There’s no doubt that society favours the early riser. As the cliché goes, “the early bird catches the worm” – and our often-inflexible working hours mean it’s naturally more challenging for night owls to achieve quite as much as the naturally born morning person. And there’s nothing more frustrating than stumbling out of bed for your morning zoom call, bleary-eyed at 9:01am, to find your chirpy colleague who’s already fit in a workout, a lengthy breakfast, and time to clear their inbox…
But is it possible to train your body to get used to waking up early? And to do so in a way that won’t leave you feeling like a caffeine-dependant zombie by 3 in the afternoon? Here’s our advice:
Exercise First Thing
There’s no doubting the science. Research has shown that even moderately intense exercise can improve your mood for up to 12 hours after exercise, leaving you feeling more awake than if you’d pressed snooze 5 more times. But how can you make it stick? Partly, this is creating a habit, not a question. When as much as a flicker of doubt seeps into your sub-conscious, the pull to turn over and go back to sleep will likely drag be too strong to resist. Try booking into a class to force yourself to honour the commitment or make plans on an evening so you know it’s now or never.
Still can’t get it to stick? Try a 20-minute home workout instead. You might even have time for a relaxing breakfast after you’re done – surely that’s motivation enough!
Having something you’re looking forward to always makes getting out of bed that little bit easier. There’s a reason you rarely snooze through your alarm when you’re off on holiday! Which is why we recommend doing something positive that you enjoy first thing. For some this might be working out, but for others it could be writing in a gratitude journal for 10 minutes, taking the time to properly enjoy a cup of coffee, or even just listening to your favourite podcast. It’s these small things that will make a big difference to your day.
Skip The Snooze
When you’re battling the urge to fall back asleep, vowing to swerve the snooze button is no easy feat. Some suggest changing your alarm to a song or radio channel that you enjoy listening to, so that you are less tempted to turn it off. But our go-to technique is moving your phone away from your bed. If you have to actually get up to turn it off, then you’re more likely to stay up, or at least be awake enough not to drop back to sleep.
Say Goodbye To Screen Time
It’s no secret that our screen addictions is a major player in our current sleep epidemic, with late night Instagram scrolls keeping us awake far longer than we need to be. The blue light emitted from laptops and phones will not only keep your brain alert, meaning it’s harder to drift off, but can also majorly effect your sleep quality too. Try to shut down your devices at least half an hour before bedtime to signal to your body and mind that it’s time to go to sleep.
Go to Sleep
In reality, making yourself a morning person is down to one simple factor; getting enough sleep. You don’t need us to tell you how crucial sleep is, but it’s worth reminding yourself that you can’t expect your body to “just cope” with getting 2 hours less sleep. If you’re adjusting your wake-up time, you need to adjust your bedtime too. So, if you want to become an early riser, rock that 9:30pm bedtime and tomorrow’s alarm will feel so much easier.
But don’t expect change overnight. Like any other habit, it’ll take time to click, but much as it does when you visit different time zones, your body will eventually adjust.