Just like our current catastrophic political system, there seems to be a divide amongst people who are either early risers or night owls. For instance, morning people prefer to wake up with the sun to jumpstart their day and night owls desire to stay up late to burn the midnight oil. While there's no right or wrong way of living, most people tend to strive to change their everyday habits so they can wake up a few hours earlier to be more productive... or, you know, so they can enjoy a few drinks once happy hour arrives.
But what exactly makes a morning person more productive? Well, according to clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly, morning people have very unique routines.
"Morning people are often very task-oriented. As a result, morning people often have unique routines scheduled to accommodate their personal needs. For example, a 'morning person' father might tailor his first hour of the day to meet his exercise needs, read the newspaper, and then prepare his 'to-do' list before heading off to work. A 'morning person' mother may rise early to enjoy the first hour with her spouse before the children awake; before leaving for work, her routine may involve breakfast with her husband, quiet meditation time, and a brief yoga routine," continues Dr. Manly in an interview with Bustle over email.
So if you want to become a morning person to be more productive, there are a few habits you can adapt to help. Here are nine surprising habits morning people have in common.
1They Have A Large Breakfast
Forgo the protein bars and smoothies, because if you want to be considered an early riser, your first meal of the day needs to be nutritious. "[Morning people have] a balanced breakfast that is often a larger meal than lunch," says Manly.
2They Accomplish The Hardest Task First
When morning people prioritize their day, they usually make sure to accomplish the hardest task first. Waiting until the last minute to complete tough tasks could induce unnecessary stress into their lives. "[Morning people have] a daily 'to-do' list that is weighted toward accomplishing more difficult tasks earlier in the day when energy and productivity are at their highest levels," says Manly.
3They Enjoy A Quiet Early Morning Moment
"[Morning people have] a tendency to enjoy a quiet, reflective space in the morning before others wake," says Manly. Before they start their workday, morning people tend to reflect and meditate. These habits allow early risers to be more mindful so they can deal with stress and accomplish more throughout the day.
4They Avoid Heavy Late-Night Meals
"[Morning] people tend to avoid heavy late-night meals or snacking, as eating late in the evening may also interfere with sleep," says Manly. Ever had a tasty chocolate cake at 11 p.m. and immediately regretted it, because it affected your sleep? Rather than satisfying their sweet tooth with refined sugars, morning people tend to eat snacks like dark chocolate or fruits to fulfill their late-night cravings.
5They Have A Nighttime Routine
While scrolling through Instagram or catching up on work right before you go to bed sounds perfectly normal, doing these habits can actually disrupt your sleep because you're not allowing your body to decompress. "[Morning] people tend to have a 'decompression' time in the early evening. Whether they prepare an outline for the following day, meditate, or take a gentle walk; 'decompression' time facilitates relaxation and healthy sleep," says Manly.
6They Check Their Emails Before Heading Into The Office
Ever felt a wave of anxiety the minute you stepped into your office because your inbox was flooded with new emails? Keep your stress in check by waking up earlier and checking your emails in the comfort of your own home while you enjoy a cup of joe. "[Morning people] check their emails before heading into the office, so they’re not bombarded with nonsense and can prioritize their tasks," says founder & nutritionist NAO Nutrition Nikki Ostrower over the phone with Bustle.
7They Create Lists
To-do lists are usually a morning person's best friend. No matter what kind of medium they decide to use (i.e. pen and paper, bullet journals, etc), they make sure to write their intentions for the day before they do anything else. "Some [morning people] like to use electronics, use emails, or write it in a Moleskins, but the point is that they’re doing it," says Ostrower about surprising habits morning people have in common.
8They Avoid Using Electronics At Night
"Morning people often avoid late evening use of television, computers, etc., as evening use of electronic devices is known to disrupt healthy sleep patterns," says Manly. As tempting as it may be to finish up a Netflix series or watch another puppy video before you head to bed, morning people tend to leave their electronics out of their bedroom so they can try to get a full night's rest.
9They Have Morning Family Time
Want to begin your day on a positive note? Do as the morning people do by hanging out with loved ones before you head into work. Schedule a breakfast date with your bestie or have coffee with your SO. The more you surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you, the better. "Whether they’re playing with their children or making a healthy breakfast and enjoying their meal together," says Ostrower about surprising habits morning people have in common.
While waking up at six in the morning isn't for everyone, morning people prefer this lifestyle because they can hang out with people they care about and set their intentions for the day. Give these habits a go if you want to become a morning person, or, you know, wake up at 10 a.m. because that sounds just as nice. #nojudgment.