“How to Get Out of Bed in the Morning: An ADHD Action Plan”
How to wake up and get going when sleep inertia is strong: Cool the body, drink water after waking, do light stretches, reward yourself, and other techniques for getting out of bed in the morning.
Can’t get out of bed? Whether it’s due to a poor night’s sleep (hello, night owls), stubborn morning grogginess (i.e., sleep inertia), or dread-induced paralysis, struggling to wake up – while a common issue among individuals with ADHD – is a rough way to start the day… everyday.
Try these suggestions to get your mind, body, and environment aligned to help you get out of bed in the morning with less resistance and more alertness.
Fight Sleep Inertia by Waking the Body
- Develop or reaffirm the habit of placing your phone or alarm across the room where you can hear it go off in the morning, but you must move in some capacity to shut it off. (Movement is key!)
- Invite bright light into your room – another step you prepare the night prior – to cue your body that it is time to awaken. Leave a portion of your curtains/blinds open to allow the morning sunlight to gradually brighten your room. Alternatively, invest in a lamp that activates with your alarm.
- Drink water as soon as you can after waking. Beyond hydration, the cool water will provide a mini shock to your body and quickly eliminate grogginess. (Leave a glass of water on your night stand the evening prior and do your best to take even a small sip right after waking.) Give it a try; even if your head hits the pillow again for 5 more minutes, you’ll find it much harder to get any additional sleep with your body now activated.
- Continue to cool your body temperature! The temporary discomfort will continue to activate your body and bring you out of a groggy state. Throw off your covers and let the cool air hit you; if you got up to shut off your alarm, go ahead and open a window while you’re at it. Was your phone or alarm on your way to the bathroom? Then step in to splash cold water on your face and/or take a cold shower.
- Get your blood pumping with light stretches. You can tense and relax while still in bed, after getting up to silence your alarm and drink water, and at any other point when your body could use a boost.
- Breathe deeply for a few moments to increase your attention and help you feel refreshed and revitalized.
- Use the power of scent to cue your body to wakefulness. Increase alertness with various aromas like peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary. Consider using sprays or diffusers (even better if they go off automatically). You can even set your coffee maker to start brewing just after your alarm goes off. The inviting smell of hot coffee can lure you out of bed.
- Play energizing sounds, like upbeat music from your favorite playlist.
Mentally Overcome “Can’t Get Out of Bed” Thoughts
- Resist the snooze. I know – if it were that easy to do, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. But when you’re reaching for the snooze button, it might help to remember that it actually prolongs sleep inertia, potentially making your morning feel even worse.
- Focus on the next step. If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of everything you have to do, take a deep breath and try to pay attention only to your next small step, like getting your body out of bed, putting on slippers, taking one step and then another out of your room and into the bathroom, and so on.
- Reward yourself when you get out of bed. Text a friend (which can also keep you accountable), enjoy a great breakfast, read your favorite blog, watch an episode of your favorite TV show as you get ready – anything that will make your morning as enjoyable as possible.
- Reflect on three positive things that have happened in the past week to start your day on an encouraging note of gratitude.
- Plan positive moments throughout the day and remember them when you’re waking. Write them down in a place you can easily look in the morning.
- Come up with positive affirmations related to waking. Tell yourself that you enjoy waking up in the morning. Say it enough, and you’ll believe it.
Getting to a point where you can spring out of bed and start your day 100% energized won’t happen overnight. With any of these techniques, give yourself time to build consistency so these strategies become part of your morning routine. If you have chronic difficulties with sleep, whether from ADHD and/or other conditions that impact sleep, including stress, consult with your doctor to determine the best sleep/wake strategies for you and if any adjustments to your treatment plans are necessary.
How to Get Out of Bed in the Morning with ADHD: Next Steps
- Free Download: Sleep Disorders Linked to ADHD
- Read: 13 Ways to Make Yourself Fall Asleep
- Read: Your Evening Routine Is Broken
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