Yes, You Can Be A Morning Person With These 9 Science-Based Tips
This story is part 12 days of advicehelping you get the most out of your tech, your home and your health this holiday season.
Generally, there are two main reasons why it is difficult to wake up in the morning. Either you are an early riser, but something has gone wrong in your sleep, so you don’t feel rested in the morning. Or you’re just not an early riser and will need to change your sleep chronotype from an evening type to a morning type.
If you’re in the first group, good news: yes, you can become a morning person by identifying what’s wrong with your sleep and fixing it.
If you fall into the latter group, good news and bad news: you can become an early riser, but since you’ll be essentially overriding your biology, this change will require planning, self-discipline, and consistency. You can do that, especially by implementing these nine tips into your routine.
Read more:How to sleep better
Here’s why you have trouble waking up in the morning
A major contributor to difficult mornings is night watchsaid Barton Scott, nutritionist and founder of Upgraded Formulas, a supplement company focused on improving sleep.
“Nighttime awakening is ultimately, as a concept, at odds with your normal circadian rhythm,” Scott said. “It can be called chrono-misalignment, and this lack of harmony leads to problems going to bed, falling asleep earlier than expected, [and] take an unexpected nap.”
You may experience conscious awakening, where you know you are not sleeping well, or you may experience fragmented sleep, which involves many brief awakenings each night that you are unaware of or do not you don’t remember.
Consider these situations to decipher whether you may have spent the night tossing and turning, even without knowing it:
- You took a nap of more than 20 minutes the day before
- You take a nap after 3 p.m. the day before
- You consumed caffeine in the afternoon
- You ate your last meal within two hours of bedtime
- Your last meal was very heavy
- You drank alcohol a few hours before going to bed
- You stared at screens until bedtime
- The temperature in your room is not good
Another, perhaps the most important, contributor is that some people just aren’t morning people, said Terry Cralle, a registered nurse and certified clinical sleep educator. Everyone has a unique chronotype that regulates their sleep cycle.
“Night owls often struggle with a society that’s geared toward early risers,” Cralle said. “Obviously this can lead to sleep deprivation and all its consequences if their working hours are not aligned with their biological clock.”
Read more:Best alarm clocks for sunrise
A good alarm clock makes being early in the morning much easier. If you’re looking for a customizable interactive hub with your alarms, music, and weather, consider the Amazon Echo Show 5.
Read our Echo Show 5 review.
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9 practical tips for waking up earlier
If you’re not naturally an early riser, you’ll need to use tactics like light exposure and gradual bedtime changes to alter your body clock. Here are some tips from Cralle:
- Start small: Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier every other day, until you reach your ideal wake-up time.
- Don’t sleepwhich can make waking up even harder (even if you’re not trying to change your biological clock)
- Get some morning light, if possible, for 20 to 30 minutes. Exposure to bright light first thing in the morning helps suppress melatonin production and reset your body clock. Draw your curtains or take a short walk to get that exposure.
- Maintain a consistent wake-up timeeven on weekends.
- Use the RISEUP method:Ravoid pressing the snooze button, Iincrease activity in the first hour of wakefulness, Swash or wash your face, Eexpose yourself to the sun and youbeat some music, and Psharpen a friend.
- Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m.
- Eat a protein-rich breakfast shortly after waking up.
- Avoid napping if possible. If you can’t, take short naps.
- Avoid bright light in the evening and have a media curfew. Try to put screens away at least an hour, but ideally two hours, before bedtime.
These daily tactics will become a habit if you stick with them long enough, and eventually you’ll find it easier to wake up in the morning.
Should I be in the morning?
Society praises early risers for their productivity and success, but you really don’t have to be an early riser to be productive or successful. For many people, getting up early leads to better habits and better health, but for some getting up early goes against their biological chronotype.
About 25% of people are natural early risers and about 25% are night owls. The rest of us fall somewhere in between. Genetics certainly play a role in your natural circadian rhythm, and some experts say trying to change your chronotype can be detrimental to your health.
How to Identify Sleep Problems to Wake Up Earlier
In addition to the sleep deprivation culprits discussed earlier, you should also examine your overall state of physical and mental well-being. For example, nutrient deficiencies and anxiety are two common reasons people can’t sleep at night, Scott said.
You might want to start tracking your sleep if you don’t already, as well as keep a food diary and a regular diary so you can go back and identify what may have caused a sleepless night.
For example, let’s say you write in your journal that you’re worried about a big work project. You were stressed, so you ate pizza and ice cream for dinner. You won’t have to wonder why you didn’t sleep – the answers are in your journal.
Anxiety probably prolonged the time it took you to fall asleep, and food choices can disturb your sleep. High-fat foods, in particular, take longer to digest, and acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, can cause acid reflux. And sugar disrupts sleep by causing all sorts of physiological changes.
Once you’ve identified your triggers for poor sleep, you can start implementing changes for a better night’s sleep. And if you’re naturally an early riser, quality sleep should be enough to make waking up in the morning easier.
Go from night owl to early bird
There is actually a late riser advocacy group fighting for later start times in schools and workplaces. The group, called the B-Society, claims that while society loves “A people” (early risers), “B people” (late risers) are constantly forced to ignore their biological clocks.
Their mission? “We need to break free from the 9 to 5 society and its lack of respect for B people. Quality of life, health, infrastructure and productivity would all improve if we offered people working hours that matched their circadian rhythms.”
The group has a good point. Research has shown that deliberately changing your body clock to become an early riser won’t necessarily give you the characteristics associated with early risers, such as a better mood and greater life satisfaction. Instead, the change could lead to the opposite – a worse mood and a lower level of well-being.
So the point is not necessarily that getting up early makes you more productive and efficient. Instead, early risers are more likely to simply be more in tune with the schedule the company has set for everyone.
For example, a 17-year-old who gets up early probably has no trouble staying alert and finishing his work in a first-period class that starts at 7:30 a.m. in the same class and get bad grades because their body is still producing melatonin at 7:30 a.m.
Chronotypes can also fluctuate with age. For example, young children tend to wake up early, teenagers go to bed late and sleep late, and older adults tend to revert to a morning preference. Your current biological clock may, in part, be a product of your life stage.
Worried that your natural chronotype is having a negative impact on your work? If you work shifts, ask your workplace to move to a later shift. If you work in an office with a mandatory start time, try talking to your boss about changing your schedule. They may be more accommodating than you think, especially when you tell them that you’ll be much more productive and the quality of your work will increase if you work with your body, not against it.
So unless you really need to change your nighttime tendencies, you might be better off sticking to your natural chronotype.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.
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