By Danielle Leong, November 24 2017 —
Getting enough sleep as a student can be tough, especially in the thick of exam season. Sometimes, even just waking up in the morning can be a challenge. Completing some kind of morning routine before rushing out the door is a whole other story.
This semester, I made the mistake of signing up for an 8 a.m. calculus lecture four days a week, which means a 6 a.m. wake-up call. Initially, I struggled with falling back asleep and forgetting things I needed at home. But knowing that showing up late and unprepared for class every day could compromise my grades motivated me to become more functional earlier in the day. I’m still working on it, but I’ve learned some little tricks that make mornings more enjoyable. Even if you don’t have 8 a.m. lectures, these tips will help start your morning positively, making for a productive day.
1. The five-second rule:
Waking up doesn’t need to be dreadful and difficult. Sleeping in is only appealing until you experience the stress of realizing class starts in five minutes. In her book The 5 Second Rule, motivational speaker Mel Robbins recommends giving yourself to the count of five to leave bed after waking up. Take your time at the start of the countdown, but when you reach one, you should be leaping out of bed. Robbins compares it to a rocket ship launch — the build-up helps prevent lethargy or negative thoughts from weighing you down.
I usually combine this motivational countdown with the no-snooze tactic. Pressing the snooze button disrupts your sleep cycle and only adds to your tiredness — you might as well wake up when first your alarm first goes off. You snooze, you lose!
2. Plan ahead:
You’ve probably experienced the gross realization of forgetting the assignment you stayed up working on all night at home. Preparing for the next day might seem obvious and simple but it makes a big difference. It doesn’t usually take longer than 15 minutes to write down any tasks for the next day, plan an outfit and pack your bag with everything you need. It might take a little extra time but preparing a lunch helps too. Doing all of this the night before saves tons of stress, letting you wake up calmer and more organized.
3. Indulge in self-time:
Take advantage of time before class to develop mental-health boosting habits. Instead of rolling out of bed, try slowly sitting up to help wake up your body — you can do this during the five-second countdown. But if you need longer than five seconds, try meditating and stretching after sitting up while still in bed. The silence and solitude combined with movement gets blood flowing to your brain, helping you think more clearly. Afterwards, wake up your senses with a nice cold glass of water. If you need an extra energy boost, listen to your go-to pump-up song for a rush that a cup of coffee could never provide.