Most of my life I’ve never really been a morning person—just ask my mom… really. When I grew older, I really wanted to be someone who could get up with the sun and tackle whatever challenges the morning might throw my way. But, in all honesty, I just love my sleep.
However, that came to an abrupt halt when I started my first “real job” out of Nuclear Medicine school. Suddenly thrust into a world of 4:30am wakeups that I was just not accustomed to. Fortunately, my body adjusted with time… and the help of a lot of coffee.
Then after moving and not working for a while, I fell back into my old, wonderful, sleeping-in habits. Over the years, I've traded on-and-off periods of waking up super early to get things done (mainly my workout) and also sleeping in and honestly, I still really like being an early morning person.
Luckily, with two kids in the house it's not that hard to motivate myself to get up so I can get things done before they wake up. It's just so much easier without all the distractions. Getting up early has also allowed me to take better advantage of the daylight hours (which means more time spent outdoors with the kiddos and hubby) and makes me just feel more productive.
Plus, studies show that early risers may be healthier, happier, and even slimmer than those who sleep in. So today I wanted to share a few of the tricks I’ve learned for helping keep up with my early morning routine.
Move your alarm clock off of your nightstand
If you are forced to get out of bed to turn off your alarm, you’ll be less likely to crawl back under the covers. I suggest setting your alarm clock or phone as far from your bed as possible. Once you turn it off, take a minute to stretch and ease your entire body into an active state.
Beware of the snooze button black hole
Confession: There used to be mornings where I would press snooze every 10 minutes for an hour straight. No lie. And every time it would happen, I would end up feeling doubly frustrated with myself when I realized that I could have just set my alarm for later and gotten a solid hour of sleep instead of a disrupted one. If you can really only press snooze just once, go for it, but otherwise I say avoid it altogether. Be realistic with yourself about what time you’re going to get up, and then stick with the plan.
Let the light shine in
I used to draw my blackout shades every night to allow myself to sleep in past the sunrise, and I still have to some days when the hubby has worked a late or overnight shift. However, if that is not the case for you, then realize that the morning light is telling your body it’s time to get up and it makes sense to just go with it. Our brains are naturally very sensitive to light and temperature, which means you won’t sleep as well after a certain time of morning. Tricking your body into thinking it’s still nighttime may actually be disruptive to your natural sleep cycle.
After a full night’s sleep, you’ve gone several hours without hydrating, which can lead to fatigue. So starting your morning with a nice tall glass of water, lemon water, or herbal tea makes for more than just a pleasant morning ritual. I swear by drinking a big glass of water before each meal (including breakfast) and even before my morning coffee to make sure I am staying hydrated throughout the day.
Have a morning ritual
The best way to transform yourself into a morning person is to make mornings something you look forward to instead of dread. When I used to wake up late and have to rush to make it out the door on time, there was nothing to like about mornings and I always felt late for the rest of the day. Now, I have enough time to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and get 75% of my work to-do list done before the babies wake up. Which then leads to me having more time away from work to just spend with them.
Get a head start
Having some time to relax in the morning is great, but it can feel just as amazing to start your day off on a productive note. When I manage to sort through my entire email inbox or log in a workout before 9am, I feel so accomplished and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. Even better, it usually means that I’m able to end my workday a little earlier.
Keep it up
Once you get into the habit of waking up early, try not to break the streak. Obviously it’s OK to give yourself a little bit of a break on the weekend, but if you end up sleeping in until noon it will be much harder to get back into your good habits come Monday. Motivate yourself by signing up for a Saturday morning workout class or making plans with a friend for an early-ish Sunday brunch. Sunday brunches are the best!
I hope those tips help! And it goes without saying that if you are going to be waking up earlier, you should also start going to bed earlier too. But I find that if I wake up early for even just a couple days in a row, my body naturally wants to turn in earlier in order to get the sleep it needs.