This is Martha Thomas, head of customer care for Tree of Life Beauty, and I want to welcome you to our blog where we discuss important ways to age gracefully, "how-tos" for keeping skin healthy as you age, and so much more.
This week we will discuss "10 Ways to Wake Up With a Smile." If you missed any of our past blog posts, please check them out here on our website.
Please be advised that we are not doctors or dermatologists, and this article should not be taken as medical advice or any medical statement. Any questions or issues involving your skin-care needs should be taken up with a physician, and we highly recommend you consult with your doctor before taking up any skin-care regimen.
Do you have trouble waking up in the morning?
Waking up in the morning with a smile on your face leads to a great, happy, and productive day that also ends with a smile on your face.
So what can you do to wake up happy and ready to take on the day?
- Start with a gratitude meditation.
Gratefulness is directly linked to happiness. If you are grateful for all the goodness in your life, you’re more likely to see the positives of your experience as opposed to dwelling on any stress or negativity.
When you wake up first thing in the morning, sit straight up but comfortable. Put on some calm, relaxing music.
Spend five to fifteen minutes thinking about everything you’re grateful for. Think of specific people and moments. You don’t need to be grateful for everything every morning. The more specific you are, the more gratefulness you’ll truly be able to embody.
Today I am grateful for my daughter.
Today I am grateful for candles that smell like fresh linens.
Today I am grateful for running water.
Today I am grateful I got to go on a date with my husband last night.
Think deeply about whatever is on your mind that makes you happy. Be in that moment. Reflect on a moment when you were experiencing that gratitude, like when you were spending time with your daughter or relaxing near a sweet smelling candle.
You can also be grateful for accomplishments, goals you’re looking forward to, and anything you consider a blessing today.
If you find your mind wandering during this meditation, take out a notepad and start writing down all the things you’re grateful for today. This notebook can actually become a great resource when you wake up tired and frustrated; flip through the book to get back on the path of gratefulness.
- Sleep in 90-minute intervals.
Sleep is directly correlated to the amount of energy we feel in a day. Happiness takes up energy. If you don’t sleep enough, your body becomes overloaded, which can make you irritable, tired, stressed, and anxious.
The best way to ensure adequate sleep is to follow your regular sleep cycles. It takes 90 minutes to go through a full REM sleep cycle. If you take a 60-minute nap, you’ll wake up even more tired because you interrupted your sleep cycle. The same is true for a full night’s sleep. If you sleep for 7 hours, you’re cutting into the final sleep cycle and not letting your body finish out the REM.
7.5 hours is an optimal sleep time. This gives you a restful sleep while fulfilling five full sleep cycles. When you wake up on a 90-minute interval, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the day with immense amounts of energy.
- Don’t use an alarm clock.
Alarm clocks have a tendency to wake us up mid-REM cycle. This interrupts our sleep patterns in an unhealthy way.
Moreover, waking up to a jarring noise can elevate cortisol levels early in the morning, which can instantly make you exhausted and stressed.
If you use an alarm clock to wake up (and to make sure you’re on time for work), wake up to calming sounds like birds chirping or waves crashing. If you’re generally a heavy sleeper, find a gentle wake-up call that will be loud enough to get through to you.
- Sleep in a dark room.
You should sleep in complete darkness. Your body starts to produce melatonin when in the darkness. Melatonin is the hormone that controls the sleep cycle and helps you fall asleep. Without melatonin, you can have an uneasy, non-restful sleep.
However, lights can interrupt melatonin production, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. This interfering light can include TVs, computers, nightlights, room lights, and even streetlights.
Turn your screens off at least two hours before bed if possible. If you need to look at a screen before bed, turn your phone to night or yellow mode to reduce strong light.
- Wake up to natural light.
Waking up to natural light triggers the brain to start your day. If you don’t have good access to sun in your room, consider a sun lamp alarm clock. This “dawn simulation” wakes you up over a period of 30 minutes to two hours. It simulates the rising sun to slowly wake up your body naturally.
Getting outside in the early morning can actually make you happier and less anxious.
- Get yourself flowers.
Everyone loves getting flowers from someone they care about—but sending yourself flowers can have an equally positive effect. One study found that waking up to flowers may help improve mood, enhance energy, and reduce anxiety.
Cultivate a small garden of plants in your bedroom. Plants release oxygen as part of their growth process. This can add fresh air into your bedroom to help you feel more refreshed in the morning. Succulent plants release the highest amounts of oxygen during the nighttime.
- Take a warm shower.
Start your morning with a warm shower. Raising your body temperature can help relax your muscles and relieve tension. This leads to a relaxed, increased sense of wellness. Use soap or body wash that you love and few times a week enjoy a facial exfoliation that will make you feel like you just walked into a spa. It will relax you, but wake you up and get you moving and grooving for your day!
- Wash your face.
The warm water will open up your pores so you can remove the oil and dirt that accumulated during the night. Warm water can help clear out your pores for a young, vibrant look.
Also ending with cold water closes your pores, so your face will be less exposed to toxins throughout the day. Plus, cold water gives a vibrant and brightening glow to the skin.
Moreover, the massaging movement of washing your face can help awaken the dermis and circulatory system. You’re encouraging blood flow to your face, which can give you a healthy, ruddy, youthful radiance.
- Stretch and move.
Wake up your body and you’ll wake up your mind in tandem. Your brain reflects your physiological state. Stretching in the morning helps awaken your tissues and muscles while improving circulation. This sends blood and oxygen to the brain, which helps relieve mental fog and early morning blues. Plus, moving first thing in the morning can help your body detox naturally.
Even if you don’t feel like it some mornings, put a smile on your face. Smiling like a goofball can actually make you feel happier.
What do YOU do to wake up with a smile everyday?