I would like to meet at least one college student who is a self-proclaimed “morning person.” Regardless of whether it is a Monday or Friday, it seems to be almost impossible to stay awake through those 8:00 A.M. lectures or labs. Collegiettes across the nation are hitting their snooze buttons repeatedly every morning and dragging themselves to class still half asleep. If this sounds like a typical morning for you, here are some tips and tricks to officially end things with your snooze button and rebound with a newfound love for that 8:00 A.M. lecture.
1) The most important thing any collegiette needs is sleep, sleep, sleep. What is the first thing college students do when they get home after finals week, other than enjoying a home cooked meal? They sleep like they have never slept before! Between studying for exams, drinking too much coffee, or staying up late with friends, a majority of undergraduates are not getting the full amount of sleep their bodies need during the week. Then they try to make up for it by sleeping in on the weekends. News flash for everyone: your body needs you to sleep! Even though each person requires different amounts of sleep due to a number of different factors, it is suggested that the average adult gets approximately 7-8 hours of sleep. If you are passing out at 2:00 A.M. every night and waking up at 7:00 A.M., you are definitely not giving your body the rest it deserves and craves.
You might be surprised what the lack of sleep can do to your body. You may have heard it before, but “sleep helps consolidate memories in the mind.” In order to remember things, your brain needs adequate sleep. A lack of sleep leads to a decreased level of alertness and decreases your problem solving skills. So if you’re thinking that pulling an all-nighter is your best option, you may want to rethink that strategy. You need sleep to help your brain remember what you studied. A lack of sleep also can lead to depression and anxiety. No wonder when you stumble out of bed in the morning you are not usually at your sunshine-y best. Sleep deprivation is also associated with weight gain and obesity. It is sometimes called “sleep debt,” and don’t think you can repay your sleep debt by sleeping away your weekends. The only way to eliminate your sleep deficit is to change your sleep habits on a regular basis. While weekend sleep may seem like a temporary fix, it eventually messes with your body’s sleep mechanisms and can ultimately magnify the negative impact that a lack of sleep can have on your body and your mood.
So how can super-stressed, so-called scholars receive the desired amount of sleep each night? Just like all the sorority meetings, advisor appointments, group fitness classes and time with friends you schedule in your planner, also schedule in sleep! It may seem silly to pencil sleep on your calendar, but sleep should be as much of a priority as everything else in your life. If you have difficulty falling asleep at night, figure out what your pre-sleep routine is and try to change it. Also try and cut out caffeine approximately four hours before bed if you want the best shuteye.
2) Before falling asleep at night, prepare for the morning ahead! A little next day preparation can make your life so much easier and less stressful. It can include little things like what you are going to wear. Check the weather and pull out your clothes for the next day. This will save you time in the morning and allow you to avoid the stress of having to rummage through your drawers trying to find that one special shirt you are looking for or trying to remember where you left your rain jacket. Other things like packing your bag and filling a water bottle help make the morning easier for you too.
3) You have heard it before, and you will hear it again and again: EAT BREAKFAST! Breakfast actually is
the most important meal of the day! That is not just a saying or propaganda spread by Kellogg’s to sell cereal. Not eating breakfast is essentially like not waking up your metabolism in the morning. You are not kicking your body into gear for the rest of the day. Not only should you be eating breakfast daily, you should be eating a hearty breakfast that is packed full of protein. Foods such as eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal with milk, and fruits, like bananas, are amazing ways to jumpstart your metabolism as you are jump starting your day! If you do not have time in the morning, consider boiling eggs at night and grabbing a hard boiled egg and a banana on the run in the morning!
4) If you have not already doing so, start drinking green tea! Green tea is the powerhouse drink everyone should at least be trying to add to their diet. The health benefits of green tea are plentiful, and along with its caffeine (less than coffee which is good!), you can start your morning feeling alert and great about yourself. One secret health bonus of green tea that many do not know about is it can instantly improve your mood. For all you collegiettes who took PSYCH 101, you know about the neurotransmitter, dopamine. When dopamine is released, your mood becomes better. Green tea actually increases the amount of dopamine in your body thus making you happy even though you have 6 hours straight of lectures ahead of you!
5) Finally, make a routine in the morning you are actually excited to wake up with! Personally, as embarrassed as I am to admit it, I listen to the Lion King Broadway soundtrack every morning as I am running around preparing for the day. The upbeat African rhythms are the perfect thing to get me pumped and ready for the day. Honestly, I look forward to the hour in the morning I can spend listening to whatever music I want and embracing the peace and tranquility the early morning has to offer.
Some people start their morning by working out, and others enjoy yoga in order to energize themselves. Whatever you need to do in the morning that will wake you up and put you in the right mindset for the rest of the day, you should do.
Most importantly, students, myself included, often let a bad morning ruin their entire day. Simply because you spilled your cereal or slept through an alarm and ended up running a little late to class does not mean that the rest of your day will be equally as awful. Let the morning slip ups go and vow to make the rest of the day better!
So whether you need to force yourself to go to bed earlier, drink a cup of green tea, or play some screamo rock make your morning routine work for you! You will never even think about your snooze button again. Sorry snooze button, but it is officially over.