This piece first appeared on Thrive.com
You stumble into the coffee shop. It’s 6:30 in the morning. The person in front of you is -there is no polite way to describe it- perky.
You hate them. For you, “Hell is other people before breakfast.” Okay, so you’re not that much of a grump, but chances are you eye-roll when you hear someone casually claim, “I’m just a morning person.”
Like it’s that simple.
It is. You’re already a morning person. We all are, we’ve just been trained out of it by lap tops, work schedules, and Netflix. All it takes is a few simple adjustments to retrain your brain and get back in touch with your body’s innate rhythms.
- Get Your ZZZ’s:
Yes, you’ve heard this one before. In order to be a morning person, you have to wake up refreshed. And in order to wake up refreshed, you need to go to bed early enough to give your body the rest it needs. Remember, unless you’re making up for a crazy all-nighter, your body won’t binge on ZZZ’s: sleep is not a snack food.
- Take In The Light:
Light inhibits the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Think of it like espresso for your brain. Get at least 30 minutes of ambient light between 7:00–11:00 am to regulate your circadian rhythm and set your body up to begin melatonin secretion roughly 12 hours later, when it’s time to turn in. Note: While you don’t have to be in direct sunlight, make sure to remove glasses and contacts so you don’t prevent the light from reaching your eyes. Live in a cold climate or have to head straight to work? Invest in a SAD light or LiteBook.
- Set Your Intention:
What’s your first thought when you wake up? For most of us it’s something like, “Crap, I have to fight traffic, get those calls done, and face that annoyingly perky morning person at the office.” How you start your day is how it will roll, so adjust your outlook by asking yourself the right questions from the get go. 1. What are you grateful for? 2. What are you looking forward to? 3. What kind of day do you intend to have? Often our thoughts go to “How do I get through this day” when we could be dreaming up how to live them.
- Kill The Alarm Clock:
If you’re getting sufficient rest, you’ll be able to wake up naturally with an alarm clock as a back up. No alarm? That seems impossible! First off, an alarm clock is a warning of imminent danger. It should not be the way you start your day. Secondly, they create chronic sleep deprivation. Sleep is the only natural body process we try to have authority over: Would you try and stop your body mid-way through digestion? No! Elimination? Gross! So if you want to be a morning person, get your rest. You won’t be productive in spite of your sleep; you’ll be productive because of it. If you’re not ready to give up on the alarm clock, at least…
- Say Sayonara To The Snooze Button:
Ah, nothing brings more simultaneous frustration and relief than hitting the snooze button. Set your alarm for when you actually have to get up, not when you’re evening ambition says you should. Once it goes off, try not to snooze. Yes, it’s tempting, but since the average sleep cycle lasts 90–110 minutes, chances are you’ll start a cycle you won’t be able to complete, leaving you even groggier than before.
Remember, change happens when it’s not forced, so take your time and listen to your body as you adjust to the new, improved, morning-friendly you.