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How to Become a Morning Person…and Enjoy It

At the beginning of the year, Dustin and I made a commitment to take charge of our health, in all aspects.  We decided to make better food choices, start exercising again, and focus on our emotional well-being.

sunriseWhile a healthy diet and exercise are extremely important, one aspect of optimal health that is often overlooked are our sleep habits.  The fact of the matter is, when we don’t get good sleep, we won’t have a very productive or satisfying day.

For us, the problem wasn’t that we weren’t getting enough sleep. In fact, we were getting too much, poor quality sleep.  We made countless attempts to wake up early, and nearly all lasted for only a day or two at a time.  This past week, however, we decided to become extremely committed to this goal.  Below, we share with you ten tips that have helped us not only wake up, but wake up feeling refreshed and happy.

10 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person and Enjoying It:

  1. Keep a light near the bed.

    In a perfect world, we would all be pleasantly woken up by the rays of the sun.  But we know that modern society doesn’t always allow for that.  The next best option is to stimulate that same light response.  Light stops the production of melatonin in our bodies, which is responsible for making us sleep.  When the alarm goes off, immediately turn on a light and you will feel significantly more awake.

  2. Put your alarm clock across room.

    If you’re like me, you know it’s all too easy to hit snooze or reset the alarm clock for a later time.  The problem is you’ve already disrupted your sleep, so in reality, that extra snooze time will only leave you feeling more exhausted when you attempt to wake up again.  By putting the alarm clock across the room, we’re forced to get ourselves up, making it unlikely for us to go back to sleep.

  3. Don’t eat within 2 hours of going to sleep.

    Digestion is a highly involved process, and although we may not be conscious of it while it’s happening, our bodies are fully aware.  By eating too close to bed time, we unknowingly let digestion disrupt our sleep.  Dustin and I were both big-time snackers at night, and once we cut it out, we felt a huge difference in the way we felt in the morning.  Try not to eat within two hours of going to bed, or at least minimize carbs and sugar.  In most cases, it’s simply a mental habit since you’ve been conditioned to do it for so long.  Try having some tea or a banana if you really feel the need to have something.

  4. Have a reason to get up and a plan.

    This is key.  A common trend with successful people is that they always have a plan, a reason to be motivated.  If you are attempting to wake up earlier with no real need or desire to be fulfilled, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to stay consistent.  This is where we failed at first.  We wanted to work out, but we had no plan set in place.  Once we committed to writing out a schedule the night before, we were much more motivated when the alarm went off.

  5. Get sufficient sleep.

    If you’re going to wake up earlier, you need to get to bed earlier.  It’s as simple as that.  Give yourself at least 7-8 hours of good sleep each night.  It is a lot easier to slowly transition your body to a new schedule, so try waking up just 15-30 minutes earlier every day.  This means getting to bed 15-30 minutes earlier as well.

  6. Avoid stressful situations before sleep.

    Stress makes us feel tense and severely impacts our health.  It releases a hormone called cortisol, which in high and prolonged amounts, can be detrimental, leading to higher blood pressure, blood sugar imbalance, lowered immunity, and a number of other health problems.   You’ve probably heard the quote, “never go to bed angry; stay up and fight”.  We’ll I’m not recommending fighting, but if you do have an argument with someone before bed, make sure it is resolved before going to sleep.  Meditation and night yoga are also extremely beneficial to help rid yourself of stressful emotions from the day’s activities.

  7. Overcome mental blocks.

    This is one of our biggest obstacles in achieving most goals.  We have the power to move ourselves forward or hold ourselves back with our thoughts alone.  The night before, mentally commit yourself to waking up happily.  Create a vivid mental picture of yourself waking up and going forth with your morning routine.  It might sound crazy at first, but your body must obey whatever your subconscious brain tells it.  So ingrain this habit mentally every day, and within a month’s time, you will wake up without second thought.

  8. Enjoy your quiet time.

    The early morning hours might be the only time of day when you are free from obligations placed upon you by others.  Use this time to write, read, exercise, or simply just be at peace.  Beginning your day with a sense of peace will help you overcome any of that’ day’s challenges.  When you wake up early, you feel like you have all the time in the world.  When you don’t leave yourself enough time, you feel rushed and create unwanted stress.

  9. Plan a delicious breakfast or morning treat.

    Recently, breakfast has become one of my favorite meals of the day.  We started planning out exactly what we want to eat in the morning, ranging from pancakes and eggs to oatmeal and yogurt.  We also have a variety of pre-run snacks that taste so delicious, we literally get excited the night before about what we get to eat in the morning.  When you’re excited, sleeping extra is no longer a priority.

  10. Create a routine.

    Finally, since humans are habitual creatures, setting up a night and morning routine will help immensely.  An evening routine that has worked well for us has been having some tea, brushing our teeth, washing our faces, and reading a chapter in a book.  In the morning, we turn on the light, turn off the alarm and fan, turn on the heat, splash our faces with water, get dressed for the gym, eat a pre-run snack, and go out the door.  By doing the same thing every morning and night, you create consistency.  Consistency is vital to success.

Hope these tips were useful to you!  So far, they have been working great for us.  We’ve felt energetic all day and for the first time in a while, get amazing sleep.

We’d love to hear what kinds of tips and secrets you have for getting up in the morning.  Is there anything unique you do that you think would be useful to others?  If so, let us know!