Are you a morning person or a night owl? It’s a common question that comes up in many conversations. If you’re a night owl you may have been stereotyped as being irresponsible or immature. The world has decided that if you aren’t in bed by a reasonable hour, you don’t have your life together. Nocturnal individuals should really cut some slack. The truth is, they just have a different circadian rhythm than morning people. That’s not their fault. But, it’s also not the healthiest lifestyle.
Becoming a morning person has many benefits. The journal Nature Communications reports that being a morning person is associated with having a lower body mass index (BMI). The same study showed that insomnia is twice as common among night owls as it is in morning people. An immersive study of anxiety and depression published in NESDA found a link between being a night owl and a higher incidence of depression. You get the idea. Ditch your nocturnal ways and you could see major upsides. Wipe that sleep crust from your eyes and try these tips for becoming a morning person.
Say No to Nighttime Activities
An expert from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing explains that the human brain likes routines because routines let us know what’s coming next. This is why giving yourself time to wind down every night is important; it tells the brain that it’s time to sleep soon. Overscheduling your evening with activities robs you of this precious wind-down time. Try to end all scheduled activities a couple of hours before bed so you have time to relax.
Our eating schedule plays a large role in the rest of our day, and if you eat too close to bedtime, you could find yourself tossing and turning at night. Experts at Cleveland Clinic recommend eating at least three hours before bed. Eating any closer to bedtime could cause your digestive process to keep you up.
Avoid Long Daytime Naps
Who doesn’t love a good daytime snooze? A short nap can help you press that reset button and wake up feeling refreshed for the second half of your workday. However, Mayo Clinic warns that taking too long of a nap during the day can disrupt night sleep. Keep naps to 20 or 30 minutes if you don’t want to pay the price when it’s time for those real Z’s.
Make the Wakeup Rewarding
Humans are motivated by pleasure, so make your mornings enjoyable. Keep a favorite food around to have for breakfast. Put on a TV show that you love while you get dressed and do your hair. Go for a quick walk and run into all the cute dogs out for their morning stroll – hey, whatever gets you going. Find something that you can really only enjoy in the mornings and treat yourself to it first thing when you wake up.
Get Up When a Sleep Cycle Ends
You’ve likely experienced this: you wake up on your own, earlier than you want, go back to sleep, and are abruptly woken later by your alarm. Getting up the first time felt a little easier, and for good reason. Typically, when you wake on your own, you are naturally finishing a sleep cycle. Experts at The Sleep Foundation say that that’s when it’s easiest to get up. So try this: when you wake up on your own – even if it’s earlier than you’d like – just get up. You could find you feel more rested than when you hit snooze.
Move Your Alarm
If the snooze button is your partner in crime, then you need to part ways – literally. Put your alarm on the loudest volume setting and then move it far away. Put it across the room. Put it in another room (unless you have roommates that will murder you for that). This forces you to get up and move your body in order to hit the snooze button. Once you reach your alarm, you’ll probably just stay out of bed.
Do Morning Prep At Night
If you’re going to become a morning person, mornings should feel enjoyable – not rushed and stressed. So handle any morning prep the night before. Pack your lunch, lay out your outfit and set that coffee pot on auto-brew. These little adjustments can buy you 15 to 30 minutes in the morning to relax and enjoy the AM.