Many people would like to be among those who get up an hour early in the morning and jump-start their day with exercise, prayer or meditation, catching up on the news, or even just a few quiet peaceful moments alone. "But," they sigh, "I'm just not a morning person."
Our daily rhythm is governed by factors ranging from genetics to culture, but the truth is that a lot of it comes down to habit.
So if you want to be an early bird (or even a not-always-20-minutes-late bird), here are 10 habits that can make it happen:
1. Make a schedule.
Decide on a routine and timeline for going to bed, and stick with it. Create a schedule that gives you time to take care of routine things like packing lunch and setting out clothes and has you in bed in time for plenty of sleep.
2. Implement a routine.
A bedtime routine clues your mind and body in to what is coming. It slows down your mind and helps you calm your way into sleep and allows you to awaken more relaxed.
3. Power down.
Because the blue light emitted by electronics suppresses melatonin production, experts say to shut down anything with a screen at least a half-hour before bed, so you can begin your day feeling empowered.
4. Dim the lights.
Make sure your bedroom gets natural light... The darkness of night signals that it's time for sleep, and allow the morning light to simply wake you up.
5. Darken the space.
If you're sensitive to light, even a night light or a glowing alarm clock can shift circadian rhythms. Darken your space and allow the natural rhyme to wake you in the morning.
6. Keep it positive.
Making a list of things you are grateful for--in your mind or on paper--replaces worry with gratitude and anxiety with calm. And it allows you to sleep deeper and awaken more positive.
7. Go to bed early.
Many people underestimate the amount of sleep they need. Move your bedtime to be earlier in 15-minute increments until you wake up on your own at the time you'd like.
8. Invest in a wake-up light.
Instead of a blare of noise, wake up to simulated sunlight--in all weather and at the same time all year.
9. Disable the snooze button.
Snooze alarms actually make it harder to get up. Do away with the "ten more minutes" mindset. And allow your inner clock to set your wake up time.
10. Set yourself a motivation.
Come up with a meaningful goal you'll be able to achieve by starting the day earlier. Knowing there's a purpose behind getting out of bed earlier will help you stick with it.
If it doesn't come naturally to you, the process of becoming a morning person won't be easy. But if you hate mornings there is always a better way to become a morning person.