Early morning is the time when most people choose sleep over everything they ever wanted in life. Introduce them to the idea to become a morning person and,
BANG (Gets Punched in Face).
That feeling of sticking to the bed for a few more hours is simply, inexplicable. Isn’t it? No stress about life or career that otherwise clings on our back for the rest of the day. Even I used to feel that if sleeping were a competition, I would never come second.
The good part is over. The real day begins. You wake up late and realize you don’t have time left for anything.
Exercise? Hell No.
Productivity, Business? You must be kidding.
Waking up early is like a dream. A dream that every person wants to accomplish. What stops them from becoming a morning person then? Go Ahead. Wake Up. Most people fail to become a morning person for one reason:
They are unaware of the science working behind it and construe late rising a disciplinary problem. Before we discuss anything, here’s motivation for your goal:
Suggested Reading: 13 Reasons to Wake Early in the Morning
There won’t be any epiphany after your mom scolds you about sleeping until late in the morning. If you follow the steps in the blog post, you can slowly transition to become a morning person. Some tips may be general, however, most of them are backed by science. In other words, they really work! Want to know the secrets to become a morning person? Read On.
How to Become a Morning Person
(The secret is to get enough quality sleep and establish a sleep schedule that the body can get accustomed to)
1. Understand Your Sleep Cycles
Before you even think about waking up early, you must learn how a sleep cycle works. Our sleep cycle has four stages where Rapid Eye Movement (REM) represents the lightest sleep, and Stage 4 represents deepest sleep. Every individual has a different sleep cycle, and therefore, they hit the REM stage and Stage 4 at a different time. When your sleep is close to the REM stage, you are most likely to wake up without feeling groggy or tired. On the other hand, the body retaliates when you try to wake it from the deep sleep.
Your task is to identify the sweet spot when you are closest to the REM stage. Science says that each sleep cycle lasts for about 90 minutes. For identifying your sleep cycle, find out the time when your body feels relaxed after you wake up. Don’t bother if it’s 1 p.m.. Simply find the slot and head to the next point.
2. Make Gradual Changes
After you identify the time of REM stage, the next step is to make comfortable changes to your sleep schedule. Give your body the time it requires to adapt a change. To start, set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than your usual wake up time. Even if your body feels comfortable after 2-3 days, stick to the plan and resist the urge to jump immediately to 4 am or else, back to square one! If frustration takes over, remember that:
If you try to join the 4 am club in two days, that won’t happen. Think rising late as an addiction. The body needs time to get over and recover from any form of addiction. If you force an immediate change in your body, the change is going to be short lived and with withdrawal symptoms.
3. Use a Gentle Alarm
Many people prefer loud and vibrating alarms to get up in the morning, which is a rookie mistake. Loud alarms stress you out and remind you that it’s time to wake up, an unpleasant fact when you are trying hard to rise early. Waking up with a loud alarm triggers the stress hormone, cortisol in your body. You can’t afford to wake up in stress or else the purpose of rising early is defeated. That said, you must replace your loud alarm with a gentle one. Try soothing tones such as birds chirping or the piano playing to add tranquility to your mornings. You can also use a smartphone to play a song as an alarm that you like. Just make sure to have a calming effect on your mind.
4. Resist Pressing the Snooze Button
You may feel like sleeping a little more when the alarm goes off. Keep your hands off the snooze button, and the battle is half won. When your alarm goes off, let it ring until you wake up. Science says that when you wake up, you are out of your sleep cycle. The moment you hit snooze, you are most likely to doze off again as your brain resets your sleep cycle. All in all, trick your mind to stay in the “wake up” state rather than hinting it to push you back to the sleep cycle.
5. Use a Good Mattress With Back Support
Quality sleep is instrumental for rising early. The better your sleep quality, the lesser the problems in waking up early. For that to happen, your mattress must have a lumbar or orthopedic support. Go for a mattress that is neither too hard or fluffy as both are detrimental to quality sleep. If you are comfortable with pillows, get one or you can be better off without them too. I never faced any problems with pillows, however, many people complain about neck pain with pillows. You can experiment to check whether pillows suit you or not. Do share your experiences in the comments section.
6. Dim the Lights Before Sleeptime
Dim the lights at least one hour before you plan to sleep. Blocking bright light helps in releasing the sleep hormone, melatonin, that makes you feel sleepy and cozy. Apart from blocking bright light, you also need to limit your exposure to blue light for quality sleep. Science shows that blue light is a known factor in suppressing melatonin activity, which is necessary to regulate the sleep cycle.
7. Wear a Sleep Mask
Limiting exposure to blue light is only a job half done. Outside light can still disrupt circadian rhythms, thereby preventing you from falling asleep. To avoid such extra lights hindering your sleep, simply wear a sleep mask. Not only a sleep mask helps you fall asleep quickly but also improves the quality of sleep. Using a sleep mask triggers the pineal gland in the brain to release melatonin, which in turn pushes you into full REM sleep mode.
8. Switch Off Electronics in Bed
Gadgets are one of the reasons that keep most teens and adults up late. If you too scroll your Facebook feed late night, it’s time to break the habit. You must get away from all digital distractions such as your mobile phone, laptop, and television, at least an hour or two before you sleep. Electronic devices emit light that hinders with a normal sleep cycle and is also known to increase the level of stress in the body, as science suggests. Perform a digital detox at night for few days and see the difference! If it gets too hard to resist, listen to an uplifting podcast.
9. Pee Before You Sleep
Even while you sleep, the kidneys are active, and therefore, keep on dumping waste products to the bladder. By the time you wake up, the bladder is almost full. If it gets full during the sleep, you will wake up in no time. As the process can disrupt sleep in the middle of the night, it’s a good practice to empty your bladders right before you sleep.
10. Avoid Caffeine and Alcoholic Drinks
Though alcohol has a relaxing effect on the mind, the fact goes out of the window before sleep time. Before you reach out for that can or a glass of red wine, remember that alcohol disturbs normal sleep and causes hangover in the morning. In both the cases, you won’t feel charged enough to wake up early in the morning. Coffee lovers must also wait until morning as caffeine stimulates the brain, preventing you from falling asleep. You should, therefore, leave the caffeine boost for the morning or the work hours when the body demands.
11. Eat Light Foods
Digestion must happen before you hit the bed. If you eat a snack before bedtime, your digestive system gets busy in churning the food; a process that may cause indigestion and heartburn. Try to eat 2-3 hours before you sleep to ensure that digestion is complete before you sleep. Normal gut movement facilitates better sleep and therefore, the likelihood of waking up early in the morning increases.
12. Engage in Something you Love
Starting your day with exercise is lucrative, however, inadvisable when you are trying to wake up early. The idea of exercise works better when you are comfortably rising early else guaranteed to backfire, most of the times. To get started, find an activity that you like to do effortlessly. Finding such an activity requires brainstorming and you must do it a night before. It can be sipping a hot cup of coffee, reading a book, painting, running, cooking and pretty much everything that keeps your mind occupied without getting bored. Just make sure not to switch on the TV or spend time on the internet.
13. Get a Strong Enough Reason
We take action only when it’s not possible to skip something. Thinking about a good reason to wake up early creates a print on your mind that can push you out of the bed. This technique requires mindful practice to master, however, you get better with time. It’s all about convincing your mind to wake up early. Simply put, bribe your mind for something irresistible. Think about playing a sport, texting your girlfriend or anything you would think a million times before skipping. Make a list and place it on the wall on the front or on a table within reach. Keep it in a way that you can’t skip reading it first thing in the morning.
14. Spend Some Time in Bed, Don’t Jump
Jumping out of the bed straightaway can make you anxious, thereby doing more harm than good. The moment you wake up, sit on the bed and stay there for 5-10 minutes. Take a deep breath, yawn, press your temples with both hands, rub your eyes and twist your neck a few times. Then, press your neck, shoulders, and palms to release the morning stress you may be feeling. After you start feeling normal, step out and take 2 minutes to make your bed to avoid feeling groggy. In this way, you set the right temperament for the day and can wake up more readily.
15. Splash Cold Water On Your Face
Though this one is a no-brainer, splashing your face with cold water is good enough to eliminate the urge to sleep again. Give a gentle tap to your forehead and cheeks to make the process more enjoyable. Want to feel good? Wash your face and head outdoors for some fresh air. Enjoy the cooling sensation on the face and thank us later. If you still feel remnants of sleep after the water facial, simply take a shower. It really helps you to freshen up.
16. Increase Exposure to Natural Light
Most people lack exposure to natural sunlight, which confuses their body clocks. This is common with late risers as they lose the sunlight time in the morning and later, work under artificial light at the workplace. If you fail to receive your share of natural light, your sleep patterns are most likely to disrupt. Restoring exposure to sunlight can reset the circadian rhythms to normal, thereby helping you to wake up in the morning. You can try to “wake up with the sun” to reset your body clock that helps in waking up at the same time every day. Sleep with the curtains open to wake up with a streak of morning light, or you can also walk outdoors after completing your morning regime.
17. Try Body and Mind Calming Activities
Establishing a bedtime ritual helps in waking up early and therefore, try activities that have a soothing effect on your mind and body. When you relax, you prepare the body for better sleep. As your quality of sleep improves, you gradually become a morning person. Declutter your mind before sleeping. Had a fight with a loved one? Sort it out. Feel Anxious? Spit it Out. Calm down. Feel peaceful and believe that everything is alright. You can try activities such as:
- An invigorating face and head massage
- Writing 100 words
- Washing your hands and feet (Really helps with good sleep)
How Long It Takes to Become a Morning Person?
There is no certain answer. The faster you can fix your body clock, the easier it will be for you to get out of the bed. Remember that waking up late is not a life-threatening problem. It’s just another habit that the body develops with time. The good thing, you can change habits with constant practice, will-power and a few essential tweaks to your schedule.
If you are trying to become a morning person, it’s going to be difficult, and therefore, acceptance is the key. But then, everything worth having in life doesn’t come easy. First, tell yourself that sleeping until late doesn’t make you a loser or a person without meaning in life. Second, It’s normal to sleep until late and is no crime. Be slow, but steady, and you will be victorious!
The Floor is Yours Now
Did you like the information in the post?
What other techniques do you use to become a morning person?
What is the success rate of those techniques?
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Please share your valuable suggestions in the comments section.