5 tips for getting out of bed on time


Image: John Fedele | Veer

Just a few more minutes….

Does your morning always start with these drowsy little words? Whether you work day shift or night shift, waking up can be the most difficult part of your day, particularly if you haven’t been sleeping well. So how do you fight the warmth of your comfy bed and get up and going when your body is saying it has no get-up-and-go?

Here are some tips to wake up your mind and body, giving you the chance to get off to a fresh start and get to your shift on time. Whether you’re hitting the sheets at 11 p.m. or 9 a.m., the same principles apply.

1. Put your alarm clock out of reach
If you know that you’re going to hit your snooze button for an extra five minutes of sleep—and then again for another five minutes—your best bet might be to move the alarm to another part of the room. If you have to get out of bed to silence it, you’ll be less likely to go back to bed.

There are stories of some nurses getting really creative, like putting their old-fashioned ringing alarm clock in a (clean!) metal bedpan. That might be overkill for some of us, though!

2. Eat breakfast
Get into the habit of eating a healthy breakfast (or an after-sleeping meal) and your stomach will help you get out of bed! As a nurse, you know the importance of good nutrition. How can you expect your body to operate on empty if you haven’t filled the tank? Start a routine of eating a meal with protein to keep you going. As this becomes a regular habit, you’ll feel hungry when you wake up, making it less tempting to loll about in bed.

3. Set the coffee pot timer
Do you absolutely need that cup of coffee when you get up? Does the mere smell of a good cup of coffee perk you up and make you feel like something good is coming? Then set your coffee maker to start brewing your coffee a few minutes before your alarm goes off. When you wake up, you’ll be greeted by the wonderful aroma of freshly brewed coffee. How can you resist that?

4. Do some exercise
If you’re not the type of person who likes to get up and go running a couple of miles or go down to the gym before a shift, you can still exercise to help your body wake up. It may take a few days to get into the habit, but set yourself up to do some exercise as soon as you get out of bed. In other words: Hit the alarm, jump out of bed, grab a glass of water, exercise and then shower. Your body can’t argue with that, can it?

You could try some yoga or just regular stretching exercises to help wake up your muscles. Some people invest in DVDs or even a Wii game system for a fun way to get some motion in their lives.

5. Reward yourself
It’s no fun having to get up early to get the kids to school or yourself off to work. But what if you had something to look forward to? Setting your alarm five or ten minutes earlier and doing something just for you is a great way to motivate yourself to get up and out of bed. What type of reward? Whatever makes you happy (except for sleeping!). It could be sipping a great cup of coffee, eating your favorite brand of cereal, doing a crossword puzzle, taking a bubble bath instead of a shower—whatever you would look forward to experiencing.

Considering how many times we have to get up and out of bed in a lifetime, it’s a shame that it’s something many of us find so difficult to do.

Do you have any tips to wake up refreshed and start your day, no matter what time it is?

Marijke Durning
Marijke is a professional writer who began her working career as a registered nurse over 25 years ago. After working in clinical areas ranging from rehab to intensive care, as a floor nurse to a supervisor, she found she could combine her extensive health knowledge with her love of writing. Although she has been published in a wide variety of publications for professionals and the general public, her passion is writing for the every day person to promote health literacy.

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