Life

How to become a morning person (for good)

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shy sleepy woman in bed morning person

Image: gpointstudio/Shutterstock

Conventional wisdom states that there are two kinds of people. Night owls and morning people. Night owls have a tough time getting to bed before midnight and an even harder time getting up in the morning. On the other hand, you have morning people who inexplicably seem to be able to hop out of bed ready to start the day. Even at the crack of dawn.

But if you’re a life-long night owl, the idea of dragging yourself out of bed early and becoming a morning person probably sounds terrible. Here’s how you can do it. And how you can make it stick.

Make a schedule

The best way to become a morning person is to stick to a schedule. Start your day by planning out what you need to do. And as ridiculous as it sounds, assign yourself a bedtime.

By knowing exactly what you need to do and sticking to it, you can make sure that you wake up early and still get plenty of sleep. You will know when you need to go to bed. And if you commit to doing that, you avoid that always-present temptation to get distracted by a show or work and burning the midnight oil. After all, the longer you stay up, the harder it is to wake up in the morning.

If you’ve gotten used to going to bed after midnight for years, you’ll probably find it is really hard to get to sleep those first few nights. But if you fight that urge to stay up and force yourself to lay in bed, eventually your body will adjust.

The most important thing is to make going to bed and waking up early a habit. A regular sleeping schedule will have your body working with you instead of against you.

Swear off the snooze button

Waking up to an alarm when all you want to do is sleep in has always been tough. But hitting that snooze button will wreck the schedule you need to establish to become a morning person.

The key to becoming a morning person is to wake up at the same time every day. So no matter how tired you feel when you wake up, avoid hitting the snooze button for your “just five more minutes.” After all, we all know that five minutes usually turns into twenty minutes to an hour.

Be productive

When you are trying to become a morning person, it’s important to begin your day with something productive. Rather than taking the extra time to relax, which will make you want to go back to bed, get out of bed and right to work.

Catch up on things you need to do, or go to the gym for some exercise.

This will give waking up early a sense of purpose. And that will help you want to keep doing it. Plus, it will make you more productive in general, which is always a great thing. And you might find there’s a lot of things you can do with that extra time.

Wake up to natural light

Your body is designed to respond to the light of the sun. This is called a circadian rhythm. And the way it works is that your body naturally produces sleep hormones when the sun goes down and stops producing them when it comes up.

So instead of pulling your blinds closed, try to leave them open so that natural light can enter the room when the sun comes up. This will make it easier to wake up and begin your day.

Avoid electronics at night

Studies show that using electronics can make it harder to go to sleep. So using your laptop or phone when you are trying to go to bed will make getting to bed on time harder.

There’s also evidence that using electronics before bed makes it harder to get a restful sleep. So if you’re trying to wake up early, make sure that your bed is only for sleeping instead of streaming movies or answering email.

Reward yourself for waking up

Probably the best way to motivate yourself to wake up early is just to reward yourself for doing it. Have a good breakfast or a cup of good coffee every morning.

Not only is eating breakfast known to be good for you, but it makes it easier to avoid making bad food decisions later during the day just because you’re hungrier. But having a meal you enjoy every morning will also give you a reason to wake up early. And moving around while you prepare it will make your mind and body active in the morning, which will help you feel less tired.

By following all these steps, you’ll create an effective habit of waking up early. And forming habits are the key to making something a life-long commitment. That’s because habits take the issue of will power out of it. Instead of making yourself do something, it becomes a matter of having to struggle to make yourself not do it (since it’s something you’ve become used to).

So stick it out those first few weeks and you’ll see that being a morning person isn’t as hard as you thought it was.

Wyatt is a writer and your friend. You can follow him on Twitter @WyattRedd.