I am not a morning person, I am a night owl. I can go to bed at 8 p.m. or 4 a.m. but the result is the same – leave me alone until at least 9 a.m. Obviously that never worked for school. But it became really challenging when I was trying to get in shape for my wedding.
The only real time I had to work out was in the morning. So for eight months before the big day, I got up every weekday morning at 5:30 so I could get into the city for a 7 a.m. barre class. The first few months were torture. But eventually, my sleep cycle started to shift. And those morning workouts became like my daily cup of coffee.
Not only did I look amazing on my wedding day, I also found that in getting up early and fitting in a workout, I had more energy and my ADHD was much easier to control throughout the workday (in fact, doctors have proven that working out can be almost as effective as medication in controlling ADHD – look it up!). And this early morning behavior crept into my weekends and that led to extremely productive days working on the house and other projects.
But then the winter hit and my cozy warm bed became more and more enticing. Mornings once again became harder and harder. And I was hitting the barre less and less. I started getting angry with myself over the fact that I had once again become a lazy bum. Finally one day I laid down the law with myself. I would return to my productive morning routine. And though I have noticed that my sleep cycle evolves with the seasons (easier in the warm months, harder in the cold months), I just take it day by day.
So here is how to become a morning person …
Be kind to yourself.
It’s been proven that it can take up to two months to form a new habit. For some people it can take even longer. So don’t be too hard on yourself when on your second day of trying to get up right at 6 a.m. you end up snoozing until you get a call from your boss asking why you missed that morning meeting. Although you obviously don’t want that to happen, if you punish yourself it will only turn this experiment into a negative one.
Never press the snooze button.
I am the biggest offender of this. Sometimes I set three different alarms, each five minutes apart – hey, I’m technically not using the snooze button! But seriously, it’s probably the worst thing you can do if you’re trying to get into a better morning routine. Next time you’re tempted to hit the snooze button, take a deep breath and set an intention for the day. Which brings me to my next piece of advice …
Set an intention for the day.
Make it simple, yet specific. Even if it’s just, “I am going to finally try that new coffee shop in town.” Or, “I am going to attempt that super hard pose at yoga tonight.” If you make your intention too broad, it might seem overwhelming. And having something to look forward to might be the motivation you need to actually get out of bed!
If you normally don’t get up until 8 a.m., don’t set your alarm clock for two hours earlier all at once. Take it in increments. Try getting up ten minutes earlier. Then try 15 minutes earlier the next day. And so on until you get to your goal. This loops back to the “be kind to yourself” bit. If you try to make a huge change all at once, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
Create a cozy, distraction-free sleeping oasis.
Try to keep your bedroom at a temperature that is neither too warm or too cool. Most experts suggest about 60 degrees to be the perfect compromise. Choose soothing colors for your walls and bedding. And your sheets and pillows should be all about the comfort. Block out any outside light with quality shades or curtains. And despite our modern society’s love of media – ban screens from the bedroom. Keep phones face down on your bedside table and no TV. The 50 inch home theater needs to stay in the living room.
Have a set bed time, but go to bed when you’re tired.
This is probably very obvious. But how many times do you look at the clock and it’s coming up on midnight the night before a big meeting and you say, “one more episode of Game of Thrones”? Been there, done that, and I have always regretted it. Have a set weekday bed time that’ll ensure you get at least seven to eight full hours of sleep. Even if you don’t feel tired once that deadline comes along, go to bed anyways. Sometimes taking away the TV, Facebook, Instagram and all those other distractions will all of a sudden inspire some sleepiness. And if you start to feel tired before your bedtime, go to bed early. You obviously need it, doesn’t that also mean you deserve it?
And finally, treat sleep as an act of self-love and care.
With the wellness craze sweeping the nation, everyone has traded their nights at the club for expensive spin classes, overpriced beers for overpriced smoothies and cocktails are no longer made of booze, but now superfruits and vitamins. But when it comes down to what really determines a person’s health – it’s all about the zzzzzzs. And sleep is free! So why not pencil in a nap right after your sweat session or massage?
In Conclusion …
These tips will not only help you become more of an early bird, it will also help you get quality sleep. And that leads to better productivity, happiness and good health. Also, if you can get yourself on a good sleep schedule, it will be easier to beat jet lag when you travel – a whole other issue that I will have to cover soon.
So what are your tips for becoming a morning person? What have you found hardest about it? Let me know in the comments!