Coffee might get you out of bed and going about your day but if you really want to retrain your brain and body to be an early bird, you're going to need more than just a cup of joe.
Here is a list of six things to alter in your daily routine to make waking up and “getting the worm,” (so to speak) as easy, painless and even fun as possible.
Bright eyes. Light tells your brain to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that aids in sleep and drowsiness and instead to stimulate the production of a counter hormone, serotonin. Serotonin regulates feelings of happiness and well-being. Thus, if you stumble around in the darkness shortly after waking, chances are that revving up for the rest of your day will come as a challenge. According to the UCLA Sleep Center, our circadian “clock” is largely set by light, especially sunlight. Getting outside early in the morning will help you reset your circadian clock and aid in your journey to become a morning go getter. Might we suggest a sunrise run or outdoor stretch.
AM Rewards. Get excited to wake up! Let the first thing you do in the morning be something that you love. It's like giving yourself a small daily reward. Whether it be a cup of coffee, a long hot shower, meditating, working out with a friend or journaling; greeting the morning with a smile and the anticipation of something you love is a great way to train your brain to embrace the early AM hours
Sweat Out the Sleepiness. Sometimes the best way to get ready for your day is to spike your cortisol levels. Exercise jumpstarts your metabolism and keeps it elevated, which means you'll burn more calories and maintain higher energy all day long. Even a light walk with the dog counts. Exercise not only helps with waking up, it also aids in ensuring a restful night of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “maintaining a regular exercise program” is one of the “ten commandments of sleep”. So, whether you fit in your sweat session as the sun rises or later throughout the day, it will indeed assist you in a better nights rest, which always makes waking up a little easier.
Be prepared. Just like mom used to tell you to do, lay everything out for the morning. Preparing everything for tomorrow will ensure that you are not frantically rushing about in your morning but instead, enjoying it. Make this part of your nightly routine and start your day off on the right foot with a calm demeanor. Besides, this is the perfect opportunity to utilize that auto-start on your coffee maker.
Snuggle up. Go to bed at an appropriate time. If you are getting enough sleep, waking up before your alarm sounds in the morning shouldn't be a challenge. Ease into it if it comes across as overwhelming. Try going to bed five minutes earlier than usual and waking up five minutes earlier the next day. Keep adding five minutes to your bedtime and wake time and before you know it, you'll be set into a routine that allows you to comfortably wake and take on your day.
Sleep Cycle. One almost sure-fire way to wake up on the right side of the bed is to utilize the Sleep Cycle alarm clock. It’s a smartphone app and basically you just set your phone on your bed, Sleep Cycle analyzes your snooze patterns, and wakes you during a period of time that you specify when you are in your lightest sleep phase. Your lightest sleep phase is your natural waking point, ensuring a smooth and happy start to your day.
Rise and shine, darlings! The day is beautiful and worth getting a head start. Start implementing these six simple morning boosters and stick to them for at least a month so you can see and enjoy the benefits of officially being a morning person.