We’ve all heard the statistics about how the most successful CEOs tend to wake up around 5 a.m. If you’re already a morning person, congratulations, I am so jealous.
If you aren’t a natural born morning person, you might consider morning people to be smug overachievers.
After all, by the time you hit snooze on your alarm for the seventh time, the morning person has probably exercised, read for an hour, made a delicious (balanced) breakfast and arrived to work early. According to studies conducted by 23andMe, there’s evidence that morning people have different genetic makeup than “evening people”, or those of us who tend to stay up late at night.
However, regardless of your genetic makeup, there are fairly simple ways to ease your body into being a morning body. Since women are already more likely to be early risers, we’re halfway there.
Keep a regulated sleep schedule
The first tip is likely the hardest one to keep up—because the first step to becoming a morning person is to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time. Everyday.
Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Choose a bedtime where you normally feel tired. If you don’t normally feel tired until well after 12 a.m., take a look at your food and caffeine consumption. Note that caffeine can cause sleep deprivation up to twelve hours after consumption. Remember that 3 p.m. coffee you couldn’t live without?
Unless you have young children acting as your alarm clock, you might have the urge to sleep in on a Saturday. Don’t do it! By switching up your sleep schedule, you are throwing your internal sleep clock off-kilter.
By maintaining a sleep schedule, you are doing your body a huge favor. When your body gets used to waking and sleeping at specific times, your alarm clock becomes (almost) superfluous.
Let the light wake you
We know you love your blackout curtains when you’re Netflixing late into the night. But these same curtains are disrupting your body’s natural circadian rhythm into basically thinking it’s night, all the time.
Stuck in the middle of a dark winter and need to rise before the lazy sun? Consider investing in a light-up alarm clock. No, it’s not going to blast you with a flashlight beam to your dome at exactly 6:05 a.m. Instead, it will gradually mimic the light of a sunrise. In addition, most light-up alarm clocks will also beep (first softly, then louder) to wake you with the combination of light and sound. Pretty cool.
Exercise in the morning
This is advice I need to take into account myself. Whoops!
Chances are, you have exercised in the morning at some time in your life. It is kind of the greatest feeling ever. After your morning workout, you are invincible, filled with energy and ready to take anything head-on.
However, it can be extremely difficult to make this happen, especially in the dark winter months. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Book a class at a local gym and don’t allow enough time to talk yourself out of it. Get up and go!
Just like any other routine, starting a morning exercise ritual will teach your body to crave it. In addition, your morning workouts are harder to interrupt. Evening exercise plans are more likely to be interrupted by unexpectedly long work days, dinner plans, or (let’s face it) Netflix.
Eat protein for breakfast
Americans get plenty of protein in their diets. But most of that protein intake takes place at dinner time.
Eating protein in the morning has been proven to keep you fuller, longer. Protein-heavy meals help to improve the levels of your appetite-regulating hormones. As a result, you’ll experience fewer cravings throughout the day, and you are less likely to overeat at dinner and cause stomach discomfort throughout the night.
Eat a hearty lunch
Once you are hungry again, eat a good lunch. While dinner is often touted as the “big meal” of the day, it’s better for good sleep to have a bigger lunch and a lighter dinner. By re-assigning lunch as your big meal, you’re giving your body ample time to digest and avoid bedtime heartburn or stomach problems. Go ahead, have that big lunchtime burrito.
Don’t take a nap
Dang, that lunch was good. So good, in fact, that we should follow it up with a nice nap… No!
I know that you’re tired and that naps are awesome, but try not to nap. If you find yourself nodding off, try to substitute a nap with a walk or a few jumping jacks.
If you’re at work and you find yourself nodding off, refer to this list of productive work to keep you busy. Save your sleepiness for a few hours from now, at which point you can have good, restful sleep.
Avoid that afternoon coffee
Caffeine will stay in your system up to twelve (!) hours after ingestion. If you crave a hot cup in the afternoon, try a glass of hot water with some lemon as an alternative. If you have to get through a slew of afternoon meetings and you “need” caffeine, consider a cup of tea instead.
Starting your evening routine
Nighttime activities are crucial for the morning person.
What you do the night before will drastically affect your morning routine. There is a huge difference between curling up with a good book at 8 p.m. and drinking sugary margaritas until 12 a.m. when you have to wake up at 7 a.m. either way.
Be smart with your evening routine to make a better morning. Future you will love you for it.
Replace screen time with books
Part of becoming a morning person is in actually getting good sleep. Instead of falling asleep to your requisite television show, consider picking up a trusty old book or one of those New Yorkers from the giant pile accumulating on your desk.
Staring at screens before bed has been known to sabotage your sleep. Since most electronic screens emit a blue light, they actually disrupt your internal clock and circadian rhythm. This blue light tends to make the body more alert at night, making it harder to fall asleep and get good rest throughout the night.
Put your screens away two hours before bed if possible. If you cannot live that long without your trusty phone (but, seriously, you can), make sure to set your phone to night mode on both your iOS and Android phones. If you’re like me and you’re addicted to ASMR videos, like cake frosting videos or soap-cutting videos, it’s probably best to distance yourself from your phone hours before bedtime.
But seriously, read books before bedtime. Fuel your dreams with adventures and imagination. There are far more interesting (and less stressful) things happening at Hogwarts than on Facebook any night of the week.
Prep your morning needs at night
What are you wearing to work tomorrow? What do you want for lunch? By prepping these aspects of your day the evening before, you free up your mind for the morning. Allow yourself to wake up ready to go by prepping whatever you can the night before.
Check the weather and lay out your outfit. Know where your car keys are before you drift off to sleep. Having everything ready makes the morning effortless, freeing you up to do other things like exercise or make some fresh-squeezed orange juice. Lean into being a great morning person by taking care of business the night before.
Your phone is safely out of reach and all glowing screens have been turned off hours ago. Your lunch is packed, and your car keys are on the kitchen table next to your gym bag.
All that’s left to do is sleep.
Make sure your bedroom is comfy and cozy so that you can doze off and wake up with, or before, your good pal sunshine. Goodnight (and good morning!)
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