Not a morning person? Here’s how to fake it!
Not everyone is a natural early riser. Our natural sleep/wake cycles, which are called our circadian rhythm, vary from person to person. Some people feel most awake and alert in the morning, others in the evening, and some in between. While waking up late isn’t bad for you, it does make it tricky when there are things that need to be done in the mornings, whether it’s dropping kids off at school, making an early morning team meeting, or being able to fit everything you need to do into the day.
If waking up early is harder for you than for others, there are some things you can do to make it easier. Here are eight tips to get you started:
- Get more sleep. We crave sleep because we need it. Most people function best on seven to nine 9 hours each night. You may think you’re too busy to fit in more snooze time, but consider the health consequences of sleep deprivation. Instead of sacrificing sleep, create a sleep routine that’s realistic and achievable, every single night. Your future self will thank you and it will be easier to get up in the morning.
- Stop with the snooze button. Waking up feeling groggy, even after plenty of sleep, is often a sign that your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle has been disrupted. REM sleep is our deepest type of sleep and normally lasts between 70 and 90 minutes. If you hit the snooze button, you might fall back into REM sleep, only to have the alarm interrupt you a few minutes later, leaving you bleary-eyed. Rather get up the first time your alarm goes off.
- Let the sunshine in. Exposing your body to sunshine first thing in the morning can help you wake up. This is because your body’s internal clock is sensitive to light and darkness, says Natalie Dautovich, the National Sleep Foundation’s environmental scholar. She recommends opening the curtains as soon as you rise or eating breakfast on a sunny veranda.
- Eat breakfast. To be your best self, start the day with a healthy breakfast (and avoid feeling “hangry” in your meetings). Including some protein will keep you going all morning.
- Exercise early in the day. This may sound especially hard for you if you’re not a morning person, but exercise releases unwanted toxins that negatively affect our sleep. Doing just a 20-minute workout first thing in the morning – some yoga, a quick jog or a dance party in your kitchen while you make coffee – will energise you for a productive day and prepare you for a good night’s sleep when it’s time to go back to bed.
- Arm yourself with a smile. It sounds cheesy, but choosing to have a positive attitude towards the day rather than thinking about all the things you don’t want to do will help you face the day more easily. Focus on the good things – seeing loved ones, cuddles with your pets, exciting projects, or the delicious dinner you’ll cook. It’s important to fuel your day with motivation.
- Get creative. Many creatives say that early mornings are their best creative times. Try to taking a page from their book and dedicate the early morning to a few minutes of creativity. Write down your dreams, plan a fun weekend project or read a few pages of a book. This helps your brain start the day from a creatively charged up place.
- Incentivise yourself. Humans are motivated by pleasure or rewards. Make an agreement with yourself that if you get up early for so many days in a row, you get to do something special for yourself, whether it’s a fun outing on the weekend, a meal at your favourite restaurant, or starting a new series on Netflix or Showmax.
If getting good sleep is more of a challenge for you than getting up on time, here are some strategies you can try to improve your sleep.
For more fun sleep facts, ideas and expert sleep advice, why not visit our Sleep Blog?