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Wake up earlier for more energy and productivity? Learn how you can become a morning person with these tips on sleep, routine, and general wellbeing.
A morning person is more than just getting up early; it requires effort and persistence for the habit to benefit the body, mind and soul.
A night owl, who prefers to sleep late or is more productive at night, will find it difficult to become a morning person.
Depending on your chronotype, you can adjust to the routine that guides you into becoming a morning person.
A morning person is usually awake before sunrise and feels more energetic earlier in the day. Early risers find it easier to wake up and go to bed earlier.
Night owls stay up late and sleep later. They struggle to have early wake times and often hit the snooze button.
Circadian cycles are the behavioral and physical changes a body undergoes in a 24-hour cycle, and a Chronotype is the natural pattern of sleep that a person embodies.
The Circadian rhythm responds to the amounts of light and dark the body comes in contact with and affects your day-to-day sleep cycle—the clock of the chronotype of an individual trains circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm regulates energy throughout the day and follows the pattern of the sun.
Your chronotype is genetic but can be influenced by age, environment, and activity level. There are two main sleep chronotypes: eveningness, or night owls, and morningness, also known as early birds. People who wake up early in the morning are early chronotypes.
People who find it difficult to wake up early and struggle to have energy early in the day have eveningness chronotypes. Sleep chronotype is more difficult to change than circadian rhythm because it is established in adolescence.
Mindset is also very important: Thinking anxious thoughts activates your sympathetic nervous system, heightens your fight or flight response, and makes you worry more. When the sympathetic system is activated, adrenaline and cortisol are released into your body.
Excitatory chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol make it harder to fall asleep and increase anxiety as you lie in bed.
Once you've found the best time to wake up, gradually shift your sleep time by 15 to 30 minutes toward that time until you reach your sleep-wake goal.
Also, shift your meal times to help transition into your new routine to ensure you aren’t eating large meals right before bedtime.
The longer you sleep or, the greater shift in your sleeping goal, the harder it is to achieve it. Eight to ten hours of sleep is recommended for the average person.
A bedtime routine alerts the brain that it is time to sleep, an alertness that increases as you consistently perform the same task every night.
This routine helps calm your body down and gradually lowers you into sleep. A night routine can include the following;
Set a time to lower or shut off the lights in your room including all electronic devices like a phone, television, or laptop, at night.
Electronic screens can activate the brain, and prolonged exposure at night can make it more difficult to sleep and stay asleep.
Your morning routine should not include hitting the snooze button when you should be preparing for the day. Set your alarm clock to wake up an extra hour early to allow yourself time to relax before getting up.
Take some time to admire the sunlight or exercise. Your morning routine should concentrate on making sure you find time for yourself.
Whether you read or meditate, find an activity to do every morning. It will help you get used to waking up early every day.
If you are still not comfortable sleeping early, it could mean that your body feels better going to sleep later in the day. It will just worsen your moods and energy levels throughout the day. The body functions better with a routine and a consistent sleep schedule.
Create a schedule focused on your sleeping needs to plan your nights properly. Take some time to think about your sleeping debts or the sleep needed from your body. Lack of sleep can affect mood, performance, and overall health.
A realistic earlier schedule will include things you can achieve and are within your means. The right sleep schedule can improve sleep quality. Genetics could also affect your sleep schedule.
You can also use natural sleep aids, such as melatonin supplements, to help you fall asleep easier. Melatonin supplementation can also decrease sleep duration. Using drugs as a sleep aid may induce undesirable side effects such as fatigue.
Light can change your sleeping habits and affect your mood because it suppresses melatonin, a hormone important for your circadian rhythm. Blinds or blackout curtains can foster a dark sleeping environment, making falling and staying asleep easier.
If your bedroom has lots of artificial light when you sleep, use an eye mask or curtains to block out all the light and immerse yourself in total darkness. Darkness tells the brain and the body that it's time to rest.
Artificial light can also work but may negatively impact your circadian rhythm to the sleep-wake cycle. Artificial light, especially blue light, reduces the body's melatonin production, making you feel less tired.
It is best practice to bask in the natural light or a natural light lamp for at least 10 minutes after waking up. Exposure to light will make you feel more awake and reset your daily circadian rhythm. Four to five hours of light can help you become less sensitive to bright light in the nighttime.
Dim the lights and wear blue-light-blocking glasses before your bedtime. Avoid turning on bright lights or using your cell phone flashlight when you wake up at night.
Developing good sleep habits can also help with your sleep schedule. Sleep hygiene is a healthy lifestyle practice that will improve sleep.
Good sleep hygiene includes; making your bedroom environment dark, quiet, clean, and cool. You can use blackout curtains depending on how much light enters the room when you sleep.
Other sleep hygiene practices include; high-quality bed sheets and a proper supportive pillow, pre-bed activities like reading or writing in a journal, exercising regularly, avoiding afternoon or evening naps, and limiting caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol intake before bed.
The early chronotype is correlated with increased happiness and greater well-being, which decreases the risk of depression and schizophrenia. Early sunlight exposure might also affect your mental health.
Being a morning person can help reduce stress by eliminating the rush of getting ready for the day. By waking up early and not rushing to work or other obligations upon waking, you can complete more things during the day at an easier pace. Having a late chronotype is more associated with depressive symptoms and depression.
You get more tasks completed because of increased productivity due to an earlier wake-up time and having more hours. The brain is more aware in the morning, which gives you a mental boost of focus and concentration.
You have more energy throughout the day, which helps you become more productive. Being energetic can also elevate your mood and bring cheerfulness.
Another benefit is your increased sense of concentration and memory. You perform errands and tasks more efficiently when your brain can function at its best. Since most work and school are performed in the morning, you are more alert and can be more proactive and successful.
Sleep inertia is a common phenomenon experienced by many individuals after waking up. It is that feeling of grogginess, lethargy, and confusion that makes it difficult to get out of bed and start the day.
However, research shows that being an early bird can significantly reduce sleep inertia and promote better cognitive performance.
One of the main reasons why early birds experience less sleep inertia is that they tend to follow a regular sleep-wake cycle. Their bodies have adapted to waking up at a specific time, and their internal clocks are set accordingly.
As a result, they are less likely to experience the sudden interruption of deep sleep, which is known to cause sleep inertia.
Avoid drinking caffeine, alcohol or eating at night close to your bedtime. Have your last drink or meal three to four hours before sleep. Ensure your meal is at least 500 calories, and eat heavy meals during the day.
Caffeine can stay in the body for longer than 12 hours, so it's best not to consume coffee after lunchtime. A cup of coffee can neutralize adenosine, the chemical in your body that causes you to feel drowsy, which makes waking up early in the morning easier.
It can also combat sleepiness later in the day as you adjust to a new sleeping schedule. Hunger depends on your chronotype clock and the time you eat. A night owl will usually eat their food later in the evening.
Waking up early in the morning gives you space to reflect, complete things to clear up your to-do list, meditate, eat a healthy breakfast, watch the sunrise, and enjoy some quality quiet self-care.
All you need to do is decide to wake up earlier, then set the date and begin. You get to start the day slowly, so you won't walk out the door rushed and flustered.
Night owls are seen as lazy or unproductive but are not inferior to morning people. Waking up earlier makes you feel refreshed and depends on your circadian rhythms. Both early birds and night owls can feel happy, productive, and healthy.
The only difference is that people with late chronotypes must get enough sleep to feel those things.
Ideally, you should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night if you plan on an early wake up.
The contents of this article are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any health-related changes or if you have any questions or concerns about your health. Anahana is not liable for any errors, omissions, or consequences that may occur from using the information provided.