Woman and her daughter laughing in bed

Staff Picks: 7 ways to guarantee better mornings

There are the nice mornings, and then there are the not-so-nice mornings. And we can all agree: the quality of the wakeup is very dependent on the quality of the sleep. 

Let’s think about your wake-up. 

Building a better wake-up routine is attainable and little changes can make a huge difference. Waking up at a consistent time every day (yes, looking at you, Saturday and Sunday) supports your circadian rhythm, also known as your internal clock. Even if you didn’t sleep well, waking up at the same time will get your body back on track, even if it feels like cruel and unusual punishment. The circadian rhythm adjusts gradually, which is why jet lag can take a few days to get over — so stick with it. 

Note, none of these brands are paying for this content; these are just recommendations from our diverse community. We all gravitate towards different solutions, so we suggest perusing a few free options first and see what works for you!

Let’s get your new bright-eyed new wake-up routine started:

1. Commit to phone-free wake-ups

Entering the day with a blaring alarm on your phone simply isn’t the welcome to the day that you deserve. Our favorite smart alarm clock is Hatch. It’s way more than just an alarm, it’s a sound machine, sunrise alarm, smart light, meditation app, and an alarm clock. It’s a one stop shop, but here’s our favorite thing about it: it’s not a phone! Looking at a phone first thing upon waking up is jarring. Try breaking up with your phone about an hour before bed, and, if possible, give yourself an hour after waking up before looking at your phone. Sleep with your phone on airplane mode in the other room to curb any temptations. 

2. Try a quick meditation

The time of day you choose to meditate is a personal decision, but as you try to integrate it into your morning routine, we’d recommend playing around with the timing. Some Apollo team members prefer to go straight into meditation from their bed, and some like to get moving a bit first. If you’re new to meditating, Stress Less, Accomplish More by Emily Fletcher is a great place to get started and understand the benefits of meditation. For guided meditation, we love Calm and Inward Breathwork

3. Make your bed, make your head

What do the most successful people have in common? They make their bed first thing in the morning. It’s a surefire way to start the day feeling accomplished, anddddd it takes about 5 seconds (we’re not saying you need perfect hospital corners). Speaking of your bed, invest in cozy, cooling sheets (we’re a sucker for Parachute sheets!).

4. Rethink your morning buzz

Do you live for your morning caffeine fix? We’re not going to tell you to stop, but we are going to share some alternatives to help mix it up. Here’s our list of our favorite morning beverages:

  • Gaia Golden Milk - mix it up with your favorite dairy or non-dairy milk
  • Yerba Mate - try loose leaf yerba mate in a french press with a little milk, honey, or plain
  • Kion Coffee - the cleanest coffee around 
  • Kombucha - look for a local, low-sugar kombucha brewer
  • Chaga Ashwaganda Tea - caffeine free with a coffee-like taste

5. Stretch it out

Wake up your muscles and get the blood flowing with some gentle stretching. Or take it to the next level with a massage gun. We’re a big fan of Hypervolt GO which is small enough to never leave home without. We love doing a cat-cow pose to say good morning to the spine. Whatever you do, it shouldn’t hurt.  

6. Greet the sun, rain, snow, or clouds

Here’s our challenge to you: step outside before you look at your phone or computer screens, no matter what the weather. And guess what? You don’t have to do anything outside, and that’s kind of the point. So step outside, and just be! 

7. Say good morning to a balanced nervous system

Apollo Neuro is a new wearable that melts away stress, helping you calm down, clear your mind, and relax into sleep. It’s like a wearable hug for your nervous system. To integrate Apollo into your morning routine, we recommend trying out the following routine. Start the morning with Clear & Focused around 20% intensity for 30-60 minutes. Clear and Focused in the morning is Dr. Dave’s personal go-to. For a very gentle wake up, try Rebuild and Recover starting at 30% intensity. If you’re really tired, set Apollo to Energy and Wake up with a starting intensity of 10-20% for 15 minutes. This mode is also a favorite for pre-workout and to reduce the need for so much caffeine during the day.

Beyond focusing on building a morning routine, consider small steps to improve your sleep game. Check out our team’s seven favorite sleep tools and tips to improve your sleep hygiene. From going screen-free in bed to finding the perfect sleep audio story, we’ve got you covered.

Rachel, from the Apollo Neuroscience team, shares her technique to waking up well-rested even when she’s stressed: “When I’m uber stressed, panic strikes at the ungodly hour of 3:45am. For me, that’s too early to start my day and will set an unproductive pace for my day. I’ll be a monster. I sleep with my Apollo device on my ankle, so when I wake up and know it’s too early, I just reach down, press the two buttons on the side to restart Sleep and Renew at 40% intensity for 60 minutes, throw my eye mask back on, and I’m asleep before I know it.”