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Perfecting your morning routine with sleep scientist Dr Robbins

There’s a lot of attention on perfecting your night-time routine right now. From meditation and aromatherapy to tucking yourself away listening to calming sounds of the ocean. But much less focus seems to be on another very crucial part of our day – creating the perfect morning routine.
Lady in bed smiling

Whilst a calm and relaxing bedtime routine is key in enjoying a good night’s rest, it’s as important to start your day on the right note too. We’re creatures of habit, really, so it’s likely that we all have a set routine in place, we’re just not quite aware of it. Morning time is when our minds are most at ease. Combined with a good night’s sleep, for most of us, this is when we’re at our best.

There are parts of our morning that we perform almost unconsciously, like making a fresh coffee or brushing our teeth. But there are other parts too, like taking time to exercise or enjoying a wholesome breakfast with our family. As with every other element of our lives, how something begins can set the tone for the rest of its duration. With that in mind, we couldn’t think of anyone better than Dr Rebecca Robbins, Harvard’s Sleep Specialist, to talk us through her perfect morning routine and its influence on her day.


Firstly, is there such thing as being a ‘morning person’ and are you one?

All of us can be categorized as either morning people or evening people, or somewhere along the spectrum. This is termed our ‘chronotype’ or preference for how our daily activities are organized in a typical 24-hour day.  I personally am a morning person, I thrive early in the morning, crave early bedtimes, and do my best work first thing in the morning. On the other hand, evening people thrive after sunset – that’s when they do their best work. They also very often struggle to wake up with the sunrise. Ideally, we are all able to organize our work and personal lives to match the times that best suit our biological preferences.

“I thrive early in the morning, crave early bedtimes, and do my best work first thing in the morning.”


What’s the key element of your perfect morning routine?

Although my morning routine can vary, it’s my calm moment before the craziness of the day picks up. I wake up craving my morning coffee. I sip it whilst making a bottle for my son, and we get to enjoy our morning beverages together. This calm, quality time with my son allows me to prepare for the day.

A good night's rest

Enjoy a morning routine that’s perfect for you


Do you wake up at the same time every morning?

Consistency in our sleep schedules is an important component of a healthy sleep routine. I do try to wake up at the same time, varying as little as possible on the weekends. It can be tempting to sleep in, but doing so will throw our brains into confusion. It sends this vital organ a message that we have hopped on a plane and are heading east. We then can experience insomnia-like symptoms the following night as our brain attempts to adjust to a new time zone. Instead, keeping your rising time the same will give your brain information on when it should be tired and when it should be alert.

“It can be tempting to sleep in, but doing so will throw our brains into confusion.”


What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

My son has been my alarm clock for the last few months. He is 18 months and, like clockwork, rises at 7 am every morning. I have now found that, even if my husband is on duty or I am on vacation, I wake up at that time no matter what. It is remarkable how we truly are creatures of habit!


How do you stick to your routine when travelling?

When I travel, I do my best to maintain my same routines, falling asleep and waking up at the same times as I do when I am home. This can be challenging when I am travelling across time zones, in which case, the routine can fall off the rails. When away, try to forget your old time zone as quickly as possible. Your technology will likely update clocks automatically, but if you have a manually set watch or travel clock, set those to the new time as soon as you depart. You’ll have trouble at your destination if you continue living according to the old time zone. Eat meals and go to bed according to the time at your destination.

Discover more stories on how to improve the quality of your sleep on House of Savoir.