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Start the Day by Waking Up Nicely

Purpose: Waking up nicely may positively influence the trajectory of the day. A good day may then lead to a good night's sleep.


Sleep psychologist and author of the book, Healing Night: The Science and Spirit of Sleeping, Dreaming, and Awakening, Rubin Naimen, PhD believes that a key to a good night's sleep is a good waking day. The Practice section below contains strategies for waking up nicely. 


There is a connection between sleeping, dreaming, and awakening that people may often disregard. Do not think of night as separate from day, but instead view it as a continuation of nature's daily rhythm. The changes of light and dark in a day influence the circadian rhythm and the body’s natural biology about when to sleep and wake up. There are three influences that affect the circadian rhythm’s sense of time. These are personal (the body clock), natural (changes in nature), and cultural (influences of someone's surroundings). Please refer to the WavyFields topic “Rejuvenate the Mind and Body by Sleeping Well” to learn more about these biological, psychological, or environmental factors that affect sleeping, dreaming, and awakening.


A person normally dreams at least four times a night, during the REM stage of the sleep cycle. Each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. While the first two sleep cycles tend to contain more restorative sleep, the later two sleep cycles contain more REM sleep. The reason why the REM stage increases in duration as the night progresses is still being researched as is the purpose of dreams. A leading theory on the purpose of dreams is that they help to process and store memories. The act of remembering dreams may help to produce new ideas and process emotions. Remembering dreams may be a useful part of a morning routine and is explained in detail in the Practice section below.

Practice: This practice may help someone to start the day by waking up nicely. A key to a good night's sleep is a good waking day.

Upon awakening, linger in bed with eyes remaining closed for a few moments. Try to become mindful of the breath that is present upon awakening -- inhalation or exhalation. Try to become mindful of the morning grogginess that may be there and allow it to lift at its own gradual pace. This grogginess is a hybrid state of dreaming and waking consciousness. Notice any dream images or memories that arise and allow these to emerge and float into and out of awareness. There is no need to analyze anything at this time. Notice any thoughts that precede the moment when the decision was made to open the eyes. Notice as the mind orients itself to the time of day. 


Rubin Naimen, PhD, recommends that people do not try to interpret their dreams by making meaning of them. Instead, he suggests experiencing and understanding dreams similarly to how a sunset or painting may be experienced or understood. To remember dreams, start by attending to them by thinking about, talking about, or writing about them. To help remember a dream upon waking, retain the sleep position present upon awakening and do not try to recall the dream but think about the emotion that is currently felt. Dream images will start to come, and let them, without pursuing them. Remember or write down the images and emotions associated with a dream.


Just as the sun gradually rises, it is now time to gradually begin the day. Take time to orient to the day on personal terms. Consider starting the day with prayer, meditation, and setting intentions for the rest of the day. Try to create an intention that will create an inspiration to get out of bed. Once out of bed, set a trajectory for the day and decide what kind of day to have. This trajectory could include how someone would like the day to start and the state of mind that they would like to cultivate throughout the day. A key to a good night's sleep is having a good waking day.


Morning light helps to biologically and psychologically awaken and orient a person towards the world. Exposure to natural sunlight increases serotonin production, which is stimulating, emotionally uplifting, and helps regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Looking into the day through a window is nice, but getting outside and experiencing the rays of sun on the skin is even better. Notice how the quality of the morning influences the rest of the day

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