I LOVE my morning routine. What you do in the morning sets the tone for your entire day, so taking small steps to have a healthier morning really makes all the difference. My current morning routine consists of waking up at 6, meditating and journaling around 6:30, breakfast, homework and a workout break around 9. My brain (and body) is on fire in the mornings – but in the best way! If you’re not naturally an early riser, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn. It takes a bit of practice and habit-building just like every other lifestyle change. Here are 8 ways to become a morning person.
Don’t worry about bedtime
Whenever you TRY to fall asleep, you almost never can. If tomorrow’s your first day of waking up early, go to bed when you normally do. You’ll most likely be tired the next day – but natural fatigue will help move your bedtime up! Your body will eventually adapt to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. I like to go through a small nighttime routine to unwind and calm my mind before bed!
Slowly start waking up earlier
The key word being SLOWLY. If your usual wakeup time is 9, it might be next to impossible to start naturally waking up at 6 without being tired. Pick a new wakeup time and gradually work towards it. It helps to move in increments of 15 minutes until you reach your goal. So setting your alarm for 8:45, then 8:30 and so on until you reach 6.
Whenever you wake up feeling groggy, it’s because you’ve disrupted your REM cycle. Waking up to hit snooze but going back to sleep will do just that. The REM cycle helps stimulate brain regions linked to cognition – and it’s also when we dream and the deepest stage of sleep. The best time to wakeup is at the beginning of a REM cycle. I like to set one alarm for 6 and maybe another one a few minutes later in case I sleep through the first one!
Let natural light in
Since our circadian rhythm is tied so closely to light, it’s been proven that morning light is linked to wakefulness. Light tells the brain that it’s daytime, sending signals to the body to stop producing melatonin. You can use natural or artificial light! I like to leave my blinds open at night so natural light can peek through in the mornings – but you can also use sunrise alarm clocks.
This is both a really important morning and nighttime rule for me. We spend our entire day looking at screens, which can distract and confuse our brains into thinking it’s daytime when it’s not. Not to mention, blue light increases our stress levels. To limit screen time, you can keep your phone on the furthest corner of your nightstand, give yourself a time limit or at least turn on Night Shift on your iPhone to filter out the blue light.
Eat a protein-heavy breakfast
We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but what you eat for breakfast can either make you feel energized or tired. Make sure to eat more protein and less carbs for breakfast. Protein naturally increases dopamine levels and is linked to wakefulness, while carbs promote sleep.
Exercising first thing in the morning helps your body wake up. Morning workouts can help lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, release toxins from your body and help you sleep better at night. I like to take Harvey for a morning walk or do a low-intensity at-home workout.
Consistency is key when it comes to building any habit. Try to set an alarm for the same time every morning. Any disruptions will mess with your sleep schedule, so it’s important to keep the same wakeup times on the weekends! This will eventually make waking up early easier and easier.
Have any of you night owls turned into early birds? I’d love to hear what helped you the most!