How to change from a night owl to a morning person
If you are the kind of person who cannot seem to just go to bed before 11 p.m. and obviously, starting your day early seems completely impossible, welcome to the club. We, night owls, often have a problem with productivity, since our days start later, and we tend to get more creative and active in the late hours of the night when it is also the time our bodies are already tired from the day’s activities.
So can we train ourselves to become morning people? Yes, the early birds, I mean those who wake up with the sun, workout, run errands, seem to have a lot more time than us, and then go to bed at a reasonable hour and get a healthy routine.
The easy answer is that most of us eventually grow out of it (being a night owl), we finish university and we trade in the all-nighters and the parties for 8 a.m. meetings at the office. However, that does not mean we will not suffer in the process. You might struggle with the early bird kind of thing, your biological clock is not ready to wake up but society is ready for you to do so.
Studies show that there are biological differences between night owls and early birds, we cannot change it, but we can indeed minimize it. If you do not have flexible hours at work and need to be there early, let us try to help you to shift your sleeping pattern slightly so you will not have to suffer as much.
Tips on how to slowly change your daily routine:
Training yourself to sleep earlier and wake up earlier is not an easy task, but it can be done! Remember to start slowly so your body can adjust to the new routine. It might take a little bit of time and you will feel sluggish on the first few days, but as soon as you start to get used to it and keep the routine every day, soon enough you will say farewell to the night own in you and will become an early bird!
Becoming acquainted with mornings is all a matter of mindset, if you wish to enjoy these early, quiet hours to be active and to be productive, you are in for the win. Check out a few tips that can help you get started!
Set a bedtime: first and foremost, you need a goal. Set a time you want to be in bed, and start your ‘ritual’ an hour before. Remember to not go crazy, otherwise, your body will take longer to understand the changes. So if, for example, you usually go to bed at midnight, set as a goal to sleep at eleven.
And you should start winding down at ten o’clock, so you have enough time to send your body signals that you are getting ready to go into sleep mode very soon. After a month or so, of this routine, you can strive for an earlier time. But do not forget to start slow and keep it steady.
Limit your nighttime exposure to light: I think we all have heard of this at least a hundred times, but it is correct and extremely valid in this case. Our biological clocks are controlled by light, so we should limit our light exposure at least one hour before bed, this way your body will begin to understand that you are winding down and getting ready to sleep. Blue light (cell phone, TV, iPad, etc.) induces the brain to stay awake, and that is not our goal here. Take this time for yourself, take a bath or a shower, catch up on that book you have been wanting to read but cannot seem to find the time and enjoy a relaxing hour before you snooze off.
Avoid simulations: it is important that near bedtime (the time you will choose to start your process) you stay calm and relaxed. Avoid reading work emails or stressing about tomorrow’s activities, do not fill your brain with a horror movie that will keep you awake for longer or an intense book that will keep your mind too alert. The time before bed should be calm and relaxing, grab a chamomile tea and enjoy!
Lower temperatures help you sleep better: yes, you read it right. And no, you do not need to sleep in Alaska-like weather to get a good night of sleep. To help with this your might want to do your workouts earlier in the day and limit your hot shower before bed to keep your body temperature cool. You can drop the temperature of your room by a few degrees and cozy up with a blanket.
Melatonin can give you an extra help: if it has been really hard for you to sleep without extra help, you can try taking a dose of melatonin before you want to fall asleep, it will make you feel sleepy faster. However, you want your body to do this naturally, so as soon as you have started a routine, you can set aside the melatonin and rely on your body’s capability of producing it to help you sleep naturally.
Morning light can help you wake up earlier: okay, so you slept early, but how to wake up early is also a good question. You can sleep with your curtains open so when the light hits you in the eyes you will eventually wake up, or as soon as your alarm goes off, open everything or even go outside and enjoy some light and sun.
This can help you start the day with more energy and make you more alert. Remember that early rising also means that you will be ready to sleep earlier. Your body will get tired and you will have started to trick your body clock into the new sleeping pattern.
Do not hit the snooze button thirty times: setting your alarm several times to make you wake up slowly will not work the way you want it to. You end up losing precious time of deeper, restoring sleep and trade it in for lighter, shorter ones. So instead of waking up in parcels, set your alarm for when you actually need to wake up and put it on the other side of the room.
This way you will have to get out of bed to stop the noise and since you are already up, might as well start the day. The other downside of setting several alarms is that you already start your day by putting things off, and it will likely frustrate you. So wake up at the first sound and start your day already accomplishing one thing.
Get up at the same time every morning: this will help you create the routine and keep up with it. Eventually, you will not even need an alarm because your body will be used to waking up at this hour. It is not a myth guys, this actually happens. And while we are on the subject, if you happen to be sleep deprived on a specific day, try to nap during the day instead of messing up your sleep schedule. Sneak in a 25-minute nap and you are good to go.
Hydrate yourself: after an average of 8 hours without any liquids, give your body the chance to hydrate first thing in the morning. Drink a glass of water so your body can start to function properly. Hydration is highly connected to tiredness. So make sure you drink your liquids throughout the day for a more energized body.
Wash your face with cold water: this is the good, old waking up trick. It does, in fact, work. Splash some cold water on your face when you wake up, this will give you a hint of adrenaline and help you kick-start the day faster.
Workout in the early hours: a workout routine can be the perfect way to wake up. It will keep you more energized during the day and give you that kick of adrenaline to help start your day. Studies show that people who exercise for at least 150 minutes per week feel less tired overall than those who do not exercise the recommended amount. So get healthy, it will help you wake up and it will use up your energy so you can sleep better at night.
Do not quit: this is a process that will take a little time. Give your body a month to fall into this new pattern. It might not be easy in the beginning and you might feel tired from not sleeping enough, but that will only be until your internal clock understands this new pattern and then you will never be late to work again!
It is important to make the changes slowly so your body has time to adapt to the new schedule, so begin by shifting your internal clock by an hour or so, and increase it according to the responses you get from your internal clock. Becoming an early bird might seem like a big challenge at first, but it is all a matter of habit.
If you stick to the routine for long enough, soon you will be immersed in it and will be going to bed early and getting enough hours of sleep. Waking up early is a great way to get more things done, to be more active and more energized, so fight through the instinct of going back to bed when the first alarm goes off and sticks to the plan and you will see that there are a lot of benefits that come with the early bird lifestyle.
How you start your day can set the tone for the rest of the 24 hours you have got. When you start it by hitting the snooze button, you set a tone of procrastination and lack of self-discipline which will impair the rest of your day. Try to view waking up early as a mindset, it is you telling yourself that you are going to be productive and that you have enough discipline and are willing to do so.
Starting the day with a positive thought is key to a better outcome in general. Listen to your alarm as good news: here it is, a fresh new day just for you, enjoy it as you wish. If this is your mindset every morning, it will be a lot easier to get out of bed and seize the day in the best way possible, every day.
Keeping a positive outlook on life and waking up to a positive thought can really improve the rest of your day. The early hours of the morning are much like a gift. They are not filled with anything, if you manage to wake up, you can have a few hours to yourself and fill it with the activities you wish.
For people who have creative/artistic careers, and you think that the night owl life is the only one for you, creativity seems to hit hard at late hours, guess what? So do the early ones if you wake up to try. The quiet hours, when it feels like the world is still sleeping, and you are fresh and ready for a new day, might bring you a kind of inspiration you have never experienced before. It is definitely worth a try!
Establishing a relaxing routine in the evening and a productive one in the morning is key to a successful transition. If you follow all the tips and manage to get yourself tucked in at a reasonable hour and up in the morning at the sound of the first alarm, you can already be proud of yourself!
The first step is always the hardest, but we promise that every day it gets easier. For those who work or study in the morning, this is key to living a functioning life. For those who are just seeking to be more active, this is definitely the road to productivity! Keep up the routine and enjoy your (longer) days. Carpe diem!