Becoming a morning person is a skill that is aspired by many but accomplished by very few. Whether its your work or class schedule, it is a difficult feat to do. While some may feel that they accomplished this, many fail to understand that getting up in the morning and becoming a morning person are two different things. Today, we will look at a couple of ways in which you can transform yourself from begrudgingly waking up in the morning, to truly enjoying what waking up early has to offer. With the fall college semester coming up for many students in a little over a month, these are some pointers you should all pay attention to.
Standardize Your Sleep
The first step in becoming a morning person is having a set time for waking up and going to bed. The reason we find that we want to sleep in on weekends is so we can catch up on sleep. However, if your sleep is standardized for seven to eight hours, catching up on sleep wouldn’t be necessary. Even on your days off, if you wake up at your designated time, get your morning errands out of the way, and go for a nap in the mid-early afternoon, you’ll still be productive while treating yourself for the weekend.
Take Baby Steps
To be able to sleep at a set schedule, you need to incorporate being a morning person in small baby steps. Start first by getting an assessment of what keeps you up late at night. The key to becoming a morning person is by hacking into the night before.
- Sleep is the biggest hurdle and being able to figure out what prevents you from getting enough sleep at night will allow you to know how to survive the next day.
- Once you figure out the triggers that keep you up, decide on a time to go to bed. This time will stay regardless of what time you have to be up. So, for example, if you choose that you will stick to a 10 pm bedtime, go to bed at 10 pm. Even if it’s a weekend or there’s a delay on the time you have to go into work.
- After a 10 pm bedtime becomes commonplace, start to tailor your standardize wake up time. If you have to be at work at 9 am, standardize yourself to wake up at 7 am everyday.
- Just like a diet change, you can have cheat days with sleeping as well. If you want to go out with friends, shift your schedule a tad bit. Don’t let becoming a morning a person also make you a hermit crab.
Make a Task List
Having a set guideline on what to do for the day will allow you to have an idea of what’s ahead of you. If you are able to know your day’s plan, you can have something to look forward to. Having a plan to look forward to will get you excited about getting out of bed. Attaching a task list to your day will also prevent you from running around like a headless chicken, taking the day as it comes.
Hack your task list in two ways: by attaching an alarm to important tasks and ranking them. Setting deadlines through alarms will allow you to transition between tasks and ranking them based on importance will allow you to feel okay if you can’t complete the whole list that day.
Understand Your Body
It is important to always be in tune with your body. While you begin to work toward a steady sleep schedule, you will find that there are times when the work day is too much for you and you need to get some rest. By all means, when you find that you are tired, always get some rest. This is the case even if it deviates from your schedule. If this happens in the middle of the day, opt for a nap. If you are jittery or high energy from coffee or energy drinks later in the day, set a cut off time for coffee and start to eliminate energy drinks from your diet. Listening to your body over anything else is the key to becoming a morning person.
Dive Into the Morning
A mistake that many individuals make in the morning is making it unproductive. By waking up in the morning, showering, getting dressed, and having a quick to-go breakfast, you aren’t relishing in all that the morning has to offer for you. Instead, dive into the morning by looking at the to-do list you creating the night before. Catch up on the day’s news, knock out a couple of emails, and leave home with the feeling that you aren’t about to start your day, but that you have already started your day.
Natural Light is Best
Making use of natural light is a great way to aid in becoming a morning person. It allows you to feel more awake rather than simply waking up in darkness. Light is proven to treat disorders including Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because light is considered a mood booster. The main hindrance to a successful morning is mood and by opening up the windows the night before, using light colored sheets, reducing the use of lamps, and ensuring that the room is airy and not stuffy. This also opens up your brain and wakes it up from hours of slumber.
Tailor Your Diet
What you put into your body directly affects how you will feel about the rest of the day. If you start your morning with sluggish food, you will have a sluggish day. I used to never eat breakfast, except on weekends. However, your morning is important to the start of the day, and some cultures even take it on as an important sit-down meal. There are certain foods that can put your day on the right track, including:
- Grains: Including grains, like oatmeal and flax seed, is a great way to get your fill of potassium and heart-healthy foods. You can incorporate oatmeal with fruits, eat it in the form of a car, or mix it in with the other breakfast foods we will mention. Flax seed can also be added into a smoothie for your finer intake.
- Yogurt: If you find that simply drinking milk is unsatisfying, and having it with your cereal is just not fun, then get your fill of calcium through yogurt. As mentioned before, you can enjoy it with fruit, honey, or nuts. Greek yogurt specifically comes with protein needed for a hearty morning.
- Fruits: Fruits like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, kiwis, and raspberries all can satisfy your morning sweet tooth naturally, instead of grabbing the syrup or sugar filled breakfast buns. Many fruits come with natural vitamins. Some may also recommend grapefruit due to the antioxidants packed in it, however I would stay away if you take a morning supplement or medication due to interference.
- Protein and Carbs: Grain cereals and breads can also be great additions to your breakfast a few times a week, either through toast or a small pastry here and there. These are fiber and nutrients that stick with you until lunch, preventing you from wanting to grab a mid-morning snack. On bread less days, grab meat (including turkey bacon or turkey sausage) instead. If you are vegetarian or vegan, avocados, lentils, apples, and blueberries all are protein packed.
- Drinks: Coffee can still come with it’s health benefits, including lowering health risks and boosting antioxidants, when enjoyed moderately. If you set a limit to finish your cup of joe before noon, you won’t be jittery before bed. If you want to skip coffee, opt for tea. If you want to remove caffeine all together, a fruit filled smoothie is a nice morning treat. If you’re in a rush and can’t make a smoothie, go for cranberry juice to boost antioxidant intake.
Understand the Purpose of Your Bed
When you find yourself getting work done in bed, and waking up to immediately check emails or work in your bed, you will find that your body will forget what the bed is only made for. Aside from sleep and sexual intercourse, you shouldn’t find yourself doing anything else in bed. By restricting your bed to those two acts, you will find that when you hit the sheets, your brain will gradually get into the bedtime mode and you will fall asleep faster. Put your phone on do not disturb if you have to and set your alarm. Out of sight, out of mind.
Utilize That Gym Membership
If you find that you aren’t making use of the gym membership you signed up for, use this as an excuse to incorporate the gym into your morning routine. A 30-45 minute daily workout in the morning, low-to-mid pace, can get your body moving and ready for the day. Look through your job and see if they offer gym membership discounts or partnerships. If your company as a gym, utilize it. If not and you’re looking to save money, a low pace walk around the neighborhood or treadmill in the morning can get you in the morning spirit.
Make the Morning About You
All in all, the key to becoming a morning person is to make the morning about you. When you get started on your task list, even if it includes tasks for other people, you are making the morning about yourself by feeling accomplished. When you eat a healthy breakfast, go to the gym, get eight hours of sleep every night, you are making an investment in yourself for a successful morning and a healthy life. Various successful people make their morning the most productive part of their day, why shouldn’t you?
Let us know in the comments below how you are hacking your morning to make you a morning person.
Featured photo credit: HavingTime via havingtime.com