Waking up feeling rested and energized to tackle the day is key to our well-being and success. And even though the debate rages on about whether early birds or night owls do it better, it’s becoming clear that your chronotype isn’t as important as your morning and evening routine for achieving that restful night of sleep and stress-free morning we all seek.
So we asked members of the Thrive Global community to share their top strategies for waking up feeling relaxed and recharged.
Harness the power of predictability
“Predictability reduces my stress: I have a plan for the week that covers the most important aspects of my life and business. Some are for my household, while others are for my well-being. I go to bed at the same time every day so I can wake up at the same time. I set out my gym clothes the night before so there’s no inner debate about whether I should exercise. I also do the same thing every morning — have coffee, do my daily planning, and do the most important thing first — this gives me momentum for the rest of the day.”
—Susie Ramroop, mindset coach, London, England, U.K.
Do a brain dump before bed
“My number one strategy for waking up feeling relaxed is doing a brain dump before bed. I know it sounds old-school, but getting it all on paper clears my head knowing that all I need to do when I wake up in the morning is outline my action plan. I don’t have to stress about how I’m going to be productive, I simply need to tick off the tasks in my action plan to achieve my desired outcome for the day.”
—Adebusola Adefeso, medical doctor, Lagos, Nigeria
Fall asleep to guided meditations
“Guided meditations send me into a deep state of relaxation just before rest and help me sleep deeper and wake up feeling refreshed. I use Yoga Nidra meditations on Insight Timer!”
—Caitlin Donovan, burnout coach, Florham Park, NJ
Try this pillow trick
“My secret for a good night’s rest is popping a cushy pillow between my knees while I sleep. I make sure to keep it wedged in there even when I turn on my side. It works wonders!”
—S.M. Siwisa, writer, Johannesburg, South Africa
Set your day up for success while you’re still in bed
“Before I open my eyes — but after I’m awake — I say three things I’m grateful for and remind myself of three things I need to achieve to make this day amazing. Then, I swing my legs off the bed and ground them on the floor, close my eyes, straighten my back, and breathe deeply for three to five minutes. While I’m breathing, I recite short, internal affirmations to myself. ‘I am strong, I am powerful, I am successful, I am joyous, I am a winner,’ etc. Despite running two businesses and raising three kids, I always wake up feeling relaxed. This short routine helps set me up for success.”
—Daniela Kelloway, founder, Ontario, Canada
Make your nights and mornings about self-care
“Before bed, I set up the coffee pot and prep the items for my lunch tote: utensils, water bottles, snacks, etc. When I’m ready for bed, I always open my Calm app and choose a sleep story. This has become a nighttime staple! In the mornings, I hydrate with water, a shot of apple cider vinegar, and do a foam rolling series on my yoga mat. I love to follow Lauren Roxburgh’s wake up routine! It’s a full-body energizer! As a teacher and instructor, my whole day is centered around others’ wants and needs, so these simple routines give me a double, daily dose of self-care and keep my body and mind balanced.”
—Justyne Mouning, high school teacher and fitness instructor, New Haven, CT
Connect over breakfast
“I’m a great believer in the power of breakfast, I set the table. That helps me sleep with the sense of completed necessary tasks, and in the morning, we can really sit down and eat together as a family. While it’s super early, it’s a lovely way to pause and spend time with one another before our days start in earnest.”
—Erika Clegg, agency co-founder, England, U.K.
Take 10 deep breaths of outside air
“Take 10 breaths of fresh air. I get out of bed and open a window for a few minutes, regardless of the weather. It gets rid of stale air and invites the day in.”
—Todd Garrett, marketing, Nashville, TN
Put your technology to bed
“I cherish my sleep rituals: First, I put my cellphone and technology to bed in the ‘think tank’ room, put on my gym clothes and best of all, read. Finally, I put on my mouth guard, plug my ears, mask my eyes, and I’m in heaven. I usually get about nine hours of sleep, and have trained my child to do the same. Even at 18-years-old, he still sleeps a solid eight hours. Now, back to sleeping with gym clothes: in the morning, while still in bed, I slowly perform stretches leading up to strength exercises. Then I slide out of bed and start the rest of my day.”
—April Choi, real estate investor/coach, Decatur, GA
Use a mental thought-filing system
“I started this filing system to help me meditate almost 15 years ago. Whenever an idea or a thought would cross my mind, I’d categorize it as irrelevant (these are trashed); important (goes in a secondary folder); or urgent (filed according to their priority). Since then, every night before resting, I’d review my day, my chores for the following day, and start filing. This routine has helped me sleep better because I’m managing the effects of all my encounters and planning the next day’s activities. I wake up feeling relaxed, fresh, and ready to go!”
—Nadia Al Sheikh, founder, Singapore
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