Growing up, I lived in the belief that I was a night owl and nothing would ever change that. I spent my high school nights up into the early hours of the morning, either reading a good book or binge-watching a TV show.
When I entered my freshman year of college I finally started to feel the ramifications of my habits. I was tired 24/7, didn’t have the ability to focus for very long, and found myself eating at really odd times.
A professor suggested that I started going to bed earlier and I was, at first, amazed. How could I alter my schedule? I was a night-owl, it’s just how I was made, I thought.
After quite a bit of reading and research, I realized that it was possible to switch around my habits and a few months later I was feeling better, well-rested, and waking up with the sunrise.
One of my favorite quotes that motivated me to try to become a morning person is by John C. Maxwell. He wrote, “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
If you are struggling to become a morning person, here are a few practices that will get you excited for a morning routine.
1. Set intentions
Setting intentions is a good way to get into a positive mindset when it comes to waking up early. Ask yourself the following questions: Why do you want to wake up earlier? By waking up early, what can you do more of or add to your day? More productivity? Better health? Increased focus?
2. Create a routine
As someone who used to dread mornings, I can tell you the one thing that really revolutionized my mindset was looking forward to my routine. I encourage you to set up a routine that will help motivate you to wake up.
For me, I look forward to making my coffee and doing devotionals every morning. It sets my morning off on the right foot and motivates me to start my day. These routines will look differently for everyone but some suggestions I have include:
- Reading your Bible and doing devotionals
- Making a delicious cup of tea or coffee
- Waking up and exercising, whether this is stretching in your room or hitting a morning spin class, it’s a great way to wake up
- Making a tasty breakfast
- Going for a walk
- Reading or watching a show you love while getting ready
What do you like to start your day with?
3. Set up barriers
This might sound counterintuitive, but after setting up a routine of what you want to do each morning, it’s important to set a list of things you will not do. This helps you avoid getting sucked into a task that might drain you before the day even starts!
Some barriers that you might need to set up:
- Not waking up and immediately going on social media
- Setting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode so you’re not flooded with notifications first thing in the morning
- Picking out your clothing the night before so you don’t get stuck in the “I don’t have anything to wear” dilemma
4. Stop hitting the snooze button
Hitting snooze can be a tricky habit to get out of. For years I would purposely set my alarm early so that I could hit snooze a few times before I had to leave for school, and I had no idea that it was actually harming my body!
According to Reena Mehra, M.D., M.S., Director of Sleep Disorders Research at Cleveland Clinic, hitting snooze is worse for your body then getting those extra minutes of sleep.
“Much of the latter part of our sleep cycle is comprised of REM sleep, or dream sleep, which is a restorative sleep state,” she explained. “And so, if you’re hitting the snooze button, then you’re disrupting that REM sleep or dream sleep.”
“We have so much going on, and in this day and age with technology, and phones, and TVs in the bedroom contributing to light at night, combined with work and family obligations, the time we spend asleep often gets short-changed,” she said. “Prioritizing 7-8 hours of sleep for our overall well-being and health is very important, so that we can optimize functioning during the day and have healthy relationships with our loved ones,” she added.
Are you more of a morning person or a night owl? What habits can you add to your morning routine that will help mornings become better for you?