Becoming a morning person seems difficult for most. We are repeatedly hitting the snooze button when it’s time to take on the tasks of the day. For most people, this scenario represents the reality of their mornings. Mornings do not have to be miserable, hurried affairs that contribute nothing to our holistic wellbeing. Waking up early and being productive in the morning gives you an edge over ‘the other guy’ who starts working later in the day. It enables you to get a head start on the day’s tasks, and set the rest of your day up for productivity and success. With a few lifestyle and behavioral modifications, you can be well on your way to becoming an early riser.
Having energy in the morning is connected to diet. Foods high in refined sugars, animal protein, and saturated fats cause insulin to spike and crash in the body. These cycles of high and low insulin take some blame for the post lunch energy crash most people experience. Insulin levels can be held more steady by consuming whole grains, whole fruit, vegetables and nuts and seeds. These foods will keep your energy at a constant level through the day, and will help you feel more energized in the mornings. Additionally, avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon, and sugar before bed will allow you to have better quality sleep.
Working up a sweat a few times a week will increase overall energy levels and make getting up early easier. Exercising in nature is particularly beneficial due to its mood boosting potential. One popular exercise routine is high intensity interval training (HIIT). This time saving workout is perfect for busy entrepreneurs. However, the best exercise in one that you can stick with, so if HIIT is not for you, do not worry.
Drink lots of water
Exhaustion often goes hand in hand with dehydration. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to drink 10 glasses of water a day, but you should drink water when thirsty or tired. Adding fruits to water can add a boost of electrolytes without refined sugars that will help boost energy. However, avoid drinking a lot of water right before bed, because this will disrupt your sleep with frequent bathroom trips during the night.
Keep your room cool
Keeping the thermostat anywhere between 65 and 72 degrees will improve quality of sleep and will make getting up early easier. A cool room facilitates a drop in body temperature, a necessary component to falling asleep.
Set a sleep schedule and stick to it
Determine the ideal hours of sleep you need, your target wakeup time, and then work backwards to determine what time you should go to bed. Going to bed at roughly the same time everyday is essential to becoming a morning person. The average time it takes for people to fall asleep is about 14 minutes, so factor this into your calculation. Sleep cycles on average last 90 minutes and you should aim to wake up between sleep cycles to feel refreshed. Apps like Sleepytime will automatically produce alarms at 90 minute intervals, with 14 minutes added to the time you go to bed to help you determine the ideal time to set your alarm.
Don’t hit the snooze button
Hitting the snooze button multiple times in the morning disrupts valuable sleep time, and decreases the quality of your sleep. If you must have a ‘snooze’ button, set 2 alarms one and a half hours apart coordinated with your sleep cycle. Set one as your ‘ambitious’ alarm and schedule some task to do during the extra 90 minutes you would receive in the morning. Tasks that require focus are good to complete in the morning to due to minimum distractions from social media and messages. This may be one of the biggest changes you can make to become a morning person.
Avoid starting text conversations near bedtime
The blue light from your electronic device will disrupt your body’s internal clock tricking it into believing the sun has come up already and making you feel more awake rather than sleepy. Also, it can be difficult to end a lively text conversation because it can seem impolite, especially if you have an early bedtime set in your sleep schedule that the friend may not respect as much as you do. A better way to catch up with friends is actually talking on the phone since this minimizes the blue light, and makes it easier to end a conversation.
Use white noise
White noise is effective at creating quality sleep because it is calm, repetitive, and boring. It minimizes auditory distractions while asleep. Especially if you live in the city, car horns and other noise distractions can disrupt quality sleep and wake you up several times in the night.
Ultimately becoming a morning person has to do with improving sleep quality, increasing energy levels, and creating consistency with your daily routine. Getting work done in the mornings, and creating good habits will set the rest of your day up for success, and will give you a competitive edge. A habit is formed with approximately 30 days of repetition. Getting up early will be difficult for the first few days, but eventually your body will adapt, and after 30 days it will become effortless.