August 29, 2016
How to Become a Morning Person
If the word “morning” sends you hiding under the covers, this post is for you! Most people claim they’re either an early riser or a night owl. One isn’t better than the other, it’s simply the time you feel the best and most productive! The major difference is that night owls tend to dread mornings so deeply, they often start their days cranky, sluggish and unproductive.
I used to go to sleep at 4am daily (bad bad habit) and it messed with my metabolism so much. I wasn’t able to lose weight or gain muscle and my body felt super stuck…until I changed the way I slept. It wasn’t until VERY recently that I was able to happily wake up 6am to get to my 7am workouts. It took some training, but you can do this too.
1. Set It.
You have to start somewhere, so the alarm clock is step number one. Don’t worry though, you can tear the band aid off slowly! Depending on how much earlier you need/want to wake up (whether it’s to get organized, finally fit in a morning workout, slowly enjoy your cup of tea, make your lunch for work, read a book or have more time to beautify before school or work) set the alarm 15 minutes earlier over the course of several days until you hit the magic time. For example, if you currently wake up at 7:00 but you want to get up at 6:00 a.m., set the alarm for 6:45 for three days, then 6:30 for three days, and so on. This gives your body a chance to reset gradually, taking the initial sting away.
You really need something to look forward to in the morning. Decide what that dangling carrot is for you, and reverse engineer a way to have it lure you out of the dark and into the light! For some, it’s coffee or tea, for others it’s a green smoothie or a ready breakfast. For others, it’s a workout, audiobook, podcast or the newspaper. Whatever makes you the most happy in the morning is the thing you’re going to prep the night before. If your coffee maker has a timer, set it to brew 10 minutes before your alarm goes off, or at the very least, fill up the water and place the pod in the maker with a cup underneath so that all you have to do is press ‘start.’ If it’s breakfast you want, make overnight oats the night before. If it’s a workout, set all of your clothes out in advance and make sure your water bottle is full and chilling in the fridge. If you’re really feeling ambitious, make your lunch the night before to make your morning even more seamless. Handle all the chores the night before so that you can actually relish the early hours and fill the time with things you like.
Yes, even if it’s not your thing, sitting up and meditating for even 10 minutes clears the mind of all your stressful to-do lists, which is a big reason people are overwhelmed by mornings and would rather stay in bed. Calming your mind and body with cleansing breaths and relaxation techniques sets you up for a more productive day. There are several apps that can help you do guided meditation if you’re not a pro at going it alone just yet. The Headspace app is great!
4. List It.
Writing down–or even typing into your phone–your top three objectives for the day suddenly prioritizes everything. Most of us are pretty fantastic at multi-tasking, but studies show we aren’t accomplishing more by tackling too much at once. It’s actually far more productive for us to put our phones on airplane mode, close all unnecessary tabs, and focus on one task at a time. There’s much less stress and distraction that way, and things get done better. So wake up, set your top three goals, and know you’ll tackle them with ease, which should help you look forward to the day with a bit more affection.
5. Set the Tone.
Instead of waking up to blaring BEEPS, set your alarm to your favorite radio station or song! What better way to start the day than to hear Justin Timberlake singing, “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” Music makes us happy, so hearing joyful sounds as you exit slumber puts you in a better and less resentful mood.
6. Schedule It.
If your goal is to wake up earlier to exercise because you know you can’t do it after work or school, you simply must get an accountability partner for the mornings. See if your BFF will meet you at 6:00 a.m. to jog, or Skype your bestie as you do Pilates. The association you have with waking early to see your favorite person takes the sting out of the early hour, and it also keeps you committed to your workout regimen.
7. Light It Up.
Studies show you definitely need to sleep in a dark room, but as soon as you wake up, let the light in ASAP. Yes, it’s hard on your eyes for a second, but seeing the sun actually lightens your mood and reminds you of all the opportunities that stand before you. If you live where it’s still dark in the early morning, turn on the lights and open a window for some fresh air, if weather permits.
8. Get Enough Sleep.
You can’t go waking up earlier if you’re not going to go to bed earlier. Being a morning person doesn’t mean you just function on 6 hours of zzz’s instead of 7. You still need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. As you begin setting your alarm earlier and earlier, commit to turning in that much earlier too.
9. Turn Off the Electronics.
T.V., computers and phones stimulate you before bed. To get a more restful sleep with more REM, you need to shut off electronics an hour or more before shutting off the lights. Create a new habit where you read, listen to a podcast or meditate before bed to help you fall into a deep sleep faster. More high quality sleep means happier mornings.
10. No Alcohol Or Big Meals.
Alcohol seriously interferes with sleep, as do heavy meals. Avoid eating a lot right before bed and keep alcohol to a minimum, if at all. You might also want to decrease your water intake leading up to bedtime so that you don’t have to wake up to pee, which disrupts your sleep cycles, leading to crabbier mornings.
11. Shout It Out.
When all else fails, wake up and say, “I’m up, I’m happy and I’m ready for the day!” It might sound cheesy, but I dare you to give it a try and not have it put a small smile on your face. Say it more than once, and loudly if you need to; do whatever it takes for your words to become reality. We are what we think, so if you think you are happy and ready, declare it and watch it come to fruition.
12. Do It Every Day.
It’s actually really important to wake up at the same time every day, regardless if it’s Wednesday, or Saturday. Sleeping in until noon on the weekends doesn’t change your body’s sleep cycle for it to become a routine that’s innate. Feel free to give yourself an extra 30 minutes or so on the weekends, but the goal is to get you so excited to tackle the day, that you won’t want to hibernate on the weekends.
That’s it guys! Are you ready to take the plunge? Early risers tend to burn more calories and get more done in a day, so let that tidbit, and the 12 tips above incentivize you to be the early bird that gets the worm!
Let me know in the comments if you’re a natural early riser or a night owl and what your best tips are!