Is your snooze button your best friend? Would you do anything for just five more minutes of sleep in the morning? Are you a terror before you’ve had a cup of coffee? Ok, so you’re not an early riser. But what if want (or need to be)?
It turns out that whether you’re naturally an early riser or a night owl has a lot to do with your DNA. While there’s really not much you can do to change your makeup on a cellular level, but there are some simple changes you can make that will make getting up early much easier.
Here are eight simple changes you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you become an early riser.
1. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
It may seem like a no brainer, but most of us don’t get nearly enough sleep. It’s much easier to get up early after had a solid night’s sleep, and quality is just as important as quantity. Adults should aim for at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
If you have a hard time falling asleep, consider taking a natural sleep supplement about a half-hour before bedtime. Magnesium has been shown to promote better sleep and your body needs it anyway, so it’s definitely a good one to try. It has a calming effect on the body to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.
Taking a warm bath or shower before bed can also be helpful because it causes your body temperature to drop naturally, which tells the body it’s time for sleep. You could also try diffusing calming essential oils in your bedroom, such as lavender or cedar. Meditation and yoga are also wonderful ways to relax and get ready for sleep.
2. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule
The body runs best when you stick to a consistent schedule, and that includes sleep. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day (even on the weekends) is a great way to get the body used to waking up early. Try to go to bed by 10 PM if you’re looking to optimize your sleep schedule for early rising.
3. Invest in Room Darkening Blinds
Does light from the street flood into your bedroom at night? If so, it could be preventing you from sleeping soundly. Your room really should be as dark as possible while sleep, so it’s time to invest in room darkening curtains or blinds.
On the other hand, if outside light isn’t a problem in your bedroom, try leaving your blinds open. The natural rise of the sun’s light will help you wake up in the morning.
4. Turn Off Those Screens
Blue light tells the body it’s time to be awake. In times past, the blue daytime sky was the only source of blue light. Now we’re exposed to blue light from our laptops, tablets, TVs, and phones long after the sun goes down. This stops the pineal gland from producing melatonin, which also prevents you from getting sleepy.
Even if you use a blue light blocker on your screen, scrolling also tricks the brain into staying awake. That’s the exact opposite of what you want if you have to get up early the next morning.
Turn off every source of blue light at least an hour before bedtime and keep other lighting low to help your mind and body get ready for sleep.
5. Wake Up Gradually
Waking up gradually is what nature intended. The sun rises slowly, and that’s what’s best for us too. Jumping out of bed the moment you wake up can cause sleep inertia, also known as that sleepy drunk feeling you often get when you first wake up.
The body and brain are naturally wired to transition gradually from asleep to awake. A great way to achieve this is to toss your loud, blaring alarm clock and go for one that wakes you up slowly with soft music, nature sounds, or you can even get one that simulates sunlight.
6. Stop Hitting That Snooze Button
Yes, we all do it, but hitting that snooze button gives your body a chance to fall back into a deep sleep, making it even harder to wake up. Getting up the first time your alarm goes off trains your body to wake up more quickly and you will likely feel more well-rested throughout the day.
7. Create a Morning Routine You Look Forward To
Maybe you have an awesome playlist you love listening to while you do some stretches. Maybe you enjoy watching nature from your back porch while you drink your coffee. It could even be something as simple as a hot shower or a yummy breakfast.
Whatever works for you, having a morning routine that you look forward to will make getting up early so much easier.
8. Mindset is Key if You Want to Be An Early Riser
This one is probably the most important. If you’re going to bed at night anxious about having to get up early the next morning, you’re triggering your body’s fight or flight response. This releases cortisol and adrenalin, which can interfere with your body’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. The more stressed you are, the more it will interfere with your sleep.
You need to change your mindset but putting your focus on positive things. Try positive affirmations like “I will get the rest I need,” or “My morning will go perfectly.” Focus on the good things and try to keep your mind calm and grounded.
Final Thoughts on Becoming an Early Riser
Whether you’re a natural early riser or a night owl, implementing these simple strategies will make your mornings brighter. Don’t forget, convincing your body to become an early riser actually starts the night before by getting enough quality sleep.