Does the thought of getting out of bed at dawn make you uneasy? Do you wish you could be more energized to get up early and get a head start on your day?
Well, believe it or not, you can become a morning person.
It’s a proven fact that morning people tend to be thinner, happier, and more successful in school or with work. They also eat healthier, tend to exercise more often, and have a positive approach to life.
If the health benefits alone aren’t enough to convince you to become a morning person, think of all the things you could accomplish if you had more time.
Are you up for the challenge? Check out this step-by-step guide to becoming an a.m. person.
1. Go to Bed Earlier
This one might seem obvious, but it makes a huge difference in many ways. If you’re used to going to bed at 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. it’s no wonder why the thought of getting up before the sun seems impossible. You’re simply not getting enough sleep!
The average adults needs between seven to nine hours of sleep each night to feel well-rested the next day. This doesn’t mean you have to go to bed at 7:30 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.
But if you can get in bed by 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m., you’ll get enough sleep even if you wake up at 6:00 a.m. When you get the proper amount of sleep, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed, clear-headed, and ready to tackle the day.
To make sure you get enough sleep each night, there are a few easy things you can do to help you form the habit. Stop consuming caffeine or alcohol a few hours before you want to go to bed. The same goes for smoking cigarettes.
Caffeine and nicotine will prevent you from falling asleep easily, and alcohol will disrupt the R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) state of your sleep cycle.
Turn your bedroom into a relaxing, comfortable place intended only for sleeping. Try some deep breathing exercises or play soothing music or sounds.
2. Remove All Screens from Your Bedroom
If you’re trying to improve your sleep habits, avoid television, phone, and computer screens right before bed. Many people find this habit to be the hardest one to break, but if you can do it, you’re sure to fall asleep faster.
Do you always check your phone right before bed? We’re all guilt of this one. Even if you only plan to spend a few minutes scrolling through Instagram, a few minutes can quickly turn into an hour.
Turn off the television and put your phone on silent or “do not disturb.” Instead of stimulating your brain with the blue light from a screen, turn on a soft bedside lamp and read a book or write in a journal.
Some people find it useful to meditate before falling asleep. Other people enjoy listening to music or listening to a podcast. Audible stimuli will help you fall asleep faster—visual stimuli will not.
3. Create a Nighttime Routine and Stick to It
Creating and sticking to a routine can be helpful, especially if waking up early is new for you.
Turn your phone off at least 30 minutes before you want to be asleep. Put on some calming music, wash your face, walk your dog, or do whatever it is that relaxes you. If you create a routine and follow it every night, you’re more likely to stick to it for the long-term.
It’s also important to make sure that your bedroom encourages a good night’s sleep. Change your sheets once a week. Fluff your pillows. Light a candle beside your bed, but make sure you blow it out before you go to sleep!
Create a comfortable environment and you’ll look forward to getting into bed, even if it’s a few hours earlier than you’re used to.
4. Stop Hitting the Snooze Button
The snooze button is not your friend.
Regardless of what time you need to wake up, hitting the snooze button over and over again is never a good idea. A trick that many people use is to put their alarm across the room so it can’t be reached from the bed. If you can’t reach the snooze button, you’ll have to get out of bed to turn off your alarm.
To avoid waking up feeling groggy, make sure that your R.E.M. sleep cycle is not disturbed. R.E.M. sleep is the deepest stage of sleep, and it usually lasts around 90 minutes.
If you don’t disrupt that deep stage of sleep, you’ll wake up refreshed. If you’re refreshed and ready to get out of bed when your alarm goes off, you won’t miss the snooze button at all.
If you use your smartphone as your alarm clock—and most people do—choose an alarm tone that won’t shock you out of bed (and consequently put you in a bad mood).
It’s best to choose an alarm that will wake you up gently.
5. Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
Say goodbye to the days of sleeping in. Unless you are sleep deprived, sleeping in is detrimental to establishing healthy sleeping habits. It may seem life altering to think of getting up on the weekends at the same time you do all week, but it’s essential.
Establishing a nighttime routine goes hand-in-hand with establishing a morning routine. If you go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each day, you might find that you don’t even need an alarm.
For the night owls out there, becoming a morning person can seem like an impossible feat. If you’re used to staying up late but wish you could get up earlier, you’ve got to create and maintain some new healthy habits.
Start going to bed earlier. Turn off your phone, television, and computer at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Create a nighttime and morning routine and stick to both.
When your alarm goes off, resist the temptation to hit the snooze button. If you can replace your late-night habits with some of these new habits, you’ll be waking up before the sun in no time!