Winter Waking Strategies


Aashish Mishra

Winter has arrived. The sun, our fierce enemy until a few months ago, is now a cherished friend. The half-sleeved shirts and breathable shorts in our closets have been replaced by thick coats and jackets. And the cheerful bright mornings have become dark and cold. This last thing, in particular, makes waking up early a Herculean task. We just cannot seem to get out of our beds in the chilly winter mornings. The cosy allure of the blanket and the biting chill outside intensify our desire for warm comfort and weaken our determination to seize the day.  But no matter how much we may not want to, we must wake up, because we have schools or offices to go to. So, let us explore a few strategies to conquer the frosty mornings and overcome the laziness the season imposes upon us.

One of the most important ways we can set ourselves up to wake up early is by establishing a consistent sleep schedule. Depending on our age, we may need to aim for seven to nine hours of sleep (or more) each night. 

So, we must try to set a bedtime and wake time accordingly and adhere to it regardless of the season. Such a routine will help regulate our body’s internal clock and make it easier to wake up early even when the winter weather beckons us to stay under the covers.

But that is the problem, some of us might say. It is hard going to bed at a set time. Sleep eludes us and we may have to spend hours turning over and rolling around in bed before the sandman finally draws us into the land of slumber. If that is the case, then we may need to develop a bedtime ritual to help our minds and bodies wind down and get drowsy. These rituals may be things like reading a book, drinking a glass of warm milk or meditating. Different people relax in different ways so we may need to try a few things before we find a trick that works for us. Also, we must not use electronic devices or engage in activities that stimulate our senses. 

Similarly, remember to let there be light. We find it hard to wake up early during winter because it is still dark out. So, it would be good to invest in a light therapy box. These devices mimic natural sunlight and can help regulate our circadian rhythm. After the sun rises, we must open our curtains and blinds to allow light to enter our bedroom. Brightness gets us going.

Likewise, we also do not want to wake up early in the cold months because, well, it is cold. The bed is nice and warm while the world is frigid. However, we can make the transition from the former to the latter easier by heating our bedrooms. The easiest way to do this is by using a heater or an air conditioner. A warm room makes it easier to get out of the sheets. But we must be very careful as overheating an enclosed space can potentially be fatal. Safety must always come first.

Giving ourselves a motivating morning routine can also help us wake up early. Having something to look forward to, like a pleasant breakfast or a constructive hobby, will make waking up enjoyable and rewarding. The objective is to give ourselves reasons (other than the monotonous job or school) to get out of bed.

We can develop a morning routine of exercise. Physical activity has numerous benefits and need not be something to engage in only during the winter. We can also work out in the evening, but we must try to finish our regimen a few hours before our bedtime to allow our body to wind down. We must also take a quick shower after working out to freshen up.

We can also hydrate our way to an early start. This is a bit of a cheat and not the most ideal way to wake up. But if nothing else works, we should drink a glass of water around an hour before we want to get up. This will make us need to urinate and force us out of bed. But we must have the self-restraint not to go back to sleep afterwards though. Drinking water will also keep us hydrated and kickstart our metabolism. So, this method has health benefits too.

All in all, waking up early during the winter requires a combination of discipline, a supportive environment, and good habits. By setting a consistent sleep schedule, keeping a well-lit and sufficiently warm bedroom, giving ourselves something to look forward to in the morning and cultivating sleep-inducing habits, we can conquer the winter blues and make sure we do not miss our morning appointments. 

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