Do you regularly sit there stewing at your desk because your colleague’s run five miles, put the washing on, and food prepped for the week all before they’ve got to work, and you’ve only just managed to scramble out of bed and arrive on time?
We feel you.
Thankfully, there are more than a few ways to shift the sluggish morning struggle. Here are six great ways to finally become a morning person.
1. Map out your day
The easiest way to become a morning person is to map out your day. You don’t have to plan your day down to a tee—we know that can be tricky with many professionals operating on full time, part time, on the road, long commutes etc. But you should at least pencil in your wake up time, bedtime, and meal times. This basic framework will shift your body into a routine in line with your circadian rhythms, which will help banish that morning sluggishness.
2. Don’t snooze your alarm
This one is a toughy. If you’re a lover of a lie in, it can be extremely difficult to pay attention to your morning alarm the first time it goes off. However, if you want to become a morning person, you must fight the urge to snooze and simply get up and head for the shower to wash away your dozy state.
If you want to become an ultimate morning person, you’re going to have to set your alarm on weekends, too. But there’s no need to cry about the loss of your weekend lie-ins; soon you won’t even miss them. Within a couple of weeks, your body will be used to waking immediately, and you’ll actually start to wake up early, naturally. Winning!
3. Sort out your coffee habits
Convinced you need a coffee to wake up in the morning? Think again. Your body has a mechanism that involves a spike in cortisol levels within the first hour of waking that increases alertness.
So, if you really want to make the most of your morning Starbucks, wait a couple of hours for that mid-morning dip. Oh, and you might want to forget your Americanos and lattes—turns out a mocha is a sure-fire way improve your attention span!
4. Snack, snack, snack
Foodies, you may rejoice as a key part of becoming a morning person involves eating regularly. If you’re a breakfast skipper, you need to nip that habit in the bud right now.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it provides fuel and boosts your metabolism. Your body needs something to get you going for the day, otherwise your glucose levels won’t be restored so easily and may lead to a dip in cognitive function.
A healthy supply of snacks and a decent lunch and dinner will help keep your energy levels up, too. You don’t want to go longer than three to four hours without eating something; otherwise you’ll hit a sugar crash and start to feel sluggish and lethargic. Besides, when you’re properly fuelled you’re more likely to get a decent night’s sleep—a key factor in becoming a morning person.
5. Give yourself some wind-down time
It’s good practice to give yourself some time to wind down just before you go to bed, even if it’s just 30 minutes. If you schedule in some time to chill out, you’ll be more likely to have a good night’s sleep and actually stick to your bedtime, rather than watch Netflix into the night until the ‘are you still watching?’ message pops up.
Try and stay away from screens when winding down as the artificial light might interfere with your circadian rhythms. But if you can’t resist, make sure you enable night shift mode.
6. Stick to your bedtime
In short; if you don’t stick to your bedtime, you’ll never become a morning person. Ensure the bedtime you set is at a reasonable hour—you want to give yourself around six to eight hours sleep a night.
If you find yourself lying awake into the early hours, don’t compromise your wake-up time as a result. You might be tired, but if you sleep in, you’ll only encourage your body into a routine where your bedtime is more likely to be 2am rather than 11pm. We promise, over the course of a week or so, your body will become used to earlier starts and adjust the time you feel tired to compensate.
Hopefully these tips will help you on your way to becoming a fully-fledged morning person. No matter how desperate you are to become an early-riser, you must remember to listen to your body. If you do find yourself wandering around in a dozy trance, maybe go back for a few more zeds—there’s no harm giving your body time to adjust.