Are you the kind of person who loves the quiet morning hours? Do you like to get up, take a shower, sing a song, take the dog on a stroll and prepare the perfect energy-packed breakfast all before 8 a.m.? Or are you more likely to the pull the covers up and sleep until noon if given the choice? If that sounds more like you, you may be skeptical that you could ever happily start your days early. But there are ways to change your disposition so you’ll enjoy waking up earlier. You can trick your body into thinking you’re a morning person with a few simple changes to your sleep routine.
Training Your Internal Clock
Inside of you, there’s a biological clock that helps control your natural circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycle of energy that lets your body know when to wake up and when to fall asleep. These natural processes help ensure that your body gets all the sleep it needs to help repair cells, rebuild tissues and restore energy from the day before. And everybody’s needs are different. On average, infants sleep about 16 to 18 hours per day, children need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night, teenagers need about 11 and adults need anywhere from 7 to 8 hours to feel well-rested. To become a morning person, you simply need to reset your biological clock.
Becoming an Early Bird
We’ve got a plan to turn you into a sunny early bird. Firstly, you’ll want to start dimming the lights and electronic devices, such as your cell phone, tablet, and laptop, about 90-minutes before you turn down the covers. Reducing your exposure to artificial light in the evening will help get your mind and body into the sleepy zone. Use this time to take a warm bath, do a puzzle, or read a book. To remember your exact sleep schedule, it helps to write it down and put it in your calendar or set a nightly alert on your phone. The next trick is to stick to it as many days as you can, including the weekends.
To become a morning person, you also need to realize that you’ll not only need wind-down time, but you’ll also need to get to bed earlier, which means setting a new schedule. Try to move your bedtime back by about 15 minutes each week until you adjust to your new time. It’s not your wake-up time that’s keeping you from becoming a morning person; it’s your bedtime. The most important step to becoming an early riser is giving yourself a bedtime that allows for at least 7 hours of rest.
Relaxing scents like lavender and jasmine before bed may help you to fall asleep faster. For the morning hours, the reverse is true. Try peppy scents like orange peppermint or lemon to wake up your senses and give you an energetic start to the day.
Learning not rely on a snooze button is the hardest (and most terrifying) trick to master. You’ll instead want to open your blinds and let the natural light wake your body. Your biological clock triggers your body to wake up when it sees the light. During the winter months, you may want to invest in some form of light therapy, such as the Goodday ™ Biological LED bulb by Lighting Science which will also help your body to wake up as naturally as possible.
Sometimes your social calendar can get in the way of your healthy sleep life. To make sure you become an early bird, you will need to say no to some of those more tempting offers like visiting the nightclub, going to trivia night or watching a movie into the wee hours of the morning. You don’t have to become a hermit crab, but you’ll want to schedule your social life around your body’s need for sleep, especially as you get older.
You’ve already heard the key role that exercise and healthy eating play in your overall well-being, but those important things also help keep your sleep life stable. Exercising in the morning can allow you to go to sleep easier at night. Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and energy boosting beverages a few hours before bed can also help you get the quality of sleep you need.
Once you have made these changes, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Switching your night owl status over to early bird territory is a hard task. But it’s a task that brings many benefits with it. Now that you can get up with the roosters, you can take those quiet hours to read, meditate, start working out or take a little time to appreciate the day. You’ll be so happy you didn’t snooze away those precious hours.