Sorry night-owls, if you want to be at your best, you might need to consider becoming a morning person. When it comes to health, happiness, stress and more, the science shows that it is best to be an early riser.
Whether we would like to admit it or not, our bodies have been designed to be awake early and asleep early. We are programmed at the base level to be rising with the sun. It goes back to our caveman days.
Over the course of history however, and the adaptation to technological improvements, we have strayed from the course.
It is now incredibly easy to stay up far later and sleep far longer in to the day than ever before.
With distractions like:
And things such as:
- Alarm clocks.
- Blackout curtains.
It is becoming increasingly simple to change the natural order around sleep and it is not doing us any favours.
What are the benefits of being a morning person?
Becoming a morning person is not the easiest thing in the world. Your body however, will thank you in the long run. A lot of the most productive and successful people in the world are up early and it is for a reason. There are a lot of positives that can come out of changing up the sleep cycle.
Such things as:
- You can be more productive. Waking up early gives you a few extra hours in the day. These are usually the hours that no-one else is up and as a result you can work through your list distraction free.
- You are more likely to exercise. More time in the day means more time to get things done. Exercise included! Whilst doing a workout first thing might not be the winning solution, getting some things done early so you can exercise later is definitely a reality.
- You are more likely to eat a decent breakfast. Waking up late and being in a rush to get the day started is a recipe for skipping breakfast. Waking up early gives you more time to get the metabolism firing by eating a healthy meal before the day really begins.
- You can procrastinate less. If you are up early and have already built some momentum for the day, then you are less likely to be unproductive later in the day. Getting tasks done early in the day allows for consistency throughout.
- You will sleep better! It might sound a bit counterintuitive, but if you know that you will need to wake up early, then you are more likely to go to bed early. This will help get your body in better sleep-alignment and as a result it will be a higher quality sleep.
Becoming a morning person step #1: The night before
When you are looking to become a morning person, the best thing you can do is create a system that allows you to succeed. It is nearly impossible to thrive in the early hours of the day if you are up late at night for example.
You should look to create a night-time routine. It will allow your body to be in the best position to fall asleep early. As a result, you will find falling asleep much easier. Waking up earlier also becomes much more sustainable.
A fantastic night routine would include:
- 60 minutes before scheduled sleep: All your screens are off. Your alarm has been set. You are reducing distractions that will give you energy when you don’t need it.
- 45 minutes before bed: Warm shower that will give your body and muscles a chance to relax from a long day. It is important to be in a relaxed state when you are going to sleep.
- 30 minutes before bed: Lights are dimmed and you are in bed. Either reading or journaling. A lot of people like writing down what happened during the day and what they would like to do tomorrow as it relaxes them. I prefer to read so that I can get my brain away from the day.
- 0 minutes before bed: Lights are off, the room is nice and cool and we are going to sleep.
If you are able to find a system that works for you, brilliant!
Once the system is in place, it is easily replicable.
The important thing to note is that you should be going to sleep at the same time every night. This so your body can get used to it and in a rhythm.
Becoming a morning person step #2 – Make the most of the early hours
There is absolutely no reason in trying to become a morning person if you are not going to take advantage of the early hours. If you wake up early and do not take full advantage of the hours gained, then you are less likely to continue doing it.
What is the point of waking up earlier than you are used to if you are just going to check social media or watch tv?
This will not wake you up. It will make you more tired and as a result you will not see the benefit in it long-term.
If you really want to make the most of this early start, then you need to start with one thing.
Do not touch your phone!
Remain distraction free. Wake up and make sure that your attention is not immediately taken up with the news, Instagram, Facebook, email or messages.
So what should you do instead?
The top 3 early morning tasks
Practice your gratitudes.
A great way to put yourself in the most positive mindset possible when you wake up is to show gratitude for things in your life. Answering questions such as:
- What are the 3 things in my life I am most appreciative of and why?
- What am I most looking forward to in the short-term?
- What am I going to be most proud of Dec 31, 2021?
- What is most likely to stress me today? How would my best self deal with this?
If you are able to put yourself in a hugely positive mindset from the minute you wake, then you are very likely to continue that throughout.
List of tasks for the day
When you wake up early, the best thing that you can do is build momentum. A great way of doing this is by creating a list of key tasks that you would like to achieve before the end.
What is it that absolutely needs to be done for the day to be seen as a success? What have you been putting off for a while? What deadlines do I have approaching?
Answering these questions before the day begins will allow you to attack the day with purpose and reduce stress at the same time.
The next thing to do is start ticking them off!
If you are up before everyone, it means that there is a much lower chance of interruptions, meetings, family etc…
Ticking of 2-3 things from your tasks for the day will enable you to build momentum. It also allows you the chance to deal with those distractions when they occur. Giving them your full attention without stress building up it a great result.
Bonus: Ticking things off a list is a great way of giving yourself some positive feedback and feel like you are accomplishing.
Do some exercise
Whilst this might not be for everyone, early morning exercise is a proven way of getting the body awake and functioning.
If you can get the muscles firing, the blood circulating and endorphins flowing, your brain will thank you later on in the day.
Waking up, leaving your phone alone and going outside for a run/walk/workout will give you some wonderful clarity for the day ahead. You will often have a few ideas and solve some of the bigger problems as well!
If exercise is not for you that is also understandable. A 30 minute stretch/mobility/yoga session or even meditation will go a long way to getting your body set up for the day ahead.
It is hard not to become a morning person if you get to see a wonderful sunrise every day!
Becoming a morning person step #3 – Stick with it
If you are a night owl and want to become a morning person, it is very important that you understand 1 thing going in to it.
The first few weeks are going to be tough.
You are trying to fundamentally change the way that your body clock is programmed and it is not easy.
If you stick with it though, the benefits are well worth it.
You cannot go in to this and expect to retain your late night finishes. You must commit to an early night (with an appropriate routine) and ensure that you still get the required amount of sleep.
If you are going to do it, do it right!
You, your body and your life will thank you if you are able to make an early morning a part of your lifestyle.
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