Ever wonder why you’re able to stay up until 2 am, while your best friend can's make it until 10 pm? It has everything to do with your internal clock, says Tracey Marks, M.D., an Atlanta-based psychiatrist and author of Master Your Sleep: Proven Methods Simplified. “Most people’s internal clock has 24 hrs, but if it’s a little longer, then you will be pulled in the direction of not feeling tired until later and later each evening.” Don’t fret night owl—it is possible to train yourself to be more alert in the mornings than in the evenings. Here’s how.
1) Slash an Hour From Your Day
If you want to wake up earlier, trim down those evening obligations, says Dr. Marks. We know what you're thinking: How can I not overextend myself? “We typically overestimate how much available time we have and take on projects that we have no business committing to,” says Dr. Marks. “For the sake of decompressing your day, assume you have one less hour in the evenings (to be set aside for a wind down period) and say no to things that infringe on that time.” Sorry, Saturday Night Live.
2) Reward Yourself
Yes! You did it! You didn’t hit the snooze button! “Once up, take advantage of the extra time you’ve given yourself to build in a few minutes of a ‘reward’,” says psychologist Patricia Adson, author of A Princess and Her Garden. Read a favorite newspaper or blog column, listen to a few minutes of calming music, do an exercise routine, or meditate. Even having time for an extra cup of coffee or not having to race out the door can be a reward. Select something that means something to you, says Adson. “Later, notice how you feel about yourself when you have given yourself the time to get a good start on the day.”
3) Know your WHY Power
No matter how bad you want to become a morning person, if you don't have a strong enough reason to wake up early, you won't do it. I want you to really dig deep and think about all the reasons WHY you want to become a morning person. Is it because you want to be able to accomplish more tasks? Is it because you want to have some quiet time in the morning to yourself? Or is it because you want to be able to have a more relaxed start to your day without having to rush? No matter what your reason is, make sure it's a strong one. My reason for wanting to wake up early is so that I can have mornings that are peaceful, nourishing, and productive. Whats yours?
We're wired (via circadian rhythms/our internal 24-hour clock) to have peak alertness around mid-morning, says Dr. Marks. “Early morning exercise can help boost the morning energy surge, as you will have elevated body temperature and elevated adrenalin levels for several hours after you exercise.” Need an extra incentive? Research has shown that exercising before breakfast burns more fat calories and results in more weight loss than exercising after breakfast, says Burr Leonard, founder of The Bar Method.
If you find that this task is a bit too much, take small steps. Start by having your morning coffee or tea outside on your backyard. Try taking a 5 minute walk around your neighborhood. And slowly increase the number of minutes everyday.
5) Take it Slow & Steady
Waking up 2 to 3 hours everyday is a daunting task, so lets take it slow and steady. Set your alarm for just 15 minutes earlier for an entire week. The next week, set your alarm for another 15 minutes earlier and so on. Within 2 to 3 months you will be waking up 2 to 3 hours earlier without having to force yourself out of bed.
6) Literally Get Your Butt Out of Bed
This one might be a bit tough, but trust me when I say it works miracles. Set your alarm and put it either in your bathroom, kitchen, living room, it doesn't matter as long as it isn't by your nightstand. Forcing yourself to get out of bed in the morning is a must if you want to become a morning person. If you don't want to do this, download the app 'Alarmy'. This will literally change your life. Alarmy is an alarm for your phone, but the way to dis-alarm the sound is by either by taking a picture of any object (exp. coffee machine/bathroom sink), solving a math problem, or aggressively shaking your phone. I've been using this app for years and this has seriously been the main reason why I have been able to get out of bed at 5am everyday.
And another thing, don't dilly dally. Only give yourself 5 seconds to get out of bed. The longer you stay there, the harder it will be to get up. Also, after 5 seconds your brain literally creates reasons why you shouldn't get out of bed. To beat your brain to the punch, only give yourself this short time frame so that way you don't even have to think about it. Just do it.
7) Start Your Morning Routine the Night Before
Whenever I fail to wake up early, I noticed that it usually follows having a failed night routine before. And it makes sense. If you have a late night with friends having drinks or stay up late binge watching your favorite 'Friends' episodes on Netflix, can you really expect to wake up at 5am feeling refreshed? The answer is most likely not. Your mornings start the night before. Try doing the following in your evenings before bed to help you start your morning with success:
Becoming a morning person will require discipline, but it is absolutely worth it! My life has completely changed and I know it will for your too.
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