How to become a morning person.
You may have heard the saying that the early bird catches the worm or read articles about the habits of successful people and their tendency to be early risers, and wondered how you can become a morning person too.
I know that rising early and making the most out of my mornings definitely helps shape my day for the better. But for many, it's a struggle and if they could be early risers they feel they'd also get more out of their day.
So how do you become a morning person and is it even possible to become one if you've struggled with mornings in the past?
Yes, it is possible. I know this because I did it. It all started with making a decision to become one. Any change, success or growth that sticks with you happens because you choose it and actively seek it. So I made a very clear decision that this is what I wanted to do.
If you don't really want to become a morning person and the only inclination is because you feel you should become one, then all the advice and tips won't work. There needs to be a decision involved that you want to BE a morning person and believe it will make a difference to your life or else you won't last through the initial adjustment phases. This applies to any change you go through in life.
When we change our morning habits we are also changing our waking and sleeping cycles. The cycles of what our bodies are currently used to and programmed to follow. To successfully shift a current habit, we need to support our bodies as much as possible with nutrients, good sleep and good practices. This comes through preparation to make the transition as smooth as possible and I'll get to that further below.
Once you have decided you want to be a morning person, you next want to have a clear reason for why you're getting up early.
Ask yourself for what purpose do you want to wake up earlier? Is it to get more out of your day? More out of your life? Fit in more creativity? What is the reason? How is it going to improve your life? How will it change your life for the better?
Get really clear on this because knowing your reason for getting up early and feeling inspired by the reason will help you when you want to hit the snooze button and roll back over into sleep in the initial stages of shifting your sleeping habits (or sometimes even when you've successfully transitioned!)
For me, my reason for getting up early was to enjoy good health. I changed my waking habits to fit in time to exercise and go for my run or go to the gym. I wanted to spend my evenings doing other things, and I also found myself worn out and lacking energy by the end of the day so much so that I would flake out of running.
Waking up earlier was the answer and once I started to ingrain it as a habit (it took some time and persistence) I also noticed that after morning exercise I would be clearer and more energised for my day. I was more productive, more inspired and more creative. It had a lot of pluses and benefits that I couldn't even see yet. This could happen to you too.
Once you have your inspired reason, next step is to start shifting your waking and sleeping times.
You may have noticed after daylight savings begins it is trickier to wake up and that you feel a little out of it. This is because your body is used to that extra hour of sleep.
Jet lag is similar. It generally takes a day for every hour that you've been in another time zone to adjust. If you were in a time zone with seven hours difference it would take around seven days to adjust.
When you've been waking and sleeping at the same time for a while it can take some time to change, so I like to recommend slow shifts.
If you're waking up earlier, go to bed earlier. You need seven to eight hours of sleep for optimal health. Studies now show that our brains go through a crucial cleansing cycle while we sleep. A cycle that is only done while asleep. Sleeping also helps renew and re-energise our bodies. It is important.
Begin with waking up 15 minutes earlier and going to bed 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach the time you want to wake up at. This will make your transition as smooth as possible.
As you're changing your waking times make sure to be gentle with your body.
+ Have warm water and lemon first thing in the morning and perhaps a vitamin B tablet to help cleanse your liver and give you an energy boost.
+ Eat easier to digest foods and warmer food such as porridge and cooked veggies. For protein opt for white fish and eggs and make sure legumes have been properly soaked.
+ Incorporate gentle movement such as stretching before bed and upon waking, walking instead of running and yin yoga instead of power vinyasa. If you go to the gym, use lighter weights or exercises using your body weight instead and slow jogging or walking on the treadmill.
The final step is to develop a morning routine that you look forward to doing every day.
As humans, we are either driven by pleasure or pain, in that we will seek pleasure to avoid pain. When transitioning into becoming a morning person you may experience perceived pain around the earlier waking times.
To counter this, create a highly pleasurable morning routine that inspires you to stick with your new lifestyle.
As well as being something to look forward to, a morning routine can also give you more time. It can help you avoid the last minute rush that you've always encountered in the morning, which leaves you flustered on the way to work and out of sorts when you get into work.
Have a think about what you could bring into your morning routine. It may include:
+ Warm water and lemon, and a probiotic to support your gut health.
+ Movement such as stretching, yoga, walking, riding, running.
+ Meditation or conscious breathing.
+ Taking your dog for a walk.
+ A cup of tea enjoying the sunrise.
+ Writing in your journal or spending time on a creative project.
+ Reviewing your to-do list for the day.
An evening routine is also a great way to set you up for your day. A few suggestions...
+ Have a to-do list ready to go for the next day (e.g. your top 3 things to get done first thing).
+ Meditate or breathe before bed.
+ Disconnect from all of your devices by 7 pm.
+ Stretch or do some light yoga.
+ Go for a walk to help you digest.
+ Prepare your outfit for the next day and pack your lunch.
+ Avoid coffee, sugar and alcohol.
+ Eat your dinner before 7 pm and include turkey and other foods high in Tryptophan to help you sleep.
There are many options. Sit down with a pen and paper and jot down everything that is relevant for you and how you want to live your life.
Some other things to consider...
+ Change occurs on a cellular level. That is why it can take time to shift a habit. Your body is actually changing physically. Hormones that were connected to your waking cycles will begin to move and change. Your body clock will begin to shift as hormones change. Your metabolism will change as your waking cycles change. Your food desires may also change. It is all part of the process. We are created to adapt to our surroundings and that is what we do. Here is a link to a great interview about what happens when we change.
+ Be patient with the transition. We are creatures of habit and if you introduce too many things at once you may feel overwhelmed with too much change. You know yourself best so create a transition that works for you. A little discomfort is a good thing as long it doesn't last and make you feel cruddy for an extended period of time.
+ If you fall off the waggon brush yourself off and keep going. Many people give up if they can't transition fast enough or if they sleep in one day believing they are failures. You are not a failure, you are learning which way is right for you. Instead of chucking in the towel, perhaps slow down the transition or go through your current morning or evening routine without adding in anything new. You are allowed to pace your change. I do.
I hope that gives you a few ideas on how to become a morning person. Or do you already love your mornings? Have you already transitioned into being a morning person? If you have any other suggestions that may help other readers please share in the comments.