In this world of multitasking culture, 24/7 availability, plus hobbies that include endless Netflix documentaries and an addictive stream of TikTok videos, it’s easy enough to find yourself up well past your bedtime. Ever squinted over at the clock only to realize you have to be up and ready for your day in like, oh shi*t, four hours?
Been there, done that.
These night owl tendencies leave us feeling drained, foggy, and a little more on edge than we care to admit. Not the ideal way to start off the day. So, I’m here to share some practical steps to get you from night owl to early bird. I don't know why I went so heavy on the bird reference, bear with me.
Think it’s impossible to rise with the sun? Try these steps for 3 weeks straight - that's all the time you need to create a new habit.
1.Wake up earlier
I know the overachiever in you is itching to set your alarm for 5 a.m. to prove a point, but slow your roll, cowboy. If you’ve been going to bed at 2 a.m. on a regular basis, start slowly to make the transition to a morning person.
Start by setting your alarm, or six alarms - whatever works, just 30 minutes earlier than usual and work your way up to your desired waking time.
2. Light helps
This really works, so listen up. Keep your shades wide open so that the light comes through in the morning. As humans, our bodies are programmed to rise with the sun, but it’s easy to ignore all that in a busy life with electricity and blackout curtains.
For those of you who don’t have so much natural sunlight in your bedroom, artificial light can work as well. Try a timer that turns your light on twenty minutes before you want to wake up.
3. Reward yourself
Have you ever noticed that waking up for an early morning flight is a piece of cake? Or that on the morning of a special holiday, or an exciting event - you’re eyes-wide pre-alarm? Waking up on those days aren’t nearly as big of a struggle because you have something to look forward to.
So how do you get excited to hop out of bed on your average workday? Well, just give yourself something to be excited about. A morning latte that you can’t resist, or a new workout class (yeah, not me), or new fall boots that are kinda out of your price range but still kinda-sorta justifiable (yeah! that’s me). Hey, money can’t buy happiness, but it just might manage to buy you an earlier morning routine. Seriously, even small treats can motivate you up and out of bed.
4. Don’t nap
Fight the urge to cave-in to that afternoon slump and crawl under the covers for an hour or two - especially on a Sunday. No matter how tempting it is, make it through the lull (espresso, espresso, espresso) and you’ll naturally fall asleep easier and sleep deeper because you’ll be well, tired. And that’s the whole point, now isn’t it?
5. Try exercising at night
Exercise at night can help you fall asleep more easily, no matter what kind of exercise you’re into. Intense cardio workouts or a run at the end of the day will tire you and your muscles out, while less aerobic workouts like yoga and pilates, or even a long walk, will relax you and slow down your racing mind.
6. Set small goals to feel productive
So set a damn alarm and challenge yourself to wake up early for one full week.
The night before, set a task for yourself to do in the morning. Start with smaller stuff: reorganize your PJ drawer or stretch for five minutes. Move up to tasks that take more time: clean out your closet or tackle a full-body workout on YouTube.
See just how productive you are in the morning and how it sets the tone for the rest of your day. Imagine that: you can have something checked off your list before the old you would have finished brushing old you’s teeth!
This productive feeling alone can motivate you to become a morning person.
7. Start your end-of-day routine earlier
If your lack of enthusiasm for the morning has more to do with lack of sleep then an aversion to the morning, going to bed early is key. You need to make sure you’re getting a proper 7-8 hours of sleep so that waking up early in the morning isn’t such a struggle.
Again, start slowly: committing to sleeping 30 minutes earlier each night. How, you ask? Start everything earlier, even dinner. Eat a half an hour earlier than usual, shower earlier, watch TV earlier - and turn off all screens at least a half an hour before you want to be drifting off to dreamland. It’s like daylight savings time: your mind and body will quickly adjust to the new routine faster than you think.
Once you master the first 30 minutes increment, you’ll work your way to your goal bed time.
Now, try it!
Change your life, on step at a time. Get post-breakfast, post-dishes, and post-coffee way earlier than you ever imagined.