I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, enjoying working late at night fuelled by caffeine and inspired by candle light. The problem however is that as I got older, I was noticing that I was sleeping in later and losing more and more of the next day. So with that in mind I decided to change things around at the start of the year and try to become a ‘morning person’.
Not only did I manage to reverse 20 years of habit and flip round my body clock, I turned myself into someone who loves mornings and is now fast asleep by 11pm each evening and up at 7am raring to go the next day. Here are 7 tips that helped me change my routine – they worked a treat for me and can work for you too.
1. Go to bed earlier
Ok, I’ll start with the obvious one. To get up earlier in the morning you need to go to bed earlier the night before, otherwise you will be creating a serious sleep deficit.
I wouldn’t advise going to bed crazy early though. 11pm worked well for me as it allowed me to get the recommended 8 hours sleep (National Sleep Foundation recommend 7-9 for most adults) and be ready to rise fresh and rested at 7am the next morning.
2. Cut the caffeine and replace it with protein
I was one of those people that couldn’t get going in the morning (or mid day!) without a serious caffeine fix.
The thing is though, all the coffee does is temporarily raise your metabolism to get rid of the caffeine. Yes, it might make you more alert for an hour or so, but it quickly wears off.
What your body actually needs is some proper nutrition. Blood sugar crashes at night and the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is very true.
Personally I recommend eggs in the morning, one of the best sources of protein and healthy fats, but if you want some carbs too then go for a wholegrain such as oats, which will keep you fuelled until lunch time.
Whatever you go for make sure there it contains a decent serving of protein (and the same goes for other meals through the day).
3. Drink an ice cold glass of water
To give your metabolism a kick start, drink a cold glass of water first thing in the morning.
Your body needs to heat the water up to core temperature and will fire your metabolism into action to achieve this, making you feel more alert.
4. Start a morning exercise regime
I’ve always been into fitness, but I used to be one of those people that would go to the gym in the evening. I’ve now flipped this round and do my workout first thing in the morning and I actually now do it all at home.
I normally have my breakfast first and give it an hour or so to settle before working out for 30 minutes around 8am, but if you prefer to work out on an empty stomach then you can flip that round.
I do a mix of resistance training and cardio (exercising 5 days a week), but find a fitness regime that’s right for you and stick to it.
Exercising in the morning wakes up your body, makes you more alert, allows you to burn calories through the day and gives you something to look forward to getting out of bed for. I highly recommend it!
5. Don’t set multiple alarms
This one is really important. When I had to get up early for a meeting, or to catch a flight etc, I would set multiple alarms – generally starting about an hour before I had to get up.
This is totally counter productive.
Firstly, you’re actually getting less sleep as that last hour is just dozing between alarms when you could have been getting a proper sleep and secondly you are basically telling your brain that you don’t want to get up.
Set one alarm (or ideally no alarms) and get up when it goes off.
Don’t give yourself ‘5 more minutes’, it will just make you more tired. To become a morning person you have to change your whole mindset and wake up looking forward to getting out of bed and enjoying the morning.
6. Leave the curtains open
Unless you have particularly bright street lights outside your house then I would really recommend this one.
Leaving the curtains open will let natural sunlight in first thing in the morning and this will tell your instincts it’s time to get out of bed.
Additionally if the sun is shining through your window you’ll be keen to get up and make the most of the day!
7. Tell yourself you are now a morning person
Ok, my final tip is all about attitude. If you don’t consider yourself to be a morning person then you will never be one.
Despite my late nights I was one of those people that would actually wake up quite early and generally not that tired, but would still allow myself to drift back to sleep and stay in my bed for another couple of hours.
I thought I should be tired, so I was.
Tell your brain that you are now a morning person and that you can’t wait to get out of bed!
Combining this with going to bed earlier, a healthy diet, an exercise regime and the other tips above will ensure that it quickly becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and before you know it you will be one of those chirpy, cheery morning people that used to drive you mad!
Believe me, it’s worth it. I now feel I have much more time and I look forward to enjoying the morning sunshine. Don’t get me wrong I still have the odd late night, but overall I don’t think I will ever go back to my old ways.
So, that’s my top 7 tips for becoming a morning person. They worked for me and if you are ready to change your routine around they will work for you too.
Do you have any more tips you would like to share?
Julia is a 40 something diet and fitness fanatic from the UK who enjoys sharing tips and tricks that have helped her achieve her goals.