Have you always been envious of morning people? Wish you could spring out of bed feeling like the world is your oyster instead of getting up late feeling like garbage? It’s easy to assume that morning people are just naturally minted that way—that there are two types of people in the world: those who welcome the day and those who wish they could blow it up with some TNT, old cartoon style.
But we’re creatures of habit. The fact is, being an early riser is simply a habit that can be groomed with the proper lifestyle. So below are several ways to become a morning person.
It’s no secret that how you function later in the day can affect sleep at night. Experts commonly recommend cutting caffeine out of your day by mid afternoon, for instance. The common time currently circulating is to aim for a 2 p.m. cut off on the caffeine intake.
Looking at glowing screens late in the day can also trigger your brain into alert mode. So an hour before bed, cut the electronics out of your life in favor of a book or other non-glowing-screen activity.
This is also where you’ll start carving out that new routine that’s necessary for cultivating habits. Pick a bedtime and stick to it, even on the weekends. That will naturally train your biological clock to register that time as shutdown hour. Pick a time that allows you to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, as being short on sleep will sabotage any attempts at being an early riser.
To stay asleep for that recommended time, make sure your sleeping quarters are in good order. Your bedroom should be slightly cool. Sleep.org recommends aiming for 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because the body naturally cools down during sleep, so having it cool can help trigger this effect and make you sleep better.
Also, allow a natural light source into your bedroom by keeping the curtains open slightly. Our bodies are wired to be in tune with natural light, so having some light hit you first thing in the morning will help you rise at an earlier time.
When morning does finally arrive, greet it with a soothing alarm clock noise, rather than that harsh buzz of traditional alarm clocks. (Seriously, is there a worse way to wake up?) Set your favorite song as your alarm tone or use the noise from your favorite animal. Digital dog barks are a fun way to wake up if you’re dog person, for instance. Make yourself remember why you like life first thing in the morning, and you’ll be more likely to get up.
If you’re not all for culture shocking yourself into the early morning routine, try to steadily adjust how early you wake up. Go to bed at your new preset bedtime, but get up maybe a little earlier than you normally would. Adjust backwards by 15-minute increments until you’re at your desired time of getting up.
Adjusting to any new habit is always a pain, and it’s no different when you’re seeking to become a morning person. Your body tends to resist change, so it’ll send off any signal it can that it just wants a nap or ten more minutes. Or would it really be so bad to sleep until 1 p.m. on a Saturday? You know, just for today?
Do whatever you can to muscle through. Go exercise when your body is screaming for a nap. Watch your favorite movie that you could totally never sleep through. Learn meditation and deep breathing to fight through your body’s early morning surliness. And in time, being a morning person will be your new normal.
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