How to Become a Morning Person

Morning person

Are you the kind of person who loves the quiet morning hours? Do you like to get up, take a shower, sing a song, take the dog on a stroll and prepare the perfect energy-packed breakfast all before 8 a.m.? Or are you more of the pull the covers up and hide until noon kind of person who wouldn’t dare take an 8 a.m. class in college? If that sounds more like you, you may be a little skeptical that you could ever start living your life at an earlier time. The fact of the matter is that most every school or business starts running by 9 a.m. and if you’re not there to meet the day, you might have trouble even showing up at all. If you’ve got a flexible work and family schedule and you’re okay sleeping until noon and staying up late, then that’s excellent! But if you’re like the majority of others who have to take their children to school or report to work at 8 a.m., you might have wished once or twice that you could be the perky person at the water cooler for a change. If that sounds like you, there’s good news. You can trick your body into thinking you’re a morning person with a few simple changes to your sleep routine.

Why Aren’t You a Morning Person?

If you have a hard time finding your get up and go in the early morning hours, it may not be your fault or even your preference. Instead, you can blame your genes. There’s definitely a genetic factor that predisposes some people to be night owls while others are larks, early birds that always seem to catch that worm.[1]  A study found in Psychology Today shows that owls and larks differ in their body temperature, food intake, and melatonin production during their sleepy hours. [2]  It turns out, larks are predisposed to want to get up earlier than their counterparts. That being said,  just because you may prefer to wake up at a certain time in the morning doesn’t mean you can’t learn to live on the other side.

Training Your Internal Clock

Inside of you, there’s a biological clock that helps control your natural circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycle of energy that lets your body know when to wake up and when to fall asleep.[3]   These natural processes help ensure that your body gets all the sleep it needs to help repair cells, rebuild tissues and restore energy from the day before. And everybody’s needs are different. On average, infants sleep about 16 to 18 hours per day, children need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night, teenagers need about 11 and adults need anywhere from 7 to 8 hours to feel well-rested.[4] To become a morning person, you simply need to reset your biological clock.

Becoming an Early Bird

The first step to early bird transformation is to make a plan. The first thing you’ll want to do is stop going to bed with all the lights on and sounds blazing. You’ll want to start cutting off lights and electronic devices about 90-minutes before you turn down the covers.[5] This will help get your mind and body into the sleepy zone. (Absolutely do not check your social media! And put the phone down!) Use this time to take a warm bath, do a puzzle or read a book. To remember your exact sleep schedule, actually write it down, and put it in your calendar and stick to it as many days as you can, including the weekends.

To become a morning person, you also need to realize that you’ll not only need wind-down time but you’ll also need to get to bed earlier, which means setting a new schedule. Try to move your bedtime back by about 15 minutes each week until you adjust to your new time. It’s really not your wake-up time that’s keeping you from becoming a morning person, it’s really your bedtime. The most important step to becoming an early riser is giving yourself a bedtime so that you get enough hours of sleep.

Relaxing scents, like lavender and jasmine, before bed may help you prepare for bed and help you to fall asleep faster. For the morning hours, the reverse is true. Try peppy scents like orange peppermint or lemon to wake up your senses and give you an energetic start to the day  [6]

Learning not to have a snooze button is the hardest (and most terrifying) trick to master. You’ll instead want to open your blinds and let the natural light wake your body. Your biological clock triggers your body to wake up when it sees the light. During the winter months, you may want  to invest in some form of light therapy, such as the Awake and Alert bulb by Lighting Science, which will also help your body to wake up as naturally as possible.

You’re bombarded with so many stimulating activities all day that sometimes your social calendar can get in the way of your healthy sleep life. To make sure you become an early bird, you will need to say no to some of those more tempting offers like visiting the nightclub, playing trivia or watching a movie into the wee hours. You don’t necessarily have to become a hermit crab, but you’ll want to schedule your social life around your body’s need for sleep, especially as you get older.

You’ve already heard the key role that exercise and healthy eating play in your overall well-being, but those important things also help keep your sleep life stable. Exercising in the morning can cause you to go to sleep easier at night. Avoiding caffeine, nicotine and energy boosting beverages a few hours before bed can also help you get the quality of sleep you need.

Once you have made these changes, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Switching your night owl status over to early bird territory is a hard task. But it’s a task that brings to your life a slew of benefits. Now that you are able to get up with the chickens (Literally!) you can take those quiet hours to read, meditate, start working or take a little time to appreciate the day. You’ll be so happy you didn’t snooze away those perfect hours. The sunrise is too pretty to miss!

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