How Your Morning Routine Affects Your Sleep

Homebloghow your morning routine affects your sleep

Cilliers Marais


Time to get up. It’s Monday. The weekend was too short, and yet too long. But before you get up, just one more snooze… After three more snoozes, you finally stagger out of bed and rush off to work, still feeling groggy and skipping breakfast. Sound familiar? Let’s be honest, we’ve all had a week start like that. And it’s not great. It affects your mood, productivity, sleep… Pretty much everything. But here’s the thing; fixing it is not that hard. You just need to get into a proper morning routine. So keep reading.

In this article, the Kooi sleep experts explain how a healthy morning routine can improve your sleep. Moreover, they share some great tips on how to start your day the right way.

Is it Good to Have a Morning Routine and a Night Routine?

Simply put, yes. Your body runs on a 24-hour cycle known as your circadian rhythm. This rhythm governs when you feel sleepy or awake, alert or drowsy. Light and dark have a massive impact on your circadian rhythm, whereas food, temperature, and social interaction play a lesser role. Sleep-related routines help calibrate your internal clock. And the better your clock is calibrated, the better your body functions overall.

Just like a good bedtime routine (like reading a book, no screen time an hour before bed, or relaxing stretches) can improve the quality of your sleep, so too can a morning routine.

By adding some consistency to the way you get up every day, you’re likely to get better sleep.

Here’s how:

Get Up at the Same Time, Every Time

Black old-school alarm clock against sepia background.
Keep that alarm consistent.

Yes, even on weekends. Your wake-up time forms part of your circadian rhythm. This means that once you wake up in the morning, your internal clock will register that it is daytime. Furthermore, you’ll release a sleep-inducing hormone (melatonin) roughly 14 hours later that will make you feel drowsy.

Let’s say you sleep from 10:00 pm to 5:30 am during the week. Now if you get up later at the weekend, you will feel sleepy later than usual. So no matter if you go to bed at 10:00 pm come Sunday night, the fact that you slept until 10 in the morning means that your body isn’t drowsy yet. And then you toss and turn for a couple of hours before drifting to sleep. So Monday morning comes around and you are not feeling well rested.

Basically, by sleeping in, you create an artificial sense of jetlag for your body (this is bad).

Do you see why getting up at the same time every day is so important for your morning routine?

Get Up and Get Out

If you want to sleep better at night, don’t lie in bed too long in the morning.

Hitting the snooze button and drifting in and out of sleep first thing in the morning sends mixed signals to the brain. This in turn makes you feel groggy and unable to wake up properly. The best thing to do is to get up immediately after your alarm wakes you up.

If you struggle to get up after the first alarm, put your alarm out of reach on the floor. Then, once it goes off, you’ll have to get out of bed to switch it off. But once you’re out of bed, the trick is to stay out.

See the Sun

Sunlight first thing in the morning is crucial for resetting your internal clock. Spending time (5 to 15 minutes) in the sun when it is still at a low angle early in the morning produces a cortisol spike in your bloodstream. Cortisol is a hormone that helps you to be alert and wakeful.

Dr. Andrew Huberman, a professor in neurobiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, says that sunlight viewing early in the day,

is the most powerful stimulus for wakefulness throughout the day and it has a powerful, positive impact on your ability to fall and stay asleep at night.

How to Feel Energized & Sleep Better With One Morning Activity | Dr. Andrew Huberman

He goes on to explain that, even if you wake up before the sun is up, you should try to get into the sun as soon as it crests the horizon.

You can use artificial light to try and recreate the effect of the sun and induce that cortisol spike. However, unless you have specialised lights, it will not have the same effect as sunlight.

Make Exercise Part of Your Morning Routine

Woman walking along country lane with trees on the side and the sun shining from low on the horizon, making exercise part of her morning routine.
Get outside early in the morning.

There are certainly perks to doing your workout in the morning. For instance, there are fewer distractions, heat doesn’t affect you as much as later in the day, eating a hearty breakfast, and so on. It may also be easier on your body if you train in the morning because you have more cortisol in your blood in the morning.

But making exercise part of your morning routine can also help you to sleep better at night. There are a bunch of studies that show exercise in the morning improves deep sleep and reduces the number of times you wake up at night.

So why not combine spending time in the early morning sun with your daily workout? Two birds with one stone, and some restorative zZz’s to boot!

Have Breakfast

Eating your meals at roughly the same time each day helps to regulate your circadian rhythm. Even though it does not nearly have the same effect as early morning sunlight or regular wake-up times, sticking to a schedule when it comes to breakfast (and other meals) does have an effect.

The food you eat in the morning will have an impact on the rest of your day. It will provide you with the fuel you need to function optimally. And if you skip breakfast, your body may take a long time to boot. It can then feel as if you didn’t have enough sleep, which may lead to you changing up your sleep schedule to make up for it. So if you eat breakfast one day but skip it the next, you may be sabotaging your own sleep.

If you decide to work out in the morning, have a light snack before (like a banana and peanut butter). Then have some protein and carbs afterwards to refuel your body.

Get Better Sleep With Kooi

Now you know how to go about your mornings to ensure better sleep. If you still struggle to sleep, maybe it is time for a new bed or mattress. Head over to Kooi Beds for the best and latest in mattress technology.