Easy Routines for Becoming a Morning Person

Tips and tricks for better sleep and energized mornings

After publishing my latest article on how to avoid burnout, a close friend of mine asked how to become more of a morning person.

I’m no sleep expert, but studies show a good night’s sleep helps improve memory and longevity, spurs your metabolism, and reduces risks of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Having a good night’s sleep enhances your creativity, raises your attention span, and even boosts your happiness and energy level.

Sleep is important, and it’s something I have struggled with for some time. I would find myself up at night unable to shut off my mind.  I would feel restless, frustrated, and completely wired.  I had no idea what to do or how to control it. It wasn’t until I did a few experiments when I finally found a way to curb it.

Coffee|Bedroom

Six ways to fall asleep faster

I’ll say this right now: I am not a morning person. There is nothing I love more than my warm sheets, quilt comforter, and soft, plush bed. Before trying out a few practices, most mornings it was impossible for me to get out of bed.  I would find myself waiting until the very last second before jumping out of the sheets and getting ready for my day. This left me feeling rushed, irritated, and grouchy.

Before we start talking about becoming a morning person, let’s look at some tricks for getting a better night’s sleep.

Find your perfect bedtime routine

The first thing you need to do is decide your bedtime.  Try to give yourself six-to-eight-hours each night. I get as much sleep as I can; I go to bed at 10:00 p.m., and I wake up at 6:30 a.m. For some people that sounds like too much, but I find that bedtime perfect for me. Find something that works for you. Once you figure that out, follow these tips to help make sleeping easier:

Get ready for bed before bedtime 

Gretchen Rubin, the author of the bestseller, The Happiness Project, taught me a lot about sleep. One of her tips is to get ready for bed an hour or so before bedtime: washing your face, brushing your teeth, taking a warm bath/shower, etc. Doing so will relax you, and you won’t feel like getting ready for bed is a chore.

Avoid all stimulating activities

Stay away from doing tasks that keeps your brain engaged including homework, finishing your research paper, and yes, screen time. I have a strict screen time rule. Try not to use your phone, television, or other electronics that might keep you wired. Studies find the light emitted from your phone and other screens impact your sleep, and even alters your alertness and focus the next day.

Exercise, stretch or do yoga before bed 

Doing yoga, light stretches, or easy exercises before bed eliminate restlessness throughout the night. I found when my hip injury used to keep me up at night, adding a little more yoga and stretches right before bed helped loosen those flexors and gave me a better night’s sleep.

Tip: Speaking of restlessness, try to not get in bed until bedtime. If you’re lying in your bed for hours before you go to sleep, your body won’t adjust to the change.

Keep your room chilly

I love sleeping in a cold environment. It allows you to pile on more blankets, put on fuzzy socks, and bundle up! Keep your bedroom to about 65 degrees; your warm sheets will be more inviting, and you will feel relaxed.

Turn all of your lights off 

Another useful tip from Gretchen Rubin. I find that even the smallest nightlight will keep me up. Make sure your room is completely dark with little distractions. Sleeping in a completely dark room helps your brain wind down and realize that it’s time for bed.

If all else fails, read and write

If all of these tricks still don’t work, sit up and try reading from a book or a magazine (with the lights on, obviously). You can also try writing your thoughts down; getting them on paper is a good release. You can even make a to-do list about what needs to get done the next day, so you are ready to fall asleep and be prepared the next day.

Ways to be a morning person

Now that you’ve found a routine that works for you, it’s time to work on becoming a more energized, happier person in the morning. It’s really hard to instantly become a morning person; it takes a lot of work and conditioning. The biggest trick is to find a morning routine that works for you. Doing so will help you feel excited to wake up in the morning and give you the right start you need for your day.

Becoming a morning person: Start with a healthy breakfast

Eat a healthy breakfast

You’ve heard it your entire life: the best start to the morning is a healthy breakfast. Make sure your breakfast is big enough to give you that boost of energy you need to get out the door. I like adding protein to my breakfast, whether it is different variations on eggs or peanut butter spread on toast. Having a good breakfast in the morning will help you stay energized throughout the day.

Stop pressing the snooze button

This one is pretty simple. The more you press snooze, the more time you lose (I just made that up now and I am pretty impressed with myself)! Pressing the snooze button isn’t being proactive; get up the moment your alarm goes off. You’ll feel happy that you have extra time to have a bigger breakfast or read more of the newspaper instead of fitfully trying to squeeze in a few extra minutes of sleep.

Get up at the same time every day

Find a time in the morning that works throughout the week. Waking up at the same time every day will soon become routine, and eventually, you won’t need a pesky alarm to wake you up in the morning. Waking up naturally is peaceful and a much more pleasant way to start your day.

Get moving once you wake up

The moment you wake up, get out of bed even if you are just walking into another room. Don’t lie in bed and scroll through your Instagram and see what everyone else is up to. That will only make you want to stay in bed longer, make you groggier, and chew up a lot of time. Once you wake up, get moving.

Exercise

Speaking of moving, exercising is a great way to boost your energy and start your morning right. Try doing some morning yoga, or take your dog for a walk. Doing so will wake you up, you’ll feel happier, you’ll increase your self-esteem, and you’ll be ready to take on your day. Exercising is also a great way to stay focused throughout your day.

What about you?

How do you keep a steady, nighttime schedule? Are you a morning person? Please share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

 

Ways to Boost Your Energy and Happiness

One of the biggest challenges I face is to stay energized. Let’s face it: At the end of a crazy work day,  the last thing I want to do is tackle a new project or do something other than hide under my sheets. I barely have the energy to make dinner let alone take on a new task.

Finding the motivation is tough, but not impossible. There are plenty of helpful practices that help keep our energy juices a-flowin’ –like making sure you get a solid 6-9 hours of sleep, or making sure to do some type of exercise every day.

In my case, six hours of sleep and exercising every other day is more of a reality. Despite those two practices mentioned above, I have discovered other ways to boost my energy. I have also found that doing the following also helps make me happier:

  1. Get outdoors: Even if it’s sitting outside for a few minutes or going for a quick walk, being outdoors makes you happier; it helps clear your mind and give you a change of scenery. Multiple studies have found that being outdoors is stimulating; it recharges your brain and boosts your energy.
  2. Clean up: I find that picking up physical clutter around me also helps get rid of the ongoing clutter taking up too much real estate in my brain. So, before you stress, look around: Are there stacks of paper on your desk? Is your working station a mess? Are there a pile of dishes in the sink? Taking time to clean up will help you feel more accomplished.
  3. Acting Energized: I got this one from Gretchen Rubin. I find it fascinating how we can trick our brains into believing something even if it’s not true. If we act energized, our brain and body will start to believe it. Try moving around or pacing around the house. I even try talking (most of the time to myself …no shame) animatedly about what needs to be done. You’ll find that you feel more energized and ready to do what you need to do. 
  4. Stttrreeeeettcchh!: This one is my favorite. Sometimes, when I am at work and feel like I am at my wits end, I stand up, and do a few stretches. I stretch my back, arms, neck, and legs, and after, I feel so much better. This is  a good practice if you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk, like me.
  5. Make a to-do list: I love to-do lists. So. Much. Making a to-do list instantly makes me motivated. So the next time you are in a bind, try making a to-do list. Even if it’s just one or two tasks, you’ll be happy that you were able to make the time to write it down, and you’ll feel more energized to get it done.
  6. Eat something: Sometimes when your energy is low, it could mean that you are hungry. So, try eating something light to give you a little boost. Emphasis on light. One time, I ordered Chinese, and I ended up just watching Gilmore Girls on the couch for four hours. Finished a season, but that’s about it.

I hope this list helps you find your boost of energy and motivation. If you have any methods or practices that help you get your foot out the door, feel free to share in the comments below!