As I type this at 6.16 am, I feel proud and equally amazed at how I became a morning person.
I mean I was someone who loved staying up late and sleeping in till noon. Throughout school and college, I would stay up into the wee hours of the night to study or do assignments. I thought I was most productive at night.
But things changed, and now I know I can be productive in the early mornings too. But how did I change?
For me, it was not an easy transition, it took years of failing. No, no, don’t be discouraged yet thinking it will take years. I will tell you why I failed. Keep reading.
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Why should you become a morning person? and What are the benefits?
Being a morning person has many benefits. Let me tell you how my life changed by becoming a morning person.
- It has improved my productivity. By getting up early, I get to finish my routine tasks before the kids wake up and thus I am more peaceful and calm knowing part of my work has been done. It’s a real happiness booster.
- It keeps me energetic. When I was a night owl, I still got the sufficient sleep I needed. But, I wouldn’t feel enthusiastic to start my day. I would waste hours before starting to do anything.
- It gives me a sense of accomplishment. As a mother, I have other responsibilities too so I get to do “my work” before tending to others’ needs. Thus, I am more satisfied because by waking up early, I have done more by noon and there is no nagging voice that keeps reminding me “you have to do this/that”.
- I get more time in my day to spend with family.
- I am more self-disciplined. Changing from a night owl into a morning person is not an easy task. But when you achieve that it increases your confidence to achieve more in life.
Now, without much ado, let me give you 9 tips on how you can become a morning person.
1. The big “WHY”
If you are a morning person who wakes up with the sun by nature, you are good to go.
But what if you are a night owl who enjoys sleeping but still would like to become a morning person? Can a night owl become a morning person? It might not be easy but it’s not undoable either. I told you I failed for years. The reason? I didn’t have a strong reason to leave my cozy bed and my precious sleep.
I would try for a few days. I would feel fresh and energized, but then I am back to normal. Maybe because only feeling fresh was not enough reason for me to ditch my sleep.
Many articles on how to be a morning person start with the advice to “sleep early”. It’s true, you have to sleep early. But I have found that simply sleeping early didn’t help me wake up early. I would “wake up” but not “get up” from the bed. I would lie there under my cozy blanket because I didn’t know what to do once I was up.
So, ask yourself. Why do you want to wake up early? What benefits do you think you will get if you are a morning person? What will motivate you to get up early in the morning?
Your answers are the reasons you will become a morning person.
They can be the following:
-To enjoy the quiet time you can have for yourself (especially if you have little ones to care for).
-To get a morning workout that will keep you energized for the whole day (because you are too tired to work out in the evening).
-To do some productive work or thinking.
-To work for your side-hustle if you have a full-time job (that is, to make time for your dreams).
-To make time for the morning routine for personal development.
-You simply like the energy early morning gives you.
These are some common answers, but you might be having a different one. Find and note them down. If those reasons make you excited enough to wake up early in the morning, you are already there. I don’t think you need any more tips. Lol.
But I promised you 9 tips so I am going to give those.
Now that you have decided why you want to be a morning person, let me tell you how to help your body and mind to ditch those old habits and establish new ones.
2. Have an evening routine
Waking up early doesn’t start with the morning, but the day before. Before you go to sleep, you should know how your ideal morning should be. It is important because when you don’t know what to do, your sleepy brain may tell you to crawl back under the covers again.
You don’t want that. So as a clever determined person, you decide before you go to sleep.
Tell yourself how excited you are to wake up early to do so and so. Or you can write in a journal why you love to become a morning person.
Example: I love waking up early because it will give me the time to work on my business which will help me achieve ______
I love waking up early to do exercise to lose ______ pounds so that I can fit into my skinny jeans again.
3. Sleep early
Most people need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every day. If you want to wake up at 6.30 am, calculate how much sleep you should get and go to bed accordingly. Remember, you might need at least 15-20 minutes to fall asleep too.
Start winding down at least an hour before your sleep time. Most of us take our smartphones on the bed and keep scrolling until we can barely open our eyes. Research has proved that the blue light emitted by electronic devices interferes with our sleep.
So to get quality sleep, stop using your mobile devices at least an hour before bed. And use that time to set your intentions for the next day. You can do journaling, say affirmations or read a book. Such seemingly small lifestyle shifts can do wonders in your personal development journey.
4. make incremental change
When establishing a new habit, I always like to make changes in small steps. You can read the article I wrote on the topic here.
So when trying to get up early, instead of getting up an hour before, set your alarm 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Do it for a few days and when your body is comfortable with the new time, you can try to wake up even earlier.
Another tip that works is, keep the alarm clock on the other side of the room. This little trick works because you then have to walk a small distance to switch it off, waking you up in the process.
5. Have a productive morning routine
Charles Duhigg, in his book ‘The Power of Habit‘, writes about the loop of habit formation. According to research done by MIT, there is a loop at the core of every habit. It consists of three parts: cue, habit, and reward. You can read more about it in detail here.
The idea is that the reward of performing an action is essentially what makes us do it again. When we repeat the action consistently enough it becomes etched into our brains as a habit.
Thus try to make your mornings productive and rewarding. It will motivate you to do it again. Since reading the book ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod, I try to include the miracle morning routine in my mornings and I love it. So much so that I look forward to waking up early for performing the routine.
Now, how do you come up with a productive and rewarding morning routine? Go back to your “big WHY”. Those are the things you love and excited about and the reward of performing them will motivate you to get up again.
When I was trying actively to become a morning person, my ‘big WHY’s’ were making time for my morning routine which includes meditation, affirmations, exercise, journaling etc and to have some productive time to work on this blog.
It still is my driving force to continue being a morning person.
The days I sleep in are the days I don’t start well. And I feel bad on such days.
That said, life happens and there may be days when you can’t sleep early and that means you might not feel like waking up early. It’s okay and sometimes when I have sleep debt I wake up one or two hours late because I might walk like a zombie if I were to get up earlier. Ok, I might be exaggerating a bit, but I can’t function without getting proper sleep.
But please make sure it happens only once in a while, especially when you are trying to make it a habit.
6. make your bed
If you want to be a morning person, there is nothing better to wake you up like natural light. As soon as you get up, open your blinds and windows and let the sunlight and crispy fresh morning air come in. It signals your body to wake up.
And immediately make your bed. Making the bed can seem an insignificant act but it has more benefits than you imagine. According to Charles Duhigg, it is a keystone habit, which means, doing it can kickstart a pattern of other good behaviors.
It can also help in preventing the temptation to crawl back into bed.
Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, in his commencement speech at the University of Texas said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
You can watch his inspirational speech here (06:00 min).
7. Get moving
It is easier to be a morning person if you love the energy early morning provides. When you wake up, get moving as soon as possible to beat the slump.
You can do
- Light stretching exercises
- 20 minute HIIT exercises
- Go for a walk outside
Or if you wish you can do a full-blown workout. Exercise produces chemicals in your body called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling.
That’s another reason to be a morning person. Many people complain they are too tired to exercise in the evening. A morning workout helps you start mornings with positive energy that can spread throughout the day. It reflects in your productivity too.
8. have a healthy breakfast
Like exercise and other morning routines, having a healthy breakfast is important to keep the energy going for the day.
A healthy breakfast should contain a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein (eggs, legumes, nuts), etc.
When you are trying to be a morning person, it’s helpful to plan your mornings in advance. Decision fatigue is real and the confusion of what to cook can make you sluggish in the morning instead of giving a power start. So plan your meals in advance, if possible for a week.
Here is a useful article on healthy breakfast ideas.
8. take a power nap in the afternoon
When you wake up early, it’s natural to feel dozy in the afternoon. A power nap can help you quickly recover from the sleepiness and feel fresh again.
Do not sleep for more than 30 minutes as you will wake up feeling groggy and it can interfere with your night’s sleep too.
You can read this article to find out why power naps are good for you.
9. maintain a consistent schedule
When trying to form a new habit, it’s important to stay consistent in your efforts. Always stick to the same sleep-wake up schedule until you feel it’s becoming automatic, even on weekends.
I used to sleep till 10 am on weekends, but now that I am used to waking up early I get up easily even on weekends. That being said, do not be hard on yourselves. Get sufficient sleep that your body needs, but try to come back to your schedule as soon as you get off track.
I find using habit trackers (in my bullet journal) very helpful in persevering with my habits even when I feel unmotivated. It’s my accountability partner and having to leave blank spaces without checking off in my journal, arouses a bad feeling in me. Thus it keeps me going.
I used to think some people are meant to be morning people and some are not. Ten years ago I wouldn’t believe if anyone told me a night owl like me can change to a morning person.
But, I think such beliefs are not set in stone. What I belive is
You can achieve whatever you want in life if you want it that bad.
P.S: I am still a recovering night owl and there is no way I am going back 🙂
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