A neuro perspective to waking up in the morning.
The schedule has been brutal for the past week. I had meetings from 4:30 AM all the way till 12:30 AM every single day of the past week including weekends. With just 4 hours of sleep I was finding it hard to wake up in the morning despite high motivation, excitement etc.
I signed up for this schedule knowingly so I have nothing much to complain about. All said and done, my body was not that motivated as much my mind was.
My body just refused to wake up and be fully awake. It loved the bed so much that it wanted to take meetings from there. So I had to create a wake up routine for this week to overcome this brutal schedule of mine.
An environment and routine design to wake up less groggy every morning 🙈
- I kept my phone far away from the bed. This way I had to wake up, walk and go to the phone to turn off the alarm.
- As soon as the alarm rings, I wake up like a robot and turn off the fan/air conditioner (while the alarm is still ringing its heart out) and turn on all the lights in the room (including the super bright ones).
If that is not enough to wake me up, I had some ring lights next to my desk to flash more light on my face. Folks thought I am doing some recording and looking good in meetings. BS. The purpose of ring lights is just to shower more light on my face so I wake up better. The lights just crush the melatonin in my body.
- It is a habit to brush immediately after I wake up. In addition to brushing, I poured a bucket of cold water (at-least couple of mugs) on my face to wake up the noradrenaline in my body. It was not a full bath but just a cold face wash.
- I set up a simple desk next to my bed (as my work room is going through some renovation) with some bright lights around it. This way I will sit in a designated space and work. I do not have to feel lazy to walk up and go to the work room (though it is only 10 seconds).
- After I sit in my desk, I frantically write my morning pages for 15 mins (that is my speed to finish 750 words) and just pour out all that I have to including the tiredness, sleepiness, grogginess and more.
Now that my morning pages is complete, I earned my morning coffee. I walk up to the kitchen and make one for myself. With the coffee starts the meeting.
With kids around it was hard to do this routine so I just took up a different bed room where I can be high on lights for the first hour of the morning. As it was 4:30 AM I could not depend on the sun. If there is a high value act in the whole thing, it is the light on my face.
It's no surprise that light is so important. The human race evolved over millions of years out in the open. Our existence and our internal rhythms were shaped by light whose intensity and spectral content varied according to daily and seasonal cycles. But now we are stupid enough to spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors, where light levels are typically less than a quarter of the 2,000 lux we can expect outdoors on even the dullest of days. On a bright day with few clouds, sunlight delivers a huge 100,000 lux. High-quality light and good lighting design can, therefore, make a huge difference to our lifestyles. Stop trying to save electricity for the first hour in the day.
Warm lights in the bed room as a concept (for aesthetic reasons) can keep you more sleepy than otherwise. Come out of darkness and the light will wake u up. Either natural or artificial, light is a biological necessity.
There is more to waking up in the morning and let us cover it as a mini series this week. Treat this as part 1.
🥂 to lights!