13 Steps to Becoming A Morning Person

Morning people are happier, healthier, more successful…and rare. But becoming a morning person is easier than you think. While some of your chronotype (whether you’re a lark or a night owl) is determined by your genetics,  what matters most for 80% of the population is lifestyle. So unless you’re a severe night owl who works the graveyard shift, you can become a morning person in just 13 easy steps.

1. Commit.

Changing your chronotype is hard. So pinpoint the reason you want to become a morning person, and post it somewhere where you’ll see it every day, like the bathroom mirror. Inform some friends or colleagues of your new goal so they can keep you on track. Finally, your new habit will take about two weeks, so expect to be tired for awhile as your body adjusts to its new routine.

2. Start gradually.

Don’t set your alarm for 5AM if you normally get up at 9AM. Get used to waking no more than 2 hours before your usual time before attempting to wake earlier. Ease yourself into your new routine by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach your goal.

3. Don’t stress about bedtime.

Stressing over setting the perfect bedtime could paradoxically keep you up at night. Just go to bed when you’re tired, which will be at a reasonable hour if you wake up at the same time each day. But that’s not a license to stay up until 3AM – aim for about 7-8 hours each night.

4. Refine your evening routine.

Cramming all your to-dos after 5PM isn’t conducive to a good night’s rest. Prioritize your tasks as if you had one hour less in the evenings. As you start your new routine, these tasks should include prepping your work clothes and lunch to make your morning less stressful – but they can be done in the morning once you’re settled. Also, create a to-do list for the next day to motivate your early wakeup.

5. Cut down on tech.

Computers and cell phones emit blue light. This blocks the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. So avoid bright lights and technology for at least an hour before you go to sleep. Got roommates? Invest in a pair of yellow sunglasses, which block out blue light. You’ll look ridiculous, but you’ll wake up on time tomorrow.

6. Stop hitting snooze.

Your sleep naturally becomes lighter about an hour before you wake up. Hitting the snooze button lets you back into a deeper sleep, so it’s a shock to your system when you’re jolted out of it. If you use a cell phone alarm, install an app that forces you to do a math problem before pressing snooze. Or hit snooze and tell yourself you can go back to bed when it goes off, as long as you drink water or do some stretches first. When it rings again, you’ll be more capable of making a rational decision. Still struggling? Move your alarm clock into another room.

7. Find the reward.

Don’t start your morning by thinking of your obligations, but of what you get to do that day. Don’t have anything? Create some! Build a reward into your morning routine, whether that’s watching a funny YouTube clip or meeting a friend for breakfast.

8. Go outside.

To wake up fast, expose yourself to sunlight. Ditch the blackout shades and leave your curtains open at night, then go outside first thing in the morning. A half-hour walk around the neighborhood is ideal, but flossing on your front stoop will do. If sunlight is lacking in your neighborhood, invest in a light box to cue your brain that it’s morning.

9. Eat breakfast.

No, not donuts every morning, especially since carbohydrates make you drowsy. Protein-packed foods will increase your dopamine levels and thus your alertness – try our suggestions here.

10. Decide when to exercise.

Two schools of thought exist on exercising to optimize wakefulness. One school recommends exercising between 5PM and 7PM to improve sleep quality. But finish 3 hours before bedtime, so your elevated adrenaline levels don’t keep you up. Or you can take advantage of this phenomenon by exercising in the morning. We are naturally most awake around 10AM, and exercising in the early hours helps you stay alert for even longer. Morning exercise also reduces stress and blood pressure, and increases weight loss. Studies also suggest it improves sleep – so pick a time that works for you.

11. Stay consistent.

You can’t change your chronotype if you only stick to your early wakeup time on the weekdays. Morning people get up early every single day of the week. No exceptions. If you’re out late, take a nap or go to sleep earlier the next night – but wake up at the same time.

12. Watch the supplements.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol after 3PM while you’re adjusting to your new routine, since both disrupt sleep. You should also consider taking melatonin supplements to help you feel tired. Take 0.5 mg 8 hours after waking, and more if needed at bedtime.

13. Go camping.

Got a vacation coming up? Camping forces you away from artificial schedules and exposes you to plenty of natural light, so you’ll quickly learn to rise with the sun. It can be tough to maintain this routine when you return home, but tip #8 will help you do so.

Have you always wanted to be a morning person? Did you train yourself to become one? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or Tweet us @SuperheroYou.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Kos-Read via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Morning people are happier, healthier, more successful…and rare. But becoming a morning person is easier than you think. While some of your chronotype (whether you’re a lark or a night owl) is determined by your genetics,  what matters most for 80% of the population is lifestyle. So unless you’re a severe night owl who works the graveyard shift, you can become a morning person in just 13 easy steps.

1. Commit.

Changing your chronotype is hard. So pinpoint the reason you want to become a morning person, and post it somewhere where you’ll see it every day, like the bathroom mirror. Inform some friends or colleagues of your new goal so they can keep you on track. Finally, your new habit will take about two weeks, so expect to be tired for awhile as your body adjusts to its new routine.

2. Start gradually.

Don’t set your alarm for 5AM if you normally get up at 9AM. Get used to waking no more than 2 hours before your usual time before attempting to wake earlier. Ease yourself into your new routine by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach your goal.

3. Don’t stress about bedtime.

Stressing over setting the perfect bedtime could paradoxically keep you up at night. Just go to bed when you’re tired, which will be at a reasonable hour if you wake up at the same time each day. But that’s not a license to stay up until 3AM – aim for about 7-8 hours each night.

4. Refine your evening routine.

Cramming all your to-dos after 5PM isn’t conducive to a good night’s rest. Prioritize your tasks as if you had one hour less in the evenings. As you start your new routine, these tasks should include prepping your work clothes and lunch to make your morning less stressful – but they can be done in the morning once you’re settled. Also, create a to-do list for the next day to motivate your early wakeup.

5. Cut down on tech.

Computers and cell phones emit blue light. This blocks the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. So avoid bright lights and technology for at least an hour before you go to sleep. Got roommates? Invest in a pair of yellow sunglasses, which block out blue light. You’ll look ridiculous, but you’ll wake up on time tomorrow.

6. Stop hitting snooze.

Your sleep naturally becomes lighter about an hour before you wake up. Hitting the snooze button lets you back into a deeper sleep, so it’s a shock to your system when you’re jolted out of it. If you use a cell phone alarm, install an app that forces you to do a math problem before pressing snooze. Or hit snooze and tell yourself you can go back to bed when it goes off, as long as you drink water or do some stretches first. When it rings again, you’ll be more capable of making a rational decision. Still struggling? Move your alarm clock into another room.

7. Find the reward.

Don’t start your morning by thinking of your obligations, but of what you get to do that day. Don’t have anything? Create some! Build a reward into your morning routine, whether that’s watching a funny YouTube clip or meeting a friend for breakfast.

8. Go outside.

To wake up fast, expose yourself to sunlight. Ditch the blackout shades and leave your curtains open at night, then go outside first thing in the morning. A half-hour walk around the neighborhood is ideal, but flossing on your front stoop will do. If sunlight is lacking in your neighborhood, invest in a light box to cue your brain that it’s morning.

9. Eat breakfast.

No, not donuts every morning, especially since carbohydrates make you drowsy. Protein-packed foods will increase your dopamine levels and thus your alertness – try our suggestions here.

10. Decide when to exercise.

Two schools of thought exist on exercising to optimize wakefulness. One school recommends exercising between 5PM and 7PM to improve sleep quality. But finish 3 hours before bedtime, so your elevated adrenaline levels don’t keep you up. Or you can take advantage of this phenomenon by exercising in the morning. We are naturally most awake around 10AM, and exercising in the early hours helps you stay alert for even longer. Morning exercise also reduces stress and blood pressure, and increases weight loss. Studies also suggest it improves sleep – so pick a time that works for you.

11. Stay consistent.

You can’t change your chronotype if you only stick to your early wakeup time on the weekdays. Morning people get up early every single day of the week. No exceptions. If you’re out late, take a nap or go to sleep earlier the next night – but wake up at the same time.

12. Watch the supplements.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol after 3PM while you’re adjusting to your new routine, since both disrupt sleep. You should also consider taking melatonin supplements to help you feel tired. Take 0.5 mg 8 hours after waking, and more if needed at bedtime.

13. Go camping.

Got a vacation coming up? Camping forces you away from artificial schedules and exposes you to plenty of natural light, so you’ll quickly learn to rise with the sun. It can be tough to maintain this routine when you return home, but tip #8 will help you do so.

Have you always wanted to be a morning person? Did you train yourself to become one? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or Tweet us @SuperheroYou.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Kos-Read via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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