Posted 3rd January by Peter Byrne
It can be an uphill struggle to get going this time of year, with the mornings dark and cold. Yet the way we start our mornings can have a huge impact on exactly how our day goes
However, there are a few things you can do to get your morning off to a better start, as blinds specialist Thomas Sanderson explain.
Analysing the patterns of some of the world's high-fliers, there seems to be a common factor which determines a successful morning routine - sleep.
Yet anecdotal evidence suggests it will typically be a case of quality over quantity. For instance, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously got by on a mere three hours sleep each night.
Lisa Artis, spokesperson at The Sleep Council, said: "Getting a good night’s sleep is not only good for your health and well-being, but it helps you wake up in the morning. Practice good ‘sleep hygiene’, including keeping regular hours and make sure you’re sleeping on a supportive bed."
These high achievers all have one thing in common - rising early.
Anne Wintour, the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue for instance rises at 05:00 each morning to head to the tennis court before starting the day. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington insists on a pre-bed "sacrosanct ritual", consisting of leaving electronic devices in a separate room, including a hot bath, chamomile tea and changing into sleep-friendly clothes. She doesn't use an alarm but instead wakes naturally, before starting her 30 minutes of morning meditation or yoga.
Successful people get at least six hours - for example Richard Branson, who does this so he can exercise and spend time with the family, which improves his frame of mind before business. Former President Barack Obama gets by on six hours, so he has time for a morning workout.
So, what can you learn from the experts, to make the most of your own morning routine? There are a few simple tips to jumpstart your schedule and in the process, maximize your energy and productivity the next day.
1 Buy a sunshine alarm clock - this will gradually brighten to simulate daylight and thus, influence your body clock.
2 Consider installing shutters to your home - they're ideal for blocking out light, noise and other disturbances that can otherwise affect a good night's sleep.
3 Set heating to come on at a specific time in the early morning, to ensure it's warm when you get out of bed.
4 Perfect a sleep routine that works for you, but try to stick to the same time for nodding off, turn your phone off 30 minutes before bed, and keep your room dark, quiet and cool.