The Best Way To Wake Up — From A Sleep Doctor Who Never Needs A Morning Alarm
If you aren't naturally an early bird, waking up in the morning can be a challenge. There are plenty of ways to energize yourself when you get out of bed, from getting natural light to moving your body—and here, we're sharing sleep expert Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.'s go-to tip for quickly waking up morning after morning.
A sleep doc's favorite way to wake up.
According to Breus, taking a cold shower is a prime way to wake yourself up and feel more alert first thing in the morning. And not only does a cold blast wake you up, but brief and intense cold exposure has also been linked with a balanced inflammatory response1, improved sleep2, muscle and joint health3, and mood support4.
As Breus notes, the energizing effects of a cold shower are directly related to the amount of time in cold exposure, so the longer you can stand the cold, the better. And as longevity expert and Harvard geneticist David Sinclair, Ph.D., previously explained on the mindbodygreen podcast, a cold plunge also activates the production of brown fat5. Brown fat, which burns energy to create heat and manage body temperature, is super healthy, he explains.
How to ease into your cold dip.
If you're new to taking a cold shower in the morning, it can be quite a shock to the system at first. Here are some ideas for gradually working your way up to it:
Splash your face with cold water.
If you can't stand the thought of taking a cold shower, Breus notes that splashing your face with cold water for a few seconds can have some similar effects.
End your shower with a cold blast.
If you're open to trying the cold shower but don't want to commit to more than a minute or so, try taking your shower as usual and ending it with a cold blast.
Try an ice bath or a cool body of water
And lastly, if you're more adventurous and want to take the full-on Wim Hof approach to cold exposure, you could try fully submerging yourself in an ice bath or a cold body of water to start your a.m. As Hof previously told mbg, "The cold is undeniably a great force. It's merciless but righteous."
The bottom line
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.