours leading up to our desired wake-up time.
“Another way is to develop a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, including weekends. Another is to use an alarm clock and set it for the time you want to wake up. When the alarm goes off, get out of bed immediately and start your day.”
First Thing is a HuffPost UK Life series giving you tips and advice on how to enjoy your mornings. Whether you’re an early bird or night owl, starting your day off right will make for a happier and healthier day. We’ll be sharing exercise advice, nutrition guidance, as well as ideas on forming new habits. (And no, the answer to a productive morning isn’t just setting an alarm for 5am!)
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.