A few years ago, there was no way you could drag me out of bed before 9am. No way. Not gonna happen. I cherished my sleep, and thought that anyone who got up before 8am on a Saturday was crazy. My regular bedtime was 2am, and there was no way I could ever fall asleep a few hours prior to that without lying in bed wide-eyed. I liked the way I lived my life and I didn’t want to change it.
Suddenly, something happened that caused me to change my lifestyle. During college, I was hired by the YMCA doing Surround Care for elementary children. My job was to watch over the kids whose parents had to leave for work earlier than school started, taking care of them in the early mornings before school started and after. Thus, to make it to work on time for 6am, I had to wake up at 5:00. I dread waking up early so much, it churned my stomach. I thought that I would always be tired and wouldn’t have a life. Little did I know, this job helped me form life-changing lifestyle habits.
Becoming a morning person changed my life. I feel that as a person, I am more holistic, have a better outlook on life, and am more productive. There is just something about getting up with the rising sun while most people are sleeping, and feeling content about it. I found that I was able to get most of my work done in the morning when there were fewer distractions. In addition, my energy levels were high and I felt positive; ready to take on any challenge that my day threw at me.
If you are looking to become a morning person, let me help you. I truly believe that anybody can make a few simple changes and become an early bird. I geared this post towards a person who is not a morning person by any means, and is looking to take some small steps that will guide them in the right direction.
Prepping yourself to be a morning person
Step 1: Changing your bed time
Bear with me on this one. I’m not asking you to go to bed 3 hours earlier than you normally do. If you normally don’t fall asleep until 1am, it would be very difficult for your body to adjust if you suddenly rolled into bed at 9am. The first week that you plan on changing your routine, go to bed half an hour earlier than you normally do. The second week, increase it to an hour. The third week, increase your time by another 15 minutes, so you hit the sack an hour and 15 minutes earlier than you did the first week. Start with small, simple changes. It takes 30 days to make a habit. You definitely won’t be able to fall asleep early if you try to go to bed hours earlier in the first week. Give your body time to adjust to your sleep schedule. Gear it each week for what works for you. If you think you can increase your time by another hour by the 4th week, go for it.
Step 2: Establish a bedtime routine
You may struggle with falling asleep the first few weeks while your body adjusts. It’s extremely important to establish a routine to tell your body, “It’s time to quiet down.” Here are some helpful ways to stimulate sleep:
- Put the phone away an hour before you plan on falling asleep
- Turn the TV off- it stimulates your brain.
- Read for 30 minutes
- Do not exercise within 3 hours of when you plan on falling asleep
- Drink some non-caffeinated tea
- Write in a journal (handwrite- don’t use a computer!) One of my favorite journals is this adorable Lollipop Tree Journal
- Listen to soothing music
It’s really important to stick with your routine! It’s hard to become a morning person if you wake up feeling like a zombie. Keeping the same routine every night will eventually become habitual and will calm your brain.
Tackling the morning
Step 3: Learn to get up to your alarm…the FIRST time it goes off
I know, this can be a tricky one. I have been known to set 8 different alarms and hit snooze on all of them! It can be extremely hard getting up to an alarm that says 5:30 or 6:00 if you are not used to it. One thing that has helped me get up on days when I’m not feeling like sticking to my routine is setting my phone (with my alarm clock) across the room. This way, I am making sure that I am sticking to my sleep schedule. Sidenote: Once you get up and walk across the room to turn off your alarm, don’t crawl back in bed!!
Step 4: Exercise
You don’t have to exercise in the morning if it’s not your thing, but studies have proven that exercising in the AM is one of the most effective ways to wake your brain up. In addition, those endorphins will give you a jumpstart to your day. After a morning workout I always feel refreshed, happy, and ready to tackle my day.
Step 5: Establish a morning routine
Just like setting a bedtime routine, making a morning routine is equally important. Give your morning routine plenty of time! Nothing is worse than running out of the door feeling rushed. I hate those days where I am running late and leave my house forgetting my coffee and my papers, with my hair still wet. Giving yourself as much time as you need to wake up, get ready, and prepare for your day. Here are some effective tips for a healthy morning routine:
- Read when you wake up
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Make some coffee
- Listen to music
In addition, you can jumpstart your day with these tips.
Step 6: Wake up early on the weekend
Now that you are actually getting used to your routines, it’s important to stick with them! Nothing will screw you up more than getting up at noon on a Saturday. I know weekends are tough, especially when you may have so much going on and are staying out late, but try as hard as you can to get up at a reasonable hour on Saturday and Sunday. It doesn’t have to be as early as you get up during the week. For example, I usually get up at 5:30 or 6am on weekdays, but on weekends I sleep in until 7. This way, I am allowing myself to sleep in, but am also not screwing up my sleep schedule so much.
Step 7: Be motivated
It’s hard to get up in the morning when you don’t have a reason to get up! Get motivated and find your passion. Be excited to get up and live your life. Otherwise, getting up can be a huge struggle.
Do you struggle with early mornings? Do you have any other tips to add? Leave me a comment below!
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