Rise & shine (early) for a better you
Time and time again we hear the many benefits of waking early. While we think it’s a good idea, it’s definitely easier said than done. If you’re not a natural early-riser – or you’re a snooze button abuser – waking up early takes dedication. Serious dedication.
Our natural sleep/wake cycles, also known as our circadian rhythm, vary from person to person. Depending on whether you feel most awake and alert in the morning or evening (or somewhere in between) will define whether waking up early is easy or a challenge. Waking up late isn’t bad for you but it may clash with your early morning obligations. And if you’ve stayed up late, waking up early is going to be a struggle.
The simple answer is that becoming a morning person comes back to you. Simple if not easy. But we woke up this morning on the bright side of the bed with these 10 tricks to own the morning. Ready to get started?
8 tricks to conquer the morning
- Get more snooze time. We crave sleep because we need it – 7 to 9 hours each night. You may think you’re too busy to fit in more time between the sheets but consider the health consequences of sleep deprivation. This isn’t pretty, folks. Instead of sacrificing sleep, create a sleep routine that’s realistic and doable – every night. Your future self will thank you.
- Eat breakfast. To be your best self, start the day with a healthy breakfast (trust us, morning meetings are more productive when you’re not hangry). Protein gives a quick hit of energy and keeps you going all morning. For an all-in-one, prep-ahead solution, try these 10 breakfast hacks.
- Brighten up. Rise and shine! No, really. Taking in a hefty dose of sunshine first thing in the morning can help you wake up “because your body’s internal clock is sensitive to light and darkness,” says Natalie Dautovich, the National Sleep Foundation’s environmental scholar. She recommends opening the curtains as soon as you rise or eating breakfast on a sunny porch. Even better, when it’s time for bed, open the blinds before falling asleep and let the morning light shine.
- Ditch the snooze button. Waking up feeling groggy, even after plenty of sleep, is a good sign that the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle has been disrupted. Our deepest sleep – REM sleep – usually lasts between 70 and 90 minutes. The real reason to lose the snooze is so you don’t fall back into REM sleep and then disrupt it too quickly. Think about all the times you bang the snooze and you’ll back to dreamland within minutes. When your alarm clock starts to chime, time to jump out of bed and conquer the morning.
- Workout early in the day. You’re probably thinking, “Are you insane? I can barely wake up in time to hit Starbucks, let alone eat breakfast.” But exercise, such as yoga or a quick jog, releases unwanted toxins that negatively affect our sleep. Doing a 20-minute workout first thing in the morning will energize you for a productive day and prepare you for a good night’s sleep when it’s time to go back to bed.
- Seize the day. Waking up with a groan and thinking about all the things you don’t want to do is a terrible way to motivate yourself to get out of bed. Instead, think about the glorious day ahead – seeing loved ones, the promotion coming at work or the delicious dinner you’ll be having. It’s important to fuel your day with motivation to get up and at ‘em.
- Amp up your productivity. Many creatives swear that early morning is the best time to write or think deeply and creatively about projects. Try taking a page from their book and dedicate the early morning to a project of your choice – clean out your email, take a morning stroll or write down your dreams. You may be surprised at how rewarding it feels to start the day with a few tasks already checked off.
- Reward Yourself. Pleasure is a motivator in our lives. Like Aziz Ansari says in Parks and Recreation, “Treat Yo Self!” Tell yourself that if you wake up earlier for “X” days in a row, you’ll reward yourself with something you love to do or eat. Maybe you buy yourself a present, take a weekend trip or do something else that will motivate you.
It can be a challenge to change up your routine quickly. Take your time and slowly ease into becoming the best you in the morning. You can thank us later.
Rest well & wake up ready to go!
Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:
- 10 Healthy breakfast recipes under 400 calories
- Is there a difference between weekday & weekend sleep?
- Sleep experts weigh in with their best tips for getting a good night’s sleep