How to Become a Morning Person
Do you find yourself feeling more tired in the morning than when you went to sleep? What about feeling angry, groggy or not excited to start a new day? If you answered yes to these questions (let’s be honest, we all have at some point in our life!), you might benefit from making some changes to your sleeping and waking habits.
First, it's important to mention that everyone is different, and so are our sleep schedules. You may classify yourself as an “early bird” or a “night owl.” The good news is, whichever one you resonate with, you can still become a morning a person. Here are some steps you can take to get there:
Set a Bedtime Goal. The first change you can make is shifting your bedtime. Try to aim for a total of 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Count 7 to 9 hours backwards from the time you set your alarm in the mornings to find your target bedtime. Work your way up to this goal by trying to go to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier than you normally would every night. Then try getting to bed 15 minutes earlier than that. Continue to do this until you eventually reach your target bedtime goal. This gradual shift in your bedtime is essential to becoming a morning person. If you try to drastically change your bedtime, it may backfire and keep you up later than before.
Start a Nighttime Routine. Next, about an hour before you hit the hay, try making a bedtime routine to help you fall asleep earlier. Dimming the lights and putting away or turning off all disruptive electronics can help our brains wind down and improve quality of sleep. Reading your favorite book, listening to soothing music or podcasts, or taking a bath are also great additions to a relaxing nighttime routine. When your mind is at ease, it will be easier for you to fall asleep and help you wake up feeling refreshed!
Stop Snoozing that Alarm. We have all experienced that dreadful alarm clock waking us up in the middle of a good sleep. Hitting the snooze button may be tempting but isn't helpful. Try moving your alarm clock out of reach from your bed and putting it across the room and or in your closest bathroom where you will get ready in the morning. If that doesn’t work, try using an alarm clock floor mat. These require you to stand up and step on the mat to turn it off, making you get up and out of bed!
Find that Energizing Light. Bright light exposure first thing in the morning can help to make you feel more alert and energized. It can also help to remind your body of that earlier wake time. Try opening your window shades first thing when you get up or keep them open when you go to bed at night so that the sun will shine in naturally the next morning. If you can’t get that natural light, try light therapy lamps. These lamps mimic natural light to give you that same bright effect without the sun. This is essential to becoming a morning person.
Look Forward to the Mornings. Create a morning routine that will make you want to get out of bed. Looking forward to enjoying a nice warn cup of coffee, delicious breakfast, or reading some more of your favorite book can be nice things to look forward to before tackling the day. If you know that your mornings are going to be calm, peaceful and pleasant (and include a delicious breakfast!), it will be more enticing to wake up.
Consistency is Key. Now that you have a bedtime and morning routine, be consistent! Try to keep those new schedules and look forward to each morning. If you find yourself slipping up every once in a while, remind yourself that it's OK, life happens to the best of us! Just try not to dwell on it and get back on track for the next day.
Think About the Positives. Feeling positive, energized and refreshed in the morning can actually help you to be more productive throughout your day. Your overall productivity and mood can change for the better if you make the shift to become a morning person.
Now that we have discussed the different steps to becoming a morning person, try them out! Stay positive and take baby steps to reach your overall goals.
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Written by: Nicole Long, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern