For lots of people, myself included, getting up early is much harder than staying up late. I know how great it feels to get things done before the work day even starts, but that doesn't seem to be enough to motivate me when my alarm is going off and I'm exhausted. Nor is it enough when it's midnight and I still feel like I can knock another assignment out before nodding off.
"There are many benefits to being awake early in the day," Chris Brantner, Certified Sleep Science Coach at SleepZoo.com, tells Bustle. It helps get your body in sync with your natural sleep patterns, which provides many benefits. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a day can lower your chances of heart disease, Alzheimer's, anxiety, and more. Not only that, it can help you get more done during the day, as you're up and ready to go with time to spare. That gives you time to plan out your day, eat right, exercise, and do whatever else you need to get ready to embrace the day. Plus, recent research shows that night owls have a higher risk of all-cause mortality."
So, how do you train yourself to become a morning person? Here are some tips night owls might find useful, according to experts.
1Go To Bed Early
This may seem obvious, but its importance can't be stressed enough. If you stay up late, it's unlikely you'll get up early feeling anywhere near awake. Brantner recommends setting your bedtime eight or at least 7.5 hours before you want to wake up. "Not only does this help you get the right quantity of sleep, but it can also help you wake up at the right time during your sleep cycle," he says. "Should you time things incorrectly and wake up at the wrong point in your sleep cycle, you can experience sleep inertia, which can leave you feeling groggy for up to two hours."
You can use an app like Sleep Cycle to figure out if you're waking up at the right point in a sleep cycle.
2Expose Yourself To Light In The Morning
Open your windows or get outside as soon as you can when you get up, because this signals to your body that it's time to wake up. "This helps reset your circadian rhythm and get you feeling awake sooner," says Brantner.
Becoming a morning person will be easier if it's a means to an end, rather than an end in of itself. "It is best for a change in habits, patterns and behavior to be anchored and based in a more profound journey of personal development and transformation," Caleb Backe, a Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. Toward that end, remind yourself what you can gain from becoming a morning person, whether that's better overall health or an early start on work.
4Plan Something Early
If you have trouble motivating yourself to get up, force yourself to by making early plans. "If you have no good reason to get out of bed, there is a chance you simply won’t — obligations and responsibilities be damned," says Backe. "But if you make a plan (the day before) for the day you want to have, and if you take all things into consideration, there is a better chance you will want to start the day off well and with a good mindset."
5Be Willing To Go Through "Withdrawal"
Teaching yourself to wake up early is not easy. If you quit once it gets tough, you're not going to last long enough to make it a habit. "If you want to change yourself — for whatever reason — this will invariably require you to let go of some other parts of you," says Backe. "Expect withdrawal-like symptoms on some level, because it is hard to change. The best thing you can do is learn to love the symptoms and embrace them, since it means you are doing something which is actually difficult."
6Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day
The more consistent your habits are, the more your body will get used to them. "Going to bed and waking up at the same times each day helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythms, which in turn makes it easier for you to fall asleep and wake up naturally," Martin Rawls-Meehan, CEO of sleep technology company Reverie, tells Bustle. "Try setting a 'sleep alarm' to remind yourself that it’s time to turn in."
7Establish A Bedtime Routine
The quicker you fall asleep, the easier it'll be to wake up in the morning. So, if you're looking to become a morning person, it's important to practice good sleep hygiene. "Having a consistent nighttime routine helps get our bodies in the mindset that it’s time for bed, which makes catching some Zzzs a breeze," Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm’s sleep health expert, tells Bustle. This routine should include unplugging from all electronics, avoiding eating or drinking (especially coffee, alcohol, or hard-to-digest foods) before bed, and setting the temperature to 68 degrees.
Establishing an earlier wakeup may be an uphill battle, but once you're up it, chances are you'll find that it was worth the trudge.