5 Things Sleep Doctors Really Want You To Stop Doing In The Morning
A good sleep routine starts in the morning. How you start your day can have a bigger impact on bedtime than you may think, so we rounded up five common morning habits that sleep experts really want you to stop doing:
Waking up at different times every day.
When it comes to good sleep, consistency is key—and that goes for your bedtime and wake time. As double-board-certified integrative medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D., previously explained to mbg, "When you alter a sleep schedule more than an hour difference, your body feels tired because your circadian rhythm has not been synced." When you wake up at the same time every day, on the other hand, your body will naturally be more ready to get up and at 'em.
Ignoring your chronotype.
And speaking of when to wake up, if you've never heard of the concept of "sleep chronotypes," it may just be the sleep key you're missing. A majority of people fall under one of the four sleep chronotypes: wolves, lions, bears, and dolphins.
As board-certified sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., previously told mbg, not only does your chronotype determine what time is most optimal for you to wake up, but it's also "extremely helpful for scheduling your day's work around your productivity windows so you can accomplish all that you want while you still have the energy to do it well."
Here's more on the chronotypes so you can figure out the best sleep and wake times for you. Some other ways to support your chronotype include scheduling meetings during optimal time windows, eating meals at similar times each day, and taking a sleep-supporting supplement to help you stick to your ideal bedtime.*
Snoozing your alarm.
We've all hit the snooze button before, but according to holistic nurse practitioner Victoria Albina, N.P., MPH, snoozing isn't doing anything for you besides making it harder to get up—and setting yourself up for a groggier morning. "When you hit the snooze button, you're more likely to fall back into a deeper state of sleep," she previously explained, which translates to a rougher transition into the day.
Avoiding morning light.
Sleep is inextricably linked to our circadian rhythm, which takes its cues from lighting throughout the day (i.e., morning light means it's time to wake up, and the sunset means it's time to wind down). So, getting morning light first thing is a great way to wake up your body and mind—while avoiding it can negatively affect your circadian rhythm.
"Open your blinds as soon as you wake up, and be sure to spend at least some time every day outside in broad daylight," holistic psychiatrist Ellen Vora, M.D., previously suggested.
And last but not least, Breus has also previously explained the importance of eating breakfast—so long as it's a nutritious one. He says you'll want to go toward a protein-packed breakfast with healthy fats and further, one with little refined sugar and carbohydrates. (And for what it's worth, you can figure out the best time to eat breakfast based on your chronotype, as well). This will set you up for a regular eating schedule throughout the day and night.
The bottom line.
We all need consistent, quality sleep to make sure we're functioning at our best, and sometimes these sneaky morning habits wind up affecting our sleep more than we may realize. So along with having a good nighttime routine, don't forget that what you do in the morning counts, too.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.