I mentioned in my October LMBL update that I set a goal for myself to become an early riser. I have read a ton of articles on how waking up earlier can have many different benefits. Waking up early can help stabilize your mood throughout the day. Studies found that people experienced less depression and anxiety when they started their days earlier. Those that get moving in the early hours are more productive than those that sleep in. Morning people also experience less stress and rushing in the morning. All of that sounds awesome to me, so here are five habits I’m trying to pick up to become a morning person.
1. Create a Morning Routine
If you have a set routine in the morning, you can stress less about getting everything done in time or forgetting something. Just list all the tasks that you want to complete in the morning. Give each task a realistic time it will take to complete. This will help you figure out what time you should wake up so that you can leave on time. Make sure your list of task contains things that will make you excited to get going early in the morning. Use your routine to navigate stress-free through your morning.
2. Gradually Change Your Wake Up Time
If you’re used to waking up at 8:00 don’t expect to jump right out of bed tomorrow morning at 6:00. Give your body time to adjust to a new schedule. Try waking up at 7:45 instead of 8:00. Keep moving back 15 minutes every few days. The gradual change will be less of a shock and you’ll be more likely to follow through with your new habit.
3. Get to Bed Earlier
If you want to wake earlier, you have to go to sleep earlier. You can’t expect your body to want to wake up at 5:00 to go to the gym when it’s only had 4-5 hours of sleep. Figure out what time you want to wake up and be in bed 7-8 hours before that time. Once again your body is going to need to adjust, so you don’t necessarily have to be asleep by this time. Just make sure you’re in bed with the lights low or off. To help get in a sleepy mood try doing some light stretching. A warm mug of caffeine-free tea and a good book are great bedtime buddies. Just don’t get so excited by the book that you stay up for hours in bed reading. You could also try journaling or an adult coloring book. Avoid your phone, tablet, or computer at this time
Working out will help wake you up by getting your body up and moving first thing in the morning. You’ll start your day with a nice endorphin rush that will make being awake so early easier to handle. If you don’t want to start your day with a workout still try to get a sweat session in some other time. Working out will help you fall asleep easier and have better quality sleep.
5. Set an Alarm
This is pretty obvious, but this tip is about the how. When you set an alarm don’t turn on the snooze option. If you want to wake up without feeling cranky and groggy, don’t touch the snooze. When you hit the snooze, you allow your body to go back to sleep only to then force it awake again. When you do this over and over, you’re interrupting your sleep cycle. This leads to that horrible groggy feeling.
I like to use the Alarmy app on my phone. This isn’t your usual alarm. With Alarmy you set your alarm and to turn it off, you have to complete a “mission.” The missions include things like figuring out math problems, scanning a barcode, or taking a picture. These missions force you to wake up and use your brain or to get out of bed. I’m at the point where I wake up before the alarm goes off to avoid having to do the mission. I really dislike math.