Do you wake at the break of dawn and lovingly listen to your fluttering bird friends tweet out your window, all while stretching elegantly and sliding rhythmically to the floor? And you dance on your tip-toes as you make your way to the kitchen to put on the radio and open the window or go outside and look at the sky? Probably not, unless you’re one of those morning people. And if you were, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article now, would you? Many people have a difficult time getting up in the morning, just like many find it difficult to fall asleep right away. Have you seen the hilarious meme out there “I’m not an early bird or a night owl. More like a chronically exhausted pigeon”? If that’s you, it sounds like you need a tiny bit of assistance. Those morning people don’t need any help getting up and being chipper in the morning. In a strange way, you sort of envy them. But you’re still satisfied with your nature and don’t plan on exhausting yourself early evening just to be able to wake yourself up the next day. If you find yourself stuck in a rut you needing to bring some joy back into your early mornings, read on.
15 Get energized with a workout
If waking up at 6am wasn’t bad enough, yes, you should exercise. And no one really wants to be told they should exercise, especially after being rudely woken from your peaceful slumber at the crack of dawn. There are a number of reasons you should do this. One, your gym is probably less crowded in the early-early morning before 7:30a.m. And you get less awkward stares at you huffing and puffing on the treadmill. Another is that exercising energizes you and makes you feel more awake and ready to take on the day. Not to mention, there is the added benefit of your workout boosting your metabolism, meaning you can be a little more generous with your snacking, if you want, because your body is working to burn calories quicker because of that workout. And it lasts about 8 hours, depending on the workout. While you are getting used to this morning workout thing, try a reward system where every morning you wake up and go to the gym you reward yourself with a cookie or cupcake at the local bakery.
14 Plan the night before for a stress-free morning
Know what’s very demotivating? The idea that you wake up and give yourself just enough time to shower, get changed, do your hair and make-up, pack your lunch and run out the door… probably leaving something at home at least a few times a week. Do you often rush around and leave things like your protein shake, water bottle, clothes for drinks with the girls etc. at home in your hurry to get to work? Solve this problem by packing things the night before. Put your other clothes in a bag by your purse, or by the front door; put your lunch and water bottle in a plastic bag or lunch bag and leave it in the front of the fridge; pick out your wardrobe the night before. All of these things make your morning easier, more stress-free and overall, more enjoyable. Even if you push the snooze button a few times before sauntering into the shower.
13 Take some time to appreciate the morning
You know, there are a lot of things that can be nice about the morning, depending on where you are. For one, if you are up early enough, or it’s the right time of year, you can watch the sun rise. Spending fifteen minutes skimming the newspaper or watching the news or a morning talk show can be enjoyable as well. You could also be at one with nature and drink your morning coffee or tea either on the balcony or back porch. The morning is strangely peaceful, even if you live in the city. If you wake up early enough to take things slow, it’ll also help you enjoy it if you play some music on some Bluetooth shower speakers and take the party into your apartment while you’re getting ready. Dance yourself through the morning, and don’t force yourself to rush, because that’ll stress you out. If you have time to eat anything or read some of your current novel, even better.
12 Get a good night’s sleep
Do you know what’s worse than waking up super-duper early when you are not an early bird? Waking up super-duper early when you are not an early bird AND were up until 3am the night before! Not only is it recommended that you get 6-8 hours of sleep a day for your health, it’s also good for your brain to be able to turn off for a few hours. You know your own body and how much sleep you realistically need on the regular, and sometimes, you can’t help getting less sleep because life is exciting and you don’t want to sleep through it, but the rest of the time, you can control it. Get enough sleep each night so that you can wake up the next morning without power gulping more than one coffee; and so that you can make it through your entire day without needing an energy drink. Feeling well-rested, both physically and mentally will definitely make it much easier to get up when your alarm goes off the next morning.
11 Eat an apple to jump start your day
Apples to do not contain caffeine. But that doesn’t mean they won’t do an excellent job of waking you up in the morning. Apples are considered a health fruit, but do contain natural sugars. These naturally occurring carbohydrates can provide more consistent energy than the fake boost of a coffee (with sugar or sweetener) and it has natural fiber so it’s good for your health. Apples take longer to digest, forcing your metabolic reactions to occur and keep you feeling more awake. Eating an apple will help you enjoy your morning because you are eating breakfast, which is healthy first thing in the morning, it’s a fruit so you can put a check mark in the daily recommended fruit and veggie column of the food guide, and it doesn’t have the same crash as the coffee gives you once you’ve digested it. Not only does an apple a day keep the doctor away; but an apple a day can help jump start your day.
10 Go for a refreshing walk
Similar to exercising in the morning, going for a walk in the morning helps wake up your body, which helps wake up your mind. It’s a little bit less exerting than running, or a gym trip, or squats-on-squats-on-squats but shares the similar effect of helping you wake up. And the fresh air will help too. Fresh air helps your brain, improves your blood pressure and keeps your immune system working strong. Grab a thermos for your coffee or tea, grab the dog (or cat) and a leash, and head out he door for a fifteen to twenty minute jaunt around the neighborhood. You’ll feel way more awake, way more refreshed and less angry that you got up to walk when you’re finished. Walking is proven to improve your mood, because like exercise, it releases endorphins which make you a happy camper instead of that semi-hangry, miserable morning troll that growls at everyone until at least 11am.
9 Try waking up early for a while
How would you feel about waking up extremely early 21 days in a row? It’s not even that bad; it’s not even a month. You could do it, right? Well, studies show it takes approximately 21 days to make a habit so just try it. Force yourself up each day at the same time and force yourself out of bed and into the living room, or kitchen, or shower and just be awake. You can use an obnoxious alarm, loud music and your cat to get yourself up. It’s definitely going to suck for the first few days but once your body gets used to the habit, it’s going to be way easier and way more enjoyable to be awake that early. You’ll be amazed how your body just wakes you up early after you pass the 21-day landmark. It’ll also help you fall asleep earlier and develop more regular sleep patterns if you can be consistent in your rising and shining times.
8 Pick your alarm wisely
If your body isn’t one of those automatically-wake-you-up-at-the-same-time-every-day sort of bodies, then chances are, you use an alarm clock (or one of your pets head-butt you around the same time regularly because they are hungry). But choosing an alarm can be a struggle in and of itself. You can pick something super annoying so you have to wake up to turn it off; you can pick something that is a little more pleasant, like the radio; or you can pick something that starts quietly and slowly gets louder until it goes quiet again so as to not wake you with a rude jolt. If you think an obnoxious alarm will make you angry, go with the radio or a slower, more melodic sounding noise and if you think you’ll sleep through just about anything, pick the obnoxious one… and put it on the other side of the room so you have no choice but to get out of bed to walk over to it and turn it off. And oh look, you’re out of bed now so you may as well get on with your day.
7 Stop hitting the snooze button
Do you LOVE pressing the snooze button? Because you just NEED five more minutes? Well those five extra minutes may seem like a good idea, until they have turned into thirty and you are now running off to work without washing your hair because you can’t be late for another meeting this week. Pushing your alarm is actually detrimental to your morning routine. You have been woken up, and although you may not feel fully awake yet, your brain is starting to wake up and tell your body that it’s time to get up. Pressing the snooze button confuses both your body and your brain and makes it even harder to get up some odd amount of minutes later. And it’s just like when you wake up at 2:30a.m because you have to pee; it’s going to be difficult to go back to bed anyway. Following your alarm will help create and support your morning routine, which will make you happier, more productive and less stressed about being awake at that time of day.
6 Have a routine you enjoy
Once you decide you want to start waking up early on the regular, it’s important to establish a morning routine that you enjoy, to prevent you from wanting to keep pressing snooze or rolling over and burrowing under your pillows. Whether your routine consists of coffee and the newspaper, or tea and the morning news plus some iPad gaming, if you are doing something you like, it’ll be easier to wake up and stay up. It’s like your job when you think about it. If you love what you’re doing, it doesn’t seem like work now, does it? Routines, especially ones you enjoy, help you establish good habits and make you more efficient with your ‘awake-time’. Humans are creatures of habit and partaking in the same routines each morning can give you a sense of pleasure in itself to the point where you actually look forward to waking up for your morning routine.
5 Sleep with a morning person
There’s a silly quote somewhere about true love that states that, "love is when you don’t want to go to sleep because reality is better than a dream." Well, the thing is: you have to sleep regardless or your body is going to conk out on you, so you may as well give yourself a great reason to wake up in the morning. Dating a partner, who unlike you, is a morning person, will help inspire you to wake yourself up, because they will already be awake, up, active, and probably waking you up anyway while they fling clothes around and turn on the lights and radio. Your partner can help you build and maintain habits and can offer you advice on how to wake up. It probably didn’t come easy to them in the beginning either. The option of being woken up with morning sex doesn’t hurt your cause either. Then you tick a few things off the list all in one shot: exercise, sleeping with a morning person, and choosing your alarm wisely.
4 No phones before bed
If you consider yourself to be a very connected individual, chances are, your cell phone is the last thing you check before bed and the first thing you check in the morning, even before leaving your bed. Looking at your screen actually stimulates your optic nerve, and brain, which makes it harder for you to relax and actually fall asleep. Your circadian rhythm is controlled and stimulated by light and the light from staring at your mobile device means your brain can’t produce melatonin, which makes you sleep. Therefore, your morning of waking up early is going to be far less enjoyable, because you lost unnecessary sleep the night before. And in the morning, when you are not fully awake, using your cell phone forces your brain into a frenzy while it tries to interpret emails, texts, missed calls, apps and navigating social media, all while trying to naturally stimulate your body into getting up and being more productive on its own.
3 Make yourself a delicious breakfast
You don’t have to be a gourmet chef, especially not at 6a.m. but it is proven that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And most people don’t have time to get a real one because they are so rushed and stressed in the morning with their poorly-planned routines and the fact that commuting to work can be a nightmare. Whether you’re an eggs and bacon kind of gal, or you just prefer some granola and chopped up fresh fruit, taking the time to prep something healthy and sitting and eating it will actually make your mornings more enjoyable. If chugging a delicious coffee isn’t on your morning cards, you can always have that delicious apple along with your whole wheat bagel with cheddar cheese.
2 Give yourself a good reason to wake up
Self-justification is half of the battle. Your reasons are unimportant but it’ll mean something to you on a subconscious level if you wake up for some other reason than “crap, I’m waking up early again because I think I should.” You could tell yourself you are going to be productive; you can tell yourself you want to get dinner together early and throw it in the crockpot or you can even take the garbage out now so you don’t have to do it later, when you get home and are hungry, tired and dinnerless (because you DIDN’T put the crockpot on). You can wake up early as part of your new healthy lifestyle where you make a real breakfast or go to the gym; all of those things will make it easier and make you happier to be awake before the sun comes up.
1 Be productive and accomplish things in the morning
Are you one of those people who waits until they're out of clean underwear before they panic and finally do the laundry? You are not alone. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in the morning, when you are awake and not rushing out the front door. You can catch up on your Netflix, you can read your book, you can throw in a load of laundry, start the dish washer or spend some quality time catching up with your rabbit, Buster. Just like completing menial tasks at the office, it’s easier to justify the action of waking up when you look at all of the things you accomplished. That task list makes the morning so worthwhile and more enjoyable. What are you really doing while you’re staying up anyway? You can watch television or read in the morning so start your day early and have a whole list of things done before you even walk into the office ten minutes early (for a change).