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It is acceptable to not be a morning person, but gradually shifting your sleep-wake times, being strategic with light exposure, and enhancing your sleep hygiene can help.
Perhaps you are one of those people who has a hard time getting up in the morning. Do you constantly hit the snooze button and find yourself struggling to make it through the day? If so, becoming a morning person is a great way to start the day on the right foot.
There is often a lot of debate in the productivity/entrepreneur scene as to whether it is better to be a morning person or a night person. Invariably, most successful entrepreneurs often mention how their day starts at 4 am or 5 am… or some other unearthly hour.
It is almost as if waking up before the cock crows is a prerequisite for success.
There are people who work into the wee hours of the night who are just as successful. You just do not hear much from them, probably because they are still sleeping.
But all levity aside, your productivity and output are determined by the focused effort you put into the hours when you are working (regardless if it’s day or night) and NOT some magical wake-up hour.
Definition of A Morning Person
Morning people are those who rise from sleep easily and are most productive and/or active in the mornings. If you’re a morning person, your brain is most alert in the morning, and you’re generally quite adept at harnessing this energy and focus to get tasks, work and chores done.
Benefits of Being a Morning Person
Creating space for yourself first thing in the morning can help you be more proactive than reactive. You can get a head start on the day and reduce the sense of urgency you experience throughout the day in the morning, which improves your mental health in general.
Your sleep quality also improves. One of the long-term benefits of waking up early is developing the ability to go to sleep early as well. Here are 7 more benefits of becoming a morning person.
- You Increase Your Productivity.
- You Develop Self-Discipline.
- You Feel More Energized
- You Feel A Sense Of Satisfaction
- You Thrive In A Distraction-Free Environment
- You Have More Family Time
- You Stay Ahead of The World
Forget The Old Narrative
You may notice that people who have no problems waking early will often struggle to stay awake late into the night. By 10 pm, their eyelids will feel heavy like lead. Next thing you know, they are off to bed and snoozing like babies.
These larks will then wake up early the next day and brag about how they started their morning success rituals while the world was sleeping.
On the other hand, the night owls have no problem working late into the night well past 2 am… with many working until 4 or even 5 am before they hit the sack. They will then sleep till 11 am or noon.
Despite the late risers working late into the night (while the world was sleeping too), they still get a bad rep because society has been led to believe that one needs to be up at the crack of dawn to be successful in life.
But if you stopped to think about it, there are many unsuccessful people who wake up in the wee hours of the morning as they drag themselves to work. They hate their jobs and are stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck struggle while they moan about a lack of work-life balance.
So, one’s waking time does not necessarily determine his/her success. It is your actions that matter.
Why Do Late Risers Struggle to Wake Up Early?
It is in their genes. This is not a cop-out or an excuse. It is science.
When you are born, your chronotype and circadian rhythm will determine if you function best early in the day… or if you find your groove later in the day.
This means that if you have an early chronotype, you will wake up earlier feeling fresh and ready to conquer the world, but you’ll also go to bed earlier.
The reverse holds true for late risers who may wake up at 11 am but start shining and thriving as the hours get later and the sky gets darker.
You can adjust your circadian rhythm and gradually try to become an early riser with effort.
However, this will be a continuous work in progress and one that you will need to vigilantly maintain. If you do not work at it, you’ll slide back into your old sleeping patterns because they’re genetically ‘hard coded’ into you. It is who you are.
Why Do I Want to Be an Early Riser?
It is imperative that you ask yourself this question before trying to wake up at 5am (or earlier) daily. You are not in the military. No one is forcing reveille upon you to jolt you awake.
You must know why you are doing it.
If you are busy throughout the day because of work and family commitments, and you’d like an hour or two of quiet time in the morning to do your work – that’s a good enough reason to try waking early.
Even if you are a late riser, you may find that by the end of the day, you’re too tired to do any productive work. In this scenario, even if you are sleeping late, you are not doing any meaningful work at night. Netflix binges are consuming your late nights.
In situations like these, waking early will have a positive impact on your life.
However, if you are a late riser and a dynamic individual who has no problems being productive and doing outstanding work in the middle of the night – why would you want to be an early riser?
Just because CEOs and self-improvement gurus espouse the virtues of waking up early does not necessarily mean they are right.
You need to do what works for you. If working late and sleeping late work in your best interests, stick to it.
It is never a good idea to jump on the bandwagon and follow the masses just because they are chanting the same slogans.
It is crucial to know what times during the day (or night) you perform best and do your work during those times.
Of course, this applies to self-employed individuals who have the freedom to decide their hours. If you have a day job, you are usually bound by the working hours stipulated by the company and may have no choice but to wake up early.
10 Tips to Become a Morning Person
Waking up at dawn is a powerful weapon everyone has access to, yet many refuse to take advantage of it. We’ve all heard the saying “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” But for those of us who are not morning people, the idea of becoming one seems like an impossible task.
So, are you ready to learn how to become a morning person, wake up earlier, and still feel refreshed during the day? Here are 10 tips to help you get started:
Pay Up Your Sleep Debt
It is alarming to know just how many people are sleep deprived. Before becoming a morning person, you will want to spend 2-3 days sleeping as much as possible. Try going to bed earlier and waking up without an alarm clock.
This will ensure that your body gets all the sleep it has been deprived of. When it is fully rested, you’ll be able to start with a ‘clean slate.’
Start With Small Changes
Since it will be a struggle for most late risers to wake up early, the best way to go about it will be to take the slow and steady approach.
Hey, do not try to become a morning person overnight. Start with small changes, like setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day. For example, if you are used to waking at 11 am, aim to wake up at 10.45 am. Do this for 3 days so that your body gets used to waking up at this time.
After 3 days, wake up 15 minutes earlier (at 10.30 am). Once again, do this for 3 days and repeat the process until you reach the specific time you wish to wake up daily.
Do Note: You will need to go to bed 15 minutes earlier too. So, change your bedtime correspondingly.
Develop A Night-Time Routine
Make sure you have everything you need for the next day ready the night before, so you are not scrambling in the morning.
This is one of the most important rules for establishing a consistent sleep pattern. Do not go to bed later than normal and wake up any time you want on weekends.
You will want to have the same sleep/wake times DAILY. No exception on weekends or public holidays.
Since you are always battling your body’s chronotype, you’ll be making it harder for yourself to become an early riser if you’re not consistent. Structure and routine in your sleep schedule are essential for maintaining it.
Don’t Hit Your Snooze Button
It is normal to feel ‘sleep inertia’ when you wake up in the morning. Some people shake it off faster than others, but millions of people experience grogginess, feeling tired, confused, etc. when they first wake.
Consuming caffeine or taking a cold shower can be useful for increasing your alertness after waking. Do what works for you, but do not keep hitting the snooze button repeatedly. Instead, wake up and give your body time to adjust and become alert.
It takes energy to sleep… and it takes energy to wake up. If you repeatedly go through this process by hitting your snooze button, your sleep will not leave you feeling refreshed – and it will be more difficult to become an early riser.
Be willing to push through sleep inertia.
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Here is the game plan – No Caffeine After 11 am. That cup of coffee might seem like the only thing that will get you out of bed in the morning, but too much caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
Caffeine has a half-life of about five hours. If you consume a cup of coffee at 11 am, by 4 pm, half the caffeine will still be in your body. By 9 pm, very little of it will be left in your system.
This will make it easier for you to sleep at night. Assuming you need 7 hours of sleep a night, if you wish to wake up at 5 am, you will need to sleep at around 9.45 pm (it takes about 15-20 minutes to fall asleep).
So, plan your caffeine intake so that it does not impact your sleeping time adversely. Very often, people tend to focus on their waking time without realizing that the time they go to bed is just as important.
Schedule Your Meal Times
Ideally, you should have dinner about 2-3 hours before bedtime. You do not want to go to bed with a full stomach. The process of digestion requires energy.
If you are digesting food while sleeping, your body’s resources will be utilized for that process instead of healing and repairing your body. It is difficult to wake up feeling rested when your body is working half the night.
Exercise in The Mornings
It is best to exercise early in the day. A morning workout will give you an energy boost and help you feel more alert throughout the day. This will not only help to power up your metabolism, but you will be less likely to procrastinate the activity.
There are a multitude of benefits that are accrued from exercise, but in this scenario, exercise will tire your body out – which is exactly what you want.
When you reach the end of the day, your body will be depleted of energy and sleep will come much more readily.
This is the reason why soldiers in the military can fall asleep in seconds. Their bodies are tired from physical exertion and long for rest.
Put The Electronics Away
Simply avoid screens 2 hours before bedtime. A lot of the tips in this article are about helping you sleep easily at an earlier time. If you can fall asleep earlier, you will wake up earlier.
One of the best ways to wind down towards the end of the day will be to avoid using your mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc. 1-2 hours before bed. These devices emit blue light which blocks melatonin in your body. This will make it more difficult for you to fall asleep, and stay asleep.
Use A Sunrise Alarm Clock
This invention is sheer genius and has been proven to work for thousands of people across the globe. A sunrise alarm clock will emit a natural orangish-yellow glow (that simulates sunlight) at a preset time to wake your body up gradually and gently.
It uses light strategically to prevent sleep inertia. Even if you are waking up at 5 am before the sun is up, these clocks can be set to create a sunrise simulation to ensure your waking process is not jarring.
There are many sunrise clock models available for sale online. Depending on your budget, you can get one that can be controlled with an app. Or a sunrise clock that plays music, etc.
Do your research and find one that suits your needs.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
The strategy here is to make your bedroom conducive to sleep. Besides the 9 tips mentioned above, there are a few other sleep hygiene pointers to abide by:
- Sleep in a cool room
- Make sure your bedroom is dark
- Avoid working in your bedroom (it is reserved for sleep)
- Do not consume alcohol before bedtime
- Make sure your bed and pillow are comfortable and support your body well
- Avoid napping during the day
How To Make It Happen?
Getting up early is certainly one of the routines successful people have in common. Most late risers can get used to waking up early. It is just a matter of being consistent and gradual in your approach.
Ultimately, you must know why you are doing it and be aware that you will always be fighting your ‘internal clock.’
Make sure the juice is worth the squeeze and that waking early will significantly improve your life before you get started.
The early birds may get the worms, but the night owls can be wise and successful too!