How to Make Yourself a Morning Person (Even If You’re Not Naturally One)

There’s no getting around it: Being a night owl in today’s society kind of sucks. But even if you’re naturally at your most productive later on in the day, there are still measures you can take to make yourself into a morning person — or at least, to make yourself into a little more of a morning person than you are now. And, as Fast Company’s “7 Ways to Survive as a Night Owl in a World Built for Morning People” video demonstrates, they’re not even that difficult to pull off. Need a few pointers? This one’s for you!

Technically speaking, no one is naturally a morning person; research has shown that we’re not really meant to sleep for eight straight hours, then perform as a functioning member of society for the other 16. In the early ‘90s, a study conducted by psychiatrist Thomas Wehr showed that, when left to our own devices, we tend to sleep for four hours, wake up for an hour or two, then fall back asleep for another four hours. According to historian Richard Ekirch and his 2001 book At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, humans followed this pattern for centuries; it was only during the late 1600s that it started to change. By the 1920s, the idea of a first and second sleep had vanished completely, likely due to improvements in lighting and the popularity of late-night coffee houses.

Some people have a little more difficulty adjusting to a morning schedule than others, though — so here’s how to do it. I find these four tips to be the most useful, but scroll down to watch the video for all seven. Oh, and while you’re at it, Life by DailyBurn has an enormously helpful list of 19 more things you can do to become a morning person — check it out and get cracking!

1. Make a Schedule — and Stick to It

The “stick to it” part is probably the most important thing here. You can train yourself to make a habit of going to bed at roughly the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.

2. Streamline Your Morning Routine

Less to do when you wake up equals more time to sleep.

3. Try to Adjust Your Work Schedule

This one might be a longshot for some, but hey, it’s worth a shot, right?

4. Don’t Expect It to Happen Over Night

No need to go cold turkey. Adjusting gradually will give your system much less of a shock.

Watch the whole video here:

Images: cdw9/Flickr; Fast Company (4)