7 Hacks to Deal with Dark Mornings

As the sun begins to rise later and later (especially with the end of Daylight Savings), many people are already having trouble waking up and being productive in the dark and dreary mornings. Our bodies simply want to sleep longer as the world around us grows darker and colder. For a lot of people, it is a rather unpleasant time of year.

But wait! The end of Daylight Savings means a glorious extra hour of sleep, right? Not so fast. Researchers believe that, although we are gaining an hour of sleep in theory, this hour of sleep fluctuation can throw our cycles off for over a week. So that extra hour of sleep may just have made the progression towards winter darkness even more challenging.

So what can you do? Try these tips to help you wake up and get productive when your alarm goes off, even though the outside world is still shrouded in darkness:

Wake up at the same time every day. We are creatures of habit. Set your alarm for the same time each day and adjust your bedtime accordingly. And when you set your alarm, place it across the room. No snooze allowed. That will show ‘morning you.’

Turn on some lights! When you wake up, turn some sort of light on as soon as possible, especially if you are prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder (which can require more specific lighting tweaks). While I prefer to light a bright candle to ease myself out of sleep mindfully, turning on a table lamp is fine, too. Just avoid turning on any bright and glaring overhead lighting right away. Allow your body to make a happy and gentle transition into morning.

Related: 7 Candles That Won’t Give You Cancer

Drink a big glass of warm water. This ritual lets the body know that it is time to get things moving again, rather than snuggling back in to the blankets. Plus, it is important to prioritize hydration since winter dryness is imminent.

Stop listening to morning logic. Your brain is not going to act logically when you wake up, so stop listening to it. It is going to say, “Oh, you have plenty of time, just a few more minutes… maybe you should skip your workout this morning… it’s so dark out anyways.” These are unfounded excuses. Set a plan the night before and stick to it. Take it clear to yourself that there are no other options.

Make time for something you REALLY enjoy. If you have something to look forward to, it becomes a lot easier to hop right out of bed. Whether that is the smell and taste of quality coffee, listening to your favorite morning music, reading a book for twenty minutes, or “HOORAY, BREAKFAST!”, find something you can really cherish in the morning hours.

Take a shower. If you really struggle with opening your bleary eyes, especially to a dark and rainy 6am, stumble your way into the shower. It’s like taking a big drink of water, but over your entire body. For the most serious cases, cold water may be required.

Move your body. Do 10 minutes of movement every morning. That might be a really gentle series of yoga poses or a strength/cardio blast of burpees, twists and pushups. Do what feels right to your body. The important thing is to loosen up your creaky joints and get fresh oxygen into your system—deep breaths!

You can stay happy and functional even when the sun seems to be hitting the planetary snooze. It just takes a little practice, a little planning, a little preparation and a little diligence. Don’t let winter’s darkness keep you from living it up!

Related:
4 Tricks to Outsmart the Winter Blues
Even Adults Need Playtime
How Much Caffeine Are You Actually Drinking?

91 comments

Clare O
Clare O'Beara4 days ago

th

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Kimberly W
Kimberly W4 days ago

TY

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Lisa M
Lisa M5 days ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M5 days ago

Noted.

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Teresa F
Teresa F6 days ago

thank you for sharing, some very tips here

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Julia R
Julia R6 days ago

Good tips! Thank you.

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Ben O
Ben O6 days ago

Dark mornings in Sweden November-December...-Tell me about it! : ~ (

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Danuta W
Danuta W6 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Kay M
Kay M6 days ago

shower is nice, but too tempting to have a warm cozy one that lasts forever.

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Colin C
Colin Clauscen6 days ago

Waking up with the sun shinning in through the window is so much better than getting up in the dark

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