Sleep experts say that the magic number for sufficient sleep falls somewhere between seven and nine hours per night, and if you’ve been working hard to fit that into your schedule, you’re not alone. More and more people are paying attention to their physicians’ advice, as well as numerous news reports blaming sleep deprivation for a bevy of physical, cognitive and emotional issues, and are trying to bulk up their sleep quantity and quality. The problem is that it can be hard to find the time, especially for those whose busy work days are followed by busy evenings.
If you feel certain that you simply can’t go to sleep any earlier than you already do, yet still find yourself feeling tired during the day, your next step is to try to add some sleep time on to your morning. Even ten minutes can make a big difference, and that means that if you can cut a few minutes here and there out of your morning routine, you may find yourself feeling better. Here are several tricks that will each shave a minute or two off of the time it takes you to get ready in the morning. When you add them up, it may make the difference between your getting too little sleep and just the right amount.
- Skip the Snooze Button
You know you do it. You set the alarm for the time that you want to get up but you hit the snooze a couple of times, and that means that you push yourself into a panic. Either that, or you play a silly mind game where you set the alarm for earlier than you need to get up just so you can hit the snooze and roll over for another ten minutes. Studies have shown that the snooze button actually works against your feeling energized during the day. Set the alarm for when you want to get up and then get yourself out of bed.
- Budget Your Shower Time
I’d bet that you’ve never given much thought to how much time you spend in the shower in the morning, and that if you timed yourself you’d be shocked at how much time you’re wasting just standing there and letting the hot water run over your body. Set a limit and stick to it. Not only will it give you that much more time to sleep, but it will also lower your utility bills.
- Use Your Coffee Pot’s Program Feature
We all have coffee pots that have built in clocks and timers, but few of us actually take advantage of the feature. If you take the time to prepare the pot and set the timer at night before you go to bed, then you can grab your coffee and go in the morning, and save yourself five minutes at the same time.
- Lay Out Your Clothes The Night Before
How many times have you stood in your closet, groggy with sleep and wasting time trying to figure out what to wear? Choosing your clothes the night before and laying them out will not only save you time in the morning, but gives you the benefit of making your selection while you’re clear-headed and aware of the next day’s schedule and any planned meetings or events that you might want to spiff it up for.
- Get Breakfast Ready Ahead of Time
Taking time to look in the fridge, pull out ingredients and put them together is robbing you of snooze time. Instead, pull together your breakfast the night before by making overnight oatmeal or by laying out some fruit and a muffin that you can grab and go. If you just mix some oats or granola and berries into a container of yogurt you’ve got a healthy, delicious meal that will not only power your day, but also allow you to sleep in for a few more minutes.
- Set a “Get Outa’ Here” Timer
To make sure that you’re keeping track of time and have an idea of whether your time-saver program is working, set a time on your smart phone that tells you exactly what time you need to leave your house in order to make it to work on time. Having that reminder will keep you from losing track, and will also let you know if you’ve saved so much time that you’re ahead of yourself and can actually add even more minutes to your morning sleep.
- Leave Yourself Notes for the Morning
We’ve all done it – wasted valuable time by realizing as we’re walking out the door that we forgot about something important that we needed to do. Eliminate the possibility of that happening by leaving yourself notes that spell out the details – that way you can’t forget. As an added bonus, having those notes written out will likely make it easier for you to fall asleep at night, as you’ll be able to drop off without worrying about forgetting all of your important tasks.
- Remember the Boy Scout Rule – Be Prepared (and Organized)
This one is just common sense. If you leave your keys in the drawer, your briefcase in your home office, your coat in the closet and your umbrella in the laundry room then you are going to need to go to four different spots in your home before you ever get out the door. Instead of adding extra steps and increasing the chances of forgetting something, take the time the night before to leave everything you need right there by the door, or on the kitchen counter, or someplace where it is all together and you don’t have to waste valuable time retrieving it.
- Take Advantage Of Your Commute
If you ride in a carpool, take a bus or train, or even can anticipate a good amount of time spent behind the wheel of your car sitting at a light or in traffic, make good use of that time. Instead of eating breakfast at home, eat it on the way. Same goes for putting on makeup or doing anything that you can take along with you.