Does getting out of bed in the morning ever seem like an overwhelming task? You’re not alone. PatientsLikeMe members are talking about it a lot in the mental health forum. Read on to learn what’s worked for others on difficult mornings.
Give yourself no more than an hour
Elyse Raffery, contributor to The Mighty, shared her strategy for the “One Hour Rule” to get out of bed on the days she’d rather not move from beneath the covers:
“Within one hour of waking up, I have to be out of my bed. If I look at the clock when I wake up and it is 9 a.m., by 10 a.m., I cannot still be lying in bed. I am a competitive person, and even some gentle competition with my own brain helps me sometimes.”
Louder alarms, brighter lights and more tips from PatientsLikeMe members
Check out these practical morning tips from other members in the forum:
“I got a much louder alarm. I went back to the classic two bell analog alarm clock… so loud that my cat bolts from the room.”
“Now I have a routine where I get up, turn the light on, and listen to the radio for ten minutes. Then I get out of bed. The ‘light’ is a full-spectrum, really bright light. You might find that turning on bright lights when you get up helps. You can put them on timers, too, so that they light up when your alarm goes off.”
“Write down or think about something you are looking forward to on the next morning/day. Motivate yourself to want to get up by planning a special item for breakfast (cinnamon toast) or wearing a certain shirt you like or planning a half hour of your favorite music with headphones for the first ten minutes. Something that will keep your head on straight.”
Some shared wisdom from around the web:
- Make small goals: “If you can’t do one thing a day, try one thing every two days, or even one thing every week. A slowly fought battle is still one you can win in the end.”
- Ask for help: “We’re all human, there are times we can all benefit from support.”
- If you have a pet: “Pets are also something great to turn to, as they rely on you to care for them, which gives you a sense of responsibility each day.”
Try to get enough sleep the night before
Chronic sleep problems — common in many mental health conditions — can often be part of the issue. According to the Harvard Health Newsletter,
- Sleep problems affect more than 65% to 90% of adult patients with major depression
- In bipolar depression, 23% to 78% of patients report that they have trouble getting out of bed
- Sleep problems are also common in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Here are some strategies for sleeping better (and potentially getting up more easily.) Talk to your doctor about what might work best for you:
- Exercise can improve sleep, and can help regulate your mood to make mornings easier
- Maintaining a regular sleep-and-wake schedule, or “sleep training” — staying awake longer so that your sleep is more restful
- Keeping your bedroom cool and dark, and banishing electronics from the bedroom
- Meditation and guided imagery, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation ─ alternately tensing and relaxing muscles ─ can reduce anxiety that can ruin sleep and make mornings so hard
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