I would venture to guess that the majority of college age students are not the very least enthusiastic about early mornings. In fact, who really is? As difficult as it may seem, creating an early morning routine is an excellent habit. It is a lifestyle change, and will, without a doubt, increase your productivity and energy level throughout the day, not mention, give you more time, which is a rare commodity at college. Here’s what you need to do:
If it were up to my slothful nature, I would sleep until noon everyday, and as often as I have read that waking up early is good for me, and as often as I have tried to make it a habit, I have failed. I find myself at the height of my comfort when the alarm rings. I hit snooze multiple times each morning and finally get up, giving myself only twenty minutes to get ready and get out the door. This happens every morning despite my good intentions.
Recently, however, since the idea for this topic came to mind, I decided, as part of my research, to follow through with my self-made commitment and get up. I succeeded. Here was the difference:
I researched this idea for a while and came across this article called, “How To Become An Early Riser,” by Steve Pavlina, who advised his readers that our bodies release hormones that cause us to lose consciousness to signal us for sleep. Those that go to bed at a regimented time whether they are tired or not, may be at more risk for insomnia because their bodies may not be ready for sleep. Those who go to bed too late, past the time their bodies signaled them, may experience extreme fatigue because their bodies required more sleep.
I thought this was interesting. I have tried several things to help relieve my fatigue in the morning—going to bed early, taking a cold shower in the morning, exercising in the morning (which is good), but what I have realized is that in order for me to feel the most rested and the most energized, I must be soundly asleep during my 6-7 hours in bed.
When I tested the concept, going to bed once I felt drowsy and falling asleep no later than ten to fifteen minutes after I laid in bed, I woke up early feeling energized.
I will confess that my inertia was screaming out “STAY!” But I really had no reason despite the reasons I was trying to convince myself with. I felt so good that I made the choice to get up and haven’t regretted it so far. Yes, it is dreary and raining. Yes, my bed was extremely comfortable and warm. Yes, I work from home so what’s the harm in another hour, but I chose to get up. It really just comes down to a choice.
Once you get up, immediately start an exercise routine—running, aerobics, Pilates or calisthenics, whatever it is to get your heart rate moving. Do this for about twenty-minutes. Too much exercise in the morning can lead to exhaustion, and too little will be a waste of time. Test this concept, and you will see the difference in your energy level throughout the day.
As many times as we hear from nutritionists and the back of cereal boxes how necessary a healthy breakfast is, I will say it again. I am no nutritionist, but I have been dedicated to eating a small, healthy breakfast each morning and have seen the results in how I feel. I am less hungry at lunch and feel much better than I do if I skip breakfast.
The best way to make an early morning routine a lifestyle routine is to make it a habit. Challenge yourself by maintaining this regimen for at least two weeks. You will find that your body will naturally fall into the system, and the more you do it, the less grueling and more beneficial it will become.
Something possibly more difficult than waking up early for a college student is to indulge in desisting of the ever depended upon cup of coffee. Caffeine consumption greatly disrupts your normal sleep balances by altering the melatonin in your bodies, which regulates your sleeping and waking.
A sleep study by Tel-Aviv University, et.al., examined the effects of caffeine on sleep quality and melatonin secretion. They found “that drinking regular caffeinated coffee, compared to decaffeinated coffee, caused a decrease in the total amount of sleep and quality of sleep, and an increase in the length of time of sleep induction. Caffeinated coffee caused a decrease in 6-SMT excretion throughout the following night.” (Sleep Medicine, Elsevier Health)
They confirmed the broad notion that “coffee consumption interferes with sleep quantity and quality,” and “that the consumption of caffeine decreases 6-SMT excretion. Individuals who suffer from sleep abnormalities should avoid caffeinated coffee during the evening hours.”(Sleep Medicine, Elsevier Health)
In other words, break the caffeine habit if you want quality rest.
Without quality rest, college may sufferable.
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