How to Become a Morning Person: 10 Tips for the Sleeping Beauty in All of Us
We’ve all made plans the night before, telling ourselves things like “Okay, tomorrow I will wake up early, eat breakfast, go for a run, shower, and start my day off right!“, only to wake up the next day 10 minutes before you have to leave the house, scrambling to find two matching shoes and make your hair semi-presentable. You’ve probably done it, I’ve done it, and everyone I’ve ever known has done it at least once. If you’ve finally decided that it’s time to make the change and become a morning person, keep reading. Below, you’ll find the best tips on how to become a morning person (and be happy about doing it!).
1. Make a Nighttime Routine
I know you might be thinking something like “Bedtime routine? I haven’t had one of those since I was 10”, and you might be right, but our bodies love routines. Routines make our bodies work less, and can help us fall asleep at night. Once you have a steady nighttime ritual, your body will begin to expect and prepare for bedtime. If you want to learn how to become a morning person, routine is key.
- Start out by turning off electronics about 90 minutes before you want to get in bed. Turn off the TV, finish up that last GOT episode on your iPad, and start sending your goodnight Snapchats.
2. Put on some relaxing music and take a warm shower. This will help your muscles relax and clear your mind.
3. Find a good book and read. Reading before bedtime will calm your mind and tune out some of the extra stimuli around you.
4. Think about writing in a journal before you go to sleep. It may help you organize your thoughts and get out all of the problems that would otherwise keep you up thinking.
5. Your bed should be comfortable and should only be used for sleeping (or sex). Working, watching TV, or other activities tell your brain that your bed is an “awake” place, which is what you want to avoid! Keep all other activities, especially potentially stressful ones (studying, working, etc.) out of the bed. Try to do your work either at a table in your room, or in another room entirely.
7. Do workout!…just don’t workout in the 3 hours before bedtime. Working out will stimulate you and energize your body, which you want to avoid. Save your workout for the morning!
Need more tips for how to sleep better?
2. Get Ready for Bed
Part of how to become a morning person means going to sleep earlier. For someone who has always gone to sleep between 1 and 3 in the morning, this might be tricky. If you want to wake up at 6am to carpe diem, you’ll obviously need more than 4 hours of sleep. Falling asleep isn’t really a passive activity. Learning how to become a morning person is more than just miraculously waking up early one day. It takes preparation. If you’re able to remember a few things before even getting in bed, you’ll have an easier time falling (and staying) asleep.
- Start by getting in bed just 10 minutes earlier than you usually do. After following your bedtime routine, your body and mind will be relaxed and ready for bed.
2. Avoid having caffeine in the afternoon (after lunch), to keep it from keeping you up at night.
3. Have a light dinner. Pasta with heavy cream sauce always sounds like the right choice, but it is hard for our bodies to digest and can keep you up at night.
4. Alcohol helps us sleep initially, but actually has a lot of sugar that keeps are brains working into the night. Go ahead and have a drink, but don’t use it to help you sleep and always remember to drink water. (Alcohol dehydrates us, dehydration makes us tired)
3. Go to Sleep
Now that you’re in bed 10-20 minutes earlier than yesterday, you need to actually go to sleep. It would be nice if this were as easy as getting some sprinkling some fairy dust or calling up the Sandman to give us a hand, but we need to make sure that our rooms are ready for sleeping.
- Sleep in complete darkness. Close the blinds as much as you can and turn off anything that emits light (even though your electronics should already be off!). Artificial light can mess with our brains and make us think that it’s daytime. Getting rid of as much light as possible will help you fall and stay asleep.
2. Wear comfortable clothes. You may love your footie pajamas, but they’re not entirely practical in 90 degree weather. Make sure that you are at a comfortable temperature for sleeping. Grab a blanket and adjust the thermostat.
4. Choose your Alarm Clock
This is an important piece to how to become a morning person. How you wake-up sets the tone for the rest of the day. You’ll have set your alarm at night for your desired time, and one snooze, max (this is only under dire circumstances). The snooze button is always so accessible, but you need to pretend like it doesn’t exist. When your alarm goes off, you get up. There is no other option.
- If you’re one of the many people who can’t resist checking their phone for notifications put your phone on silent and away from you while you’re sleeping. Temptation is dangerous.
2. Get a real alarm clock. They do still exist, and they’re not as terrible as they used to be. Get one you like and are happy to use. (Pro tip: take a marker and cross out the snooze button to keep yourself from trying to use it).
3. Put your new alarm clock somewhere on the other side of the room. You’ll have to get up in the morning to turn it off, which will get you out of bed. If you are one of the people able to resist temptation with your phone, try this app, that makes you take a picture of something in another room before it turns off.
4. If you’re able to, set your alarm to a quiet, peaceful tone. It should be loud enough to wake you up, but the classic rattling and beeping of an alarm clock scares us and makes our heart work too hard too fast.5. Once you’ve turned off your alarm clock in the morning, open your blinds. Let in as much natural light as you can, as soon as waking up as possible.
5. Drink Water
If you spend any time on the Internet, you’ve probably already seen this 10 times today…but it’s because water really is that important. Our bodies are made up of over 50% water, so any amount of dehydration really affects how our bodies work. Just a 2% change in the amount of water in the brain can have cognitive consequences. So, drinking water is important even for learning how to become a morning person.
- Drink a glass of warm lemon water in the morning. Having some water first thing in the morning will help re-hydrate you (you lose liquids as you sleep!), and the lemon has lots of alkaline, which help cleanse your body.
- Prepare some flavored water or tea to have ready for the day. Having a yummy water alternative will encourage you to drink and stay hydrated.
6. Stretch in the Morning
Stretching in the morning loosens everything up and gets blood moving. Try doing some yoga or meditation in the morning. It’ll help center you for the rest of the day and have you wake up limber and ready for anything.
- Look for videos on specific stretches that might help you. For example, if you sit at a desk all day long, you’ll want to open your hips and make sure your back is flexible, but if you’re standing or walking all day, you’ll want to do other types or stretches.
- If you can, turn off your over-head light and stretch with just the natural morning light. Waking up your body as the sun wakes up can be energizing.
7. Get Out
Getting out and exercising in the morning is great for our bodies and our minds. When you wake up and exercise, not only are you getting your body warmed up, but you’re also starting your metabolism. Those 30 minutes for yourself in the morning is just for you. It is the time that you have to think and reflect, or plan your day.
- Get your workout clothes ready the night before. Have your bag packed and ready to go to the gym, or lay out your workout gear on a chair. Put your clothes on first thing in the morning to motivate yourself to go and workout. Do you know the benefits of exercise on the brain?
2. Visualize your workout. Plan your workout before waking up. You’ll be more motivated to get out there if you already know what you’re going to do.
3. Reward yourself. The endorphins you get from working out should be reward enough, but if it’s not, then promise yourself the latte you love from your favorite coffee shop, or a new pair of shoes at the end of the month.
8. Eat a Full Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important part of the day! This is another one of those things that you’ve been hearing since you could walk. Getting a full breakfast in the morning helps your energy levels and can even help you lose weight.
- Find something you love eating and can make yourself. Try to make breakfast a fun time of the day, where you can sit down and have all of those *healthy* foods you love.
- Get some whole grains and fruits in. Try oatmeal with banana or blueberries. Yogurt and muesli or a smoothie are also great options. You don’t have to eat a lot, but you should eat well. Whole grains will help you fill up, and since it’s a complex carbohydrate, the body will more energy and turn less of the energy into sugar.
9. Make a Plan
Use the morning to plan out the rest of your day. Take a few minutes to sit and go through what tasks you have pending, what you’re going to get at the super market, and who you have to write thank-you notes to. Making a plan will help reduce job stress and make you feel more grounded.
- Set aside 10-15 minutes in the morning to go through your agenda. Find the things you didn’t get done the day before, and put those items at the top of the list.
- Find a agenda that you like and are happy to use. Maybe you want the classic Moleskin, or maybe you want a frilly planner that sings to you- the kind of planner you have is up to you, but it’s important to find one you like and will use.
Waking up early is more than just waking up early. It’s a life-style changed and needs to be maintained through weekends, holidays, and your lazy days (you’re allowed to rest on your sick days). Those first few days or weeks might seem rough, but our bodies are designed to adapt to changes, and are happy to follow a new routine. Make a plan and make a change. Keep a list off all of the things you’re able to do with the time you have!
Use the morning or night to reflect on everything that’s happened to you during the day. You may find that you prefer one to the other. For some people, reflecting at night can be too stimulating, while others enjoy winding down by going through the good and bad things that happened during the day. You may also want to look into how mindfulness can change your brain, and make it part of your daily reflective routine.
Waking up early and learning how to become a morning person has a ton of benefits. Not only will you feel more grounded and like you have more time, but you could lose weight, reduce stress, and help depression or anxiety. Once you’re able to get over the initial setting the alarm clock super-early feeling, you’ll see how it gets easier and easier. If you follow these tips and take the morning just for yourself, you’ll see how it can become your favorite time of day!
Molly is a writer specialized in health and psychology. She is passionate about neuroscience and how the brain works, and is constantly looking for new content from interesting sources. Molly is happy to give or take advice, and is always working to educate and inspire.