Getting out of bed in the dark days of winter can be a real struggle. The reason it’s so tough is that we lose the sun’s effect on our brain. When light passes through your eyes it sends a signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This is the part of the brain next to your eyes that helps control the sleep-wake cycle. When we lose that light cue, waking up gets harder. The good news is that there are some tricks we can try to make waking up a little easier.

Fake it

Investing in a wake-up light might be a good option for you, especially if you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). These light alarm clocks gradually lighten to help ease your body into waking more naturally, and then you’re greeted with a sun-shiny room instead of a cold cave and a jarring alarm.

Stick to it

One of the best things you can do to ensure an easy wake up is to stick to the same sleep schedule every day, no matter the season. Going to bed and waking up at the same time, or as close to it as possible will help, and so will getting daily exercise.

Lights out

While light can help wake you up in the morning, it can also keep you up and disrupt your sleep. Stay away from bright lights, including ones from electronic screens before bed. These types of screens emit a blue light that can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin and increase alertness, even causing the body’s internal clock to shift to a later schedule.

Schedule fun

Plan something that you’d be happy to get up for the next day. Even a simple thing, like a tasty breakfast or plans after work that you need to get up for. Having something exciting to look forward to will make getting up that much easier.

Warm up

The shock of putting your little toes onto a cold floor makes crawling back into bed that much more enticing. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to turn on before you wake up to help warm up the room and the floor. You can also set your coffee maker to have a fresh pot brewing so not only do you wake up to the delicious smell, you also have a lovely cup first thing.