5 Frustrating Morning Habits You Can’t Seem to Stop — and How to Finally Fix Them For Good

published Jun 8, 2021
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If you’re tired of going to bed with solid plans for the next day… only to wake up exhausted and already feeling like you’re “behind,” you’re not alone. 

The pandemic has disrupted many people’s sleep cycles and has impacted willpower as a result, making it difficult to perform even the simplest of tasks. It’s a stressful time to be a person in the world, and when things are stressful, effective morning routines can be the first to go out the window.

If you’re tired of feeling tired, however, it might be time to audit and possibly revamp your sleep and morning habits. No, I don’t mean the standard “get eight hours of sleep” advice, because people will all operate differently on different hours of quality shut-eye. Instead, it may be time to optimize a few elements of your morning routine so that you feel more alert and productive. 

Here are five frustrating morning habits you might be trying to shake, and how to adjust your routine for the better. Start small, and pick maybe one or two habits at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed by changes. And if you find yourself reverting back to old habits, show yourself grace. Instead of beating yourself up and abandoning your goals, give yourself permission to try again. 

The Habit: Sleeping Through Your Alarm

The Fix: Investing in an Alarm Clock You Can’t Ignore

Do you set five (or more) alarms at five to 10-minute intervals because you know you’ll snooze the first one? Does your wake-up system feature alarms for 5:00 a.m., 5:10 a.m, 5:20 a.m, 5: 25 a.m, and so on?

Waking up at the first ring can be hard, especially for heavy sleepers who snooze their way to lateness. That’s why some alarm clocks, like the Sonic Bomb Bed Shaker, will quite literally shake you awake. It’ll also flash lights if you need an extra jolt of motivation — though people who live in areas that are prone to earthquakes might not appreciate the pointedly rude awakening. 

If you’d rather gently coach yourself into waking up at the first ring, sleep therapist Heather Darwall-Smith recommends reframing how you talk to yourself about falling asleep and waking up each night before you tuck yourself into bed. “Frame a positive statement about how your life can benefit from waking up early and write it down on a card that you can place near your bed,” she suggests. (If you experience chronic insomnia or a pervasive inability to wake up each morning, it might be time to talk to your doctor.)

The Habit: Waking Yourself Up With Your Phone (and Getting a Blast of Blue Light in the Process)

The Fix: Try a Wake-Up Light Instead of an Alarm

It can be tempting to check your texts and other notifications first thing in the morning, but doing so can hit you with a heavy helping of blue light, which may be a recipe for a less productive day in the long run, Darwall-Smith says. 

“Blue light slows down your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for controlling your sleep-wake cycle,” she explains. “This can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling tired and irritable all day.” 

To avoid this, try using wake-up lights that mimic the sunrise without offering a tempting peak of any notifications. These often include soothing nature sounds with customizable lights, so you can start your mornings with healthy light minus the jarring alarm sounds. This option from Philips doubles as an alarm clock, radio, and night light so you can declutter your bedside table in the process.

The Habit: Lying in Your Bed and Scrolling Through Social Media

The Fix: Set a Timer!

Maybe waking up is not your biggest problem. Maybe like me, you promise to check only one important email as soon as you wake up, but end up scrolling through TikTok or your Twitter feed for longer than you meant to. 

Getting out of your cozy bed can be challenging, especially if you’re feeling exhausted. If you regularly find yourself doomscrolling, set a timer on your phone, suggests Sarah Wheeler, a certified mindset coach. “Use the phone settings to monitor your use and create an alternative list of things to do when your time runs out,” she recommends. 

The Habit: Not Taking a Few Moments to Yourself

The Fix: Work Meditation and Mindfulness into Your Existing Routine

How you start your morning can help set the tone for your whole day. But sometimes it can be difficult to find a moment to express gratitude and set empowering intentions for how you want to spend the day. 

That’s where OJOOK’s Intention Toothbrush can help. The bamboo handle features a space for writing an intention that you can think about while brushing your teeth. 

As the acclaimed habit expert James Clear suggests, adding a new habit to an existing routine can make it easier to maintain. To take this a step further, Lisa Phillips, a life coach and author of The Confidence Coach, suggests: “You can increase the power of [your intention] by matching your words with an elevated emotion.” You might not be able to control or predict everything that happens each day, but by focusing on how you feel in relation to your day, you center yourself that much more in control.

The Habit: Not Drinking Enough Water

The Fix: Track Your Progress With a Motivational Water Bottle

It can be tempting to reach for coffee first thing in the morning, but experts recommend drinking water early and often. This simple practice can boost your mood and help you approach your tasks more productively, thereby setting yourself up for a better day overall. 

“Use a colorful motivation bottle to help you remember,” Phillips says. Apartment Therapy’s Lifestyle Editor is a fan of this trick, but found that it works best if you keep the bottle around you at all times — after all, the colorful container can only catch your attention if you see it in front of you.