Have you always thought of yourself as a night owl? Or, maybe you always find yourself getting up and going to sleep when it’s light outside. Even those that we call morning people, are genetically programmed to get up at specific times of the day. It is our internal clock, our circadian rhythms, which naturally tell us when it is time to get up.
Each and every person is programmed to a natural cycle. This is the body’s way of letting us know that it either has enough sleep or not enough. The proper amount of sleep is critical to so many bodily functions, that you should pay attention to your circadian rhythm. This is not to say that you cannot shift your rhythm and become a morning person. The key to becoming a morning person, is to develop habits and change your circadian rhythm to adjust to a different schedule. As long as you continue to get the required amount of sleep each evening, you will eventually become a morning person. Here are some helpful hints to help you with the transition:
1. It is best to limit the amount of artificial light in the evenings and be sure that you get an abundance of natural light in the morning to help shift your sleep cycle. If you wish to go to bed at 10 pm and be up at 6 am, you should shut off any lights by 9:30 pm. This will allow your body to start going through its shut-down phase and prepare for sleep. On the opposite end, allow natural light first thing in the morning to wake your body up. If there is no natural light during that time, consider a sunlight lamp that will be set to automatically go on.
2. Habits or routines typically take 21 days to mature. You may have to force yourself to get up at 6 am every morning, but within a month, it will be routine and a habit. Stick with it!
3. Change your exercise routines to be done in the morning. Most morning people find they have more energy and are able to get up easier in the morning because of this. And, if you can incorporate your exercise routines to be done outside, it will give you even more natural energy. Many morning people find that yoga or stretching is an incredible way to wake up in the morning.
4. Some morning people find that mediating before getting out of bed is relaxing and awakens them fully. This is thought to open all receptors in your body and naturally allows your body to awaken and begin the day.
5. Most morning people find they have the most mental energy within the first several hours of the day. Many successful people acclaim this is the reason for their success and claim that writing in a journal upon waking helps to not only awaken them, but get the creative juices flowing.
It can be hard to transition from being a night owl to a morning person, especially if you do not make changes to your schedule. Your body needs its down time to heal and recoup, so you may find yourself making changes to your daily schedule in order to accommodate your new sleep schedule. DO NOT cut back on your sleep! Try some of the suggestions above as you become a morning person.
Written by Tammy Moorehead, CHHP