How to become a morning person

I'm not a morning person and neither is my husband. Since we moved to Georgia and suddenly didn't have to get up for an 8:00 a.m. job, we both routinely stay up until midnight or later, which also means we don't get up early in the morning.

But we both want to change that. We'd like to be able to get up at a reasonable time and be productive in the morning hours. Can it be done? Can a night owl who feels foggy and tired in the morning become chipper and productive in the a.m.? We shall see. Here are the tips I've found to help me become a morning person.

1. Go to bed at a reasonable time. Don't go to bed if you aren't tired, but you do need to get enough sleep. This one is obvious, and it's one of the hardest things for us to do! I'm going to try it, though.

2. Choose a wake-up time and stick with it. No more hitting the snooze button for me.

3. Wake up 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach your target. I've also heard that if you keep waking up earlier in 15 minute increments, you'll eventually be an early riser and will hardly notice that a change happened.

4. Do some stretching. Stretching feels good, and it gets your blood moving. It tells your body to get ready to move!

5. Exercise in the morning. This will wake you up and increase your energy for the day. Don't allow yourself to talk yourself out if it - just do it!

6. Get some sunlight first thing. Maybe you can combine exercise with sunlight by exercising outside.

7. Shower. A shower helps me to feel less groggy in the morning.

8. Eat breakfast. Don't skip breakfast - it provides the fuel you need to get going in the morning.

9. Get up. This is another seemingly obvious one, but just getting out of bed is the first step! Stop hitting snooze and just hop out of bed first thing.

10. Find a reason to get up. If you have the proper motivation, you will get up. When I have a job that starts at 8:00 a.m., I get up early because I'm motivated to keep my job. My motivation now is that I want to accomplish a lot earlier in the day so I can relax later. But the point is, if your motivation isn't doing it for you, find another reason to get up.

I'm going to work on these tips and I'll let you know if I become a morning person. I hope they help you become the morning person you want/need to be. And if all else fails, you can always try the inflatable pillow alarm clock. Ha!

Related posts:
Tips for falling asleep naturally


Megan said...

Great topic, and I think there's something in the air about sleep/tiredness lately (Gretchen covered it, too!).

For me, the two most important things in waking up early have been:

1. Having a good pay-off (reason for doing it). Personally, if I get up and get to work by 7:00 a.m., I'm done by 3:00, which means I have what feels like forever in the afternoon to do as I please. I LOVE that feeling.

2. Figuring out my REM cycles so I can set my alarm to go off when I'm in my shallowest sleep. That way, I wake up and actually feel refreshed, as opposed to groggy. I did this by trial & error (and others can, too). If I set my alarm for anywhere between 5:15 a.m. and 5:45, I'm fine when it goes off. If I set it for anywhere between 6:00 a.m. and 6:45, it's bad news (I'm in deep sleep again at that point).

This REM cycle trick has made ALL the difference in how I feel each morning (even though mentally 5:30 seems ungodly, physically it's my best time to awaken).

Good luck!

Holli Jo said...

There is definitely something in the air! I'm never a morning person, but the fall makes it worse somehow.

I agree about the pay-off. With a good enough reason, it's fairly easy to get up in the morning!

As for figuring out REM cycles, how did you do it? It sounds like a good idea, but I wouldn't know how to go about it.

Thanks for your great comment!

amypalko said...

I just needed this post - thank you! I'm taking part in a writing project and I've decided that my writing time needs to be before my kids get up. So for the last two mornings I have managed to get up at 6.30, but it has not been easy. The only thing that gets me moving is the commitment that I've made to my writing time. Leo at Zen Habits had a post last week (I think) about starting new habits, and how the key to making them stick is to ensure they pay off. It has to become easier to practice the habit than not. Just as Megan says, her pay off is that she gets the afternoon to herself. For me, it's only 15 min before the day takes off like unruly skateboard on an oil slick. If I didn't get those 15 mins though, the writing wouldn't get done, and I would feel as though I had let myself down. Great post, Holli Jo!

Megan said...

On the REM cycles, it was by accident. I knew I'd been waking up most days around 6:30 and feeling groggy, and then one day I had to be somewhere earlier than usual. I set my alarm for 5:30 (thinking I'd be dead to the world when it went off), and to my surprise, I felt FANTASTIC! The next day, I reverted to 6:30, and felt groggy again. I tried 5:30 the next day and felt GREAT! It was totally trial & error, but worth the experimentation!

Holli Jo said...

megan - I'm definitely going to try it. I'm glad you mentioned that tip. Thanks!

amypalko - I'm glad my tips helped you! It's nice to hear that. I agree with you, there has to be a payoff for getting up early. I'm glad you found your writing time - keep it up!