Even though the sun’s starting to come up a little later, you can add some extra shine to your rise with these tips to boost both mind and body.
As the clocks go back, the benefit is that you’re more likely to catch a beautiful red and orange sunrise, while the downside is more reluctance to leave the comfort of a cosy bed! But there’s plenty you can do to feel more zesty and less zombie-like, even on the darkest of mornings.
Boosting your natural wake-up response will help you bounce out of bed and start every day feeling great. Here’s how to give it a helping hand.
Create a false dawn
Top of the list for kick-starting your cortisol is waking up to sunshine. If you re-create the summer sunrise, you’ll prime your body for morning energy. The best option is to use a sunrise lamp, which gradually brightens to mimic a natural dawn, sending signals to your brain to slow production of sleep hormone melatonin and send that all-important jolt of cortisol.
Stretch it out
Do you wake up on a dark autumn morning tightly curled up in the foetal position? Stretch out into a starfish and you’ll feel brighter and more optimistic for the rest of the day – 40 per cent more so, in fact
Have a wild weekend
Still struggling to get up? Grab plenty of woollies and hot water bottles and enjoy a weekend in the great outdoors to re-set your body clock and synch up with the season. Just a weekend of camping, filling your days with natural light and your nights with dark, is all it takes to re-set your circadian rhythm, according to recent research by scientists at the University of Boulder in Colorado. And the effect is particularly potent when the days are shorter.
Don’t hit snooze
Tempting we know, but swerve the snooze button and your body will thank you for it. Falling back to sleep for an extra 10 minutes is more likely to leave you feeling groggier than if you’d got up with the waking alarm. It’s because that first, unpleasant jolt of the alarm sparks a cortisol and adrenaline response that makes you immediately alert. Quash it with a 10 minute doze and you’re essentially at the start of another sleep cycle when it buzzes again, which is the worst time to wake up. The result is that you swap that initial alertness from the first alarm for disorientation and sluggishness.