Becoming a morning person has more benefits than just seeing the sunrise. It gives you a strong sense of self-discipline, a feeling of accomplishment, and an ability to enjoy the evening with ease. Going to the gym in the morning helps create healthy habits and being productive before noon helps relieve any afternoon stress. It's hard to not enjoy the morning when you are looking at a new day with a new opportunity.
Oh, and did I mention those sunrises? More breathtaking than a sunset.
If I still haven't convinced you to become a morning person, then I recommend you read up on our country's elite. They aren't lazy. Apple CEO Tim Cook starts his day well before the sun rises (good morning 3:45 AM), while first Lady Michelle Obama is said to rise and shine to get her morning fitness routine in by 5:30 AM. This list goes on and on. It includes Jennifer Aniston, Tony Robbins, Michelle Gass (of course the Starbucks president would be up by 4:30 AM)... Jeff Jordan (the head of PayPal) and I think you get the point. Although 3:45 AM may be pushing it for some (or most), there is A LOT to be said for getting up early.
Because yes, just like our cell phones and laptops, we do run out of energy before the day is over!
SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN FAVOR OF DAYLIGHT
Aside from my own first-hand experience that being an early riser has presented, there are also some scientific correlations between utilizing daylight to control our biological “master” clock. Like with most living creatures on this earth, these rhythms are highly dictated by light detection. This is essentially why we sleep tend to sleep when it's dark and are up when there is light (at least most of us - overall). Some of this information suggests that by assuring our clock is correlated with daylight, our biological functions work more efficiently. Simply put, the way our body responds to light levels can influence our health. However, it is also important to note that this isn’t a one size fits all prescription and that science and evidence can suggest a lot of things… some beneficial and some not.
With that said, if you are struggling with improving your lifestyle, increasing energy levels, or developing a fitness program you can actually stick to, perhaps you will find a great benefit from adjusting your daily routine to the morning.
Below are 5 tips to help you on your way to ruling the morning!
Tip #1: MOVE THAT ALARM CLOCK
Move it far enough from your bed that you are forced to walk to shut it off. But obviously, keep it close enough to hear it. If I leave the alarm next to the bed, it is almost a guarantee that I will hit the snooze button. When you distance yourself from your clock, you allow yourself time to become awake, put yourself multiple steps closer to that cup of coffee, and haven’t given yourself any time to contemplate going back to bed. There might be 60 seconds of shock as you rise out of bed, but I promise you won't regret it.
This is the number one trick I use to get up in time to go to the gym. My phone is far from my bed, my bag is ready, and so is my caffeine! It makes it so much easier! Which leads us to the next point.
Tip #2: HAVE CAFFEINE EASILY ACCESSIBLE
And I mean have a clean cup ready to go and coffee by the maker (if you own a Keurig, put the cup in the dispenser the night before). If you aren’t into coffee, then I highly recommend trying some tea. If you are heading to the gym, consider a pre-workout. My morning pre-workout drink not only energizes me for my morning workout but also carries over well into the morning of my work (FYI, it has 250 mg of caffeine - which helps). This leads to me becoming more alert, and therefore being more productive at the start of my day. If you are of good health, I truly recommend using some sort of stimulant while developing the early morning habit.
Tip #3: FIND A REASON AND MAKE A PLAN
First, determine your motive. Wanting to get to work early for that promotion? Have your laptop, portfolio, breakfast, and lunch ready (unless you are an intermittent faster like me... but you can read more on that here).
Wanting to work on a side project? Have your inspiration nearby (an article you can read as soon as you wake, or a to do list by your bed).
Wanting to make it to the gym? Set everything out, pack your gear, have all of your clothes ready and a car warmed up if it's winter in the north country (because we all know that there is absolutely nothing more detrimental to your morning than a "frosted over" car at twenty below).
The easier you make it on yourself, the easier it will be.
TIP #4: GET TO BED EARLIER
Be honest with yourself on how much sleep you need. I go to bed at 10:00 PM and wake up around 4:15 AM four days a week, and on the remaining three I’m usually up before 6. Although I will average between 6 and 7 hours of sleep a night, I find that I operate best with less than eight. Sufficient sleep isn’t equivalent to eight hours, that’s simply a silly "guideline". Everyone is different. This means everyone sleeps differently. Anyone can become a morning person if they compensate their late nights with rest. Determine what amount of sleep makes you feel the greatest (and wake up the easiest) and plan your night from there.
Here are a few apps to help you sleep better (all can be found in the App Store or Google Play):
- Sleep Cycle: This awesome app helps you wake during the lightest phase of your sleep cycle, helping prevent a groggy morning.
- Alarmy: The best app to get you moving! This app won't shut off unless you take a picture of something in your house.
- Morning Routine: For those who love block scheduling (read about it here) and priorities, then this app is perfect for you. It has a list of tasks ready for you to do as soon as you wake up.
- I Can't Wake Up: This app is a lot like Alarmy, except it requires you to perform mental tasks before it will go off. Perfect for those who NEED to get the brain ready for the day
- Step Out of Bed!: This awesome app utilizes your phone tracking technology to make sure you get up. It won't go off until you've done a set number of steps (like how many it takes to get to your coffee maker!)
TIP #5: LEARN SELF-DISCIPLINE
It won’t be the first time you have had to force yourself to do something you didn’t feel like doing, and it won’t be the last. Habits take time, and the more frequently you practice getting up the easier it will become.
Try your best to say on schedule. I even recommend waking up earlier than normal on your days off/weekends. This helps develop the habit and will make it easier for the weeks to come.
IT'S WORTH IT
Being productive in the morning is WORTH IT. Getting that workout in before the sunrise means you are less likely to skip it. The more you get done in the morning means the less you have to do at night.
Being a morning person IS possible. It just takes a few little tricks and most importantly, time. All habits develop over time, including this one!