Do you cringe at the thought of opening your curtains in the morning to let the bright sunshine in after 5 alarms (because you and the ‘snooze’ button are well acquainted)? Well, good news for you because there is a way to retrain your body to be a morning person… Your body and your boss will be thankful because you will have time for a good breakfast in the morning and you will also start arriving to work on time if you follow these simple steps to becoming a morning person:
Lower Your Body Temperature at Night
“To fall asleep and get into deep sleep, you have to reach your daytime low body temperature,” says Spencer. To get there, move your workout to earlier in the day so it doesn’t interfere with bedtime, limit hot showers at night, and drop your apartment’s temp by a few degrees, she says. The cozy duvet on your bed will be calling your name in no time.
Limit Your Nighttime Exposure to Light
Your internal clock is controlled by light. “Whether it’s TVs or screens, all of those devices that shine light at our eyes are ‘awake-promoting’ and not ‘sleep-promoting,’” says Spencer. Help your clock start to shift naturally by cutting your exposure an hour before bedtime. Not ready to kick your Netflix-in-bed habit? Turning your iPad light to low could help you catch Zzz’s more quickly after the credits roll.
You don’t need to shut yourself off from the outside world, but it’s a good habit to stay calm as it gets late. That means avoiding stressful work e-mails if they can wait until the morning, horror movies, and intense novels that keep your mind spinning. “All of those things just cause mental stimulation that you need to have turned off well enough before bedtime,” says Spencer. Sorry, Girl on the Train. You’re strictly a commute-only read.
Reach for Melatonin as a Last Resort
In the beginning of your efforts to become a morning person, a dose of melatonin can help. “Taking it a little before you want to start falling asleep helps give you a little extra boost to feel sleepy,” says Spencer. Once you’re stable, lay off, though. Eventually, you want to rely on your body’s natural melatonin production rather than the pill form.
Wake Up to Morning Light
Getting to sleep is only half the battle. “Helping yourself wake up is just as important as helping yourself fall asleep,” says Spencer. Immediately open your curtains or head outside to catch some early rays. As a bonus, early to rise likely means early to bed that night. “If you’re able to alert yourself and wake up at an earlier hour, you’re going to be more prepared to go to bed at an earlier time,” says Spencer. And that means you’ll be even closer to tricking your internal clock into its new pattern.