Some of us leap out of bed in the morning, bright-eyed and ready to start the day. For the rest of us, mornings are a struggle, a slog, and a time of day that we might even just wish didn’t exist.
But the world is pretty much designed for morning people, with early-morning classes, early-morning meetings, and expectations to be high-functioning at the break of day.
One of the best ways for non-morning people to improve and maximize their mornings is to create morning routines that aren’t just designed with early birds in mind.
Here are 7 morning habits for those of us who aren’t quite morning people.
Meditation is a commonly recommended morning habit—but there’s a reason why it’s specifically a good habit for non-morning people. If you struggle to get going in the mornings, starting the day out slowly can actually be the best way to ease into the day. If jumping from bed to coffee or exercise or work sounds daunting, then don’t. Start instead with a grounding, focusing, mindful practice that will set you up for calm and success, every single day.
The added benefit of a morning meditation practice is that it can provide long-term improvements in mental health, wellness, happiness, and stress. According to Psychology Today, it can also improve our social lives, productivity, and self-control.
There’s just no good reason to not start our days by meditating.
2. Drinking a cup of tea
Much like meditation, this one’s a good practice if you’d rather not have a high-energy morning. Tea can be a nice way to slowly wake up and warm up the body. If you drink caffeinated tea, it can give you a gentle boost of energy without the jitters and jolts of coffee. Or go with decaf tea for an even more soothing start.
3. Bedtime habits
If you want to maximize your mornings, one of the most important things to do is maximize your nights. We’ve all heard it a hundred times, but it bears repeating: no screens at (or even soon before) bedtime. Harvard Health tells us that our circadian rhythm and our melatonin secretion can both be impacted by the blue light of screens.
So, no scrolling, texting, news-reading, or TV at bedtime. Getting to sleep quickly and sleeping soundly is essential for us to have good mornings, and screen time will inevitably hamper our sleep quality.
Sometimes our grogginess or fog in the morning is because of dehydration. Our bodies become gradually less hydrated overnight, as we’re typically not drinking water for the duration of the night.
As soon as you wake up, drink at least 16 or 20 ounces of water. If you’re a non-morning person who is always hesitant to get out of bed, pour yourself a glass of water before bed and keep it on your nightstand to drink in the morning. It’s an easy way to hydrate and give your body a boost—without even getting out of bed.
Writing is a tried-and-true morning practice of many. For those of us who wake up grumpy or on the wrong side of the bed, it can be an especially good way to start the day. Journaling gives us time for reflection, gratitude, and letting out any and all thoughts and feelings. This can help us shake that morning grumpiness that so many non-morning people feel.
6. Let the light in
Even if it might be the last thing that sounds good in the mornings, getting early exposure to sunshine is a great way to naturally activate the body and brain. Light gives our bodies a cue that it’s time to get the day started and shift out of sleepiness. Opening the windows first thing in the morning can be the perfect way to do this, as can turning on the lights in the house, or even sitting out on the porch or going for a morning stroll. The CDC recommends going into a “brightly lit area when you get up.”
Sunshine can trick you into feeling like you’re a morning person. So you might as well use it to your advantage.
One of the most common mistakes people make is to have inconsistent bedtimes and waking times. The body works on cycles and habits. When we disrupt those habits, we make it that much harder for the body to fully wake up when we need it to. If you want to consistently feel good when you wake up, you need to go to bed and wake up at consistent times. This will set you up for much better mornings.
Even if you aren’t a morning person, that’s no reason to accept defeat and decide that you’re never destined for productive, happy mornings. There are easy, implementable ways to improve your mornings and increase your energy early in the day. Try out the above strategies, and try out any ideas of your own that you think might give you a morning boost — and shake the morning blues off.