This article originally appeared in Women in Retail Leadership Circle.
I get it. It’s rough to get up without hitting the snooze button. The fact that most of us get less than the recommended seven hours to eight hours of sleep a night means that when our alarms go off, our bodies are still in deep-sleep mode and our core temperatures are low. This makes it very tempting to stay tucked under our cozy blankets for an extra 10 minutes to 20 minutes.
However, did you know that hitting the snooze button actually confuses your brain? Your body releases chemicals when it’s time to wake up and different ones when it’s time to sleep. The cycle of waking to the alarm and then hitting snooze and going back to sleep results in sleep inertia, or that cobweb-type grogginess that a morning cup of joe can’t even clear. And it can last anywhere from 15 minutes to four hours! During that time period, your memory, ability to make decisions and critical thinking are slowed, and the lagging effect can negatively impact your productivity for the rest of the day.
That’s not all. Hitting snooze also messes up your natural sleep cycle. Each time you wake up and go back to sleep, your brain gets new information about when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to sleep. The result? Less quality rest throughout the night. Not to mention that jarring alarm sound. Exposing ourselves to that sound two or three times can actually cause irritability and affect our mood.
Do you feel ready to conquer the world when you wake up groggy, tired and irritable?
One way to deal with this is to adjust your alarm to the time you have to get out of bed, enjoy the extra rest, then just get up. But I want to offer you another option that will help you perform at your highest throughout the day.
Replace That Energy-Crushing Habit With a Productivity-Boosting Habit
The most effective way of breaking a bad habit is to replace it with a new behavior. What if you used that 20 or so minutes to stimulate brain clarity instead of brain confusion? What if instead of staying under your covers dreading to get out of bed, you create a decadent ritual that turn these 20 minutes into one of the most pleasurable parts of your day?
There’s a sweet spot in the morning when your mind is fresh and clear from the night before. It’s that time when you feel like you’re not fully awake. This is when your body is most open and receptive, and when the opportunity to align your body, mind and spirit is the greatest.
Alignment significantly impacts productivity. The more alignment you experience, the more tuned in you stay to what lights you up, and the more space you create for clearer thinking, deeper concentration, sharper focus, enhanced creativity, increased energy, and so on.
The key to making this ritual the most effective is to do it before we check text messages, email, social media, news sites, etc. The world’s leading high performance coach, Brendon Burchard, says that checking into social media in the first hour of the day decreases productivity by 30 percent. When we do, we tune into other’s needs and wants, and away from our own. We shift into reaction mode, rather than creation mode.
How do we tune in and turn on?
Steps for a High Performance Morning Ritual
- When the alarm rings, stand up and walk to the alarm to turn it off (put it out of reach)!
- Drink a full 16 oz. glass of water that you prepared the night before for rehydration, a metabolism jump-start and an energy boost.
- Go to a quiet place in your house where you can be uninterrupted for 20 minutes.
- Turn on meditative music, such as the Calm Meditation Radio station on Pandora.
- Sit comfortably or lie on your back. Place your palms face up in a receptive position.
- With your mind relaxed, slowly and deeply inhale and exhale. Focus on feeling the breath wake up all of your cells.
- Thank God, spirit, the universe, your source energy for this new day.
- Concentrate on the feelings you want to experience today, like clarity, balance, confidence, lightheartedness, inner peace, love, joy, excitement, energy, empathy, inner peace, etc. Let these feelings permeate your heart and mind.
- State your intention for the day. I often say, “Today I will notice when the negative chatter in my head affects my performance. I will take a moment to move out of my head and into my heart. I will continue my day from a place of alignment between my head and my heart.”
- Focus on your intention and the feelings you want to experience until you feel your mind begin to wander.
- Do some stretches or yoga to stimulate blood flow so all the feel-good chemicals can pass easily throughout your body.
Try this ritual every workday for two weeks. Rate your productivity on a scale of one to 10, and make notes of how you feel each day. The more you practice, the more natural this process will become and the easier it will be to get up at the first alarm ring. Your body will reward you with positive vibes so that you stay in your flow all day, regardless of all the stuff happening around you!
What do you think? Do you have a holistic morning ritual that you want to share? Or a go-to morning meditation? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.