Does the idea of waking up any earlier than you already have to fill you with dread and have you reaching to slap the snooze button before your alarm even goes off? Why put yourself through the agony of getting up an hour or even half an hour earlier than you already do? What kind of masochism is this? We know it can be a total drag at first but, if you can find a way that works for you, waking up even a little bit earlier in the morning can make you feel infinitely more productive and positive throughout the day.
Not convinced? Research (and experience) shows that people who get up earlier are more productive, better organized and feel more prepared to take on the day. When you get up an hour earlier, you have a whole extra chunk of time before all the stresses and fatigues of the day have trampled you down. As long as you’re getting enough sleep, that hour can be the part of your day when you’re most energized and you can get things like working out and organizing your schedule out of the way or even use it as a little undisrupted (and non-guilty) “Me Time.”
A lot of us will push tasks off onto a time “after work” but that only turns into a few hours and we’re never as energized as we’d like to be after working for eight hours or more. That “after work” workout can turn into a half-assed endeavour or we might just skip it altogether. Don’t even get us started on all those hobbies, household tasks and things we “really should do” that we never seem to have the energy for. At 6:00 a.m. there’s nothing better to do than those tasks (if you’re only awake for it). Plus, traffic is way better if you get on your commute before everyone else is out of bed.
So, how do we tap into this mythical pool of energy and productivity? It all comes down to getting yourself into a routine where you go to bed at a good time and make sure you’re totally prepped the night before.
Prep everything the night before
Getting out of bed can feel like a gargantuan task when just opening your eyes sets off a crushing avalanche of all the things you need to do as soon as your feet hit the floor. Ease Morning You’s mind by getting as much as you can done before you get into bed. Pack up lunches for the next day while you’re putting away the dinner leftovers. Get your work bag and purse all ready to go. Lay out your clothes for the next day and encourage your kids to do the same (less drama for you when you’re trying to get them out the door). You could even try preparing some overnight oats for breakfast so you don’t even have to do that in the morning.
Use classic tricks to get yourself to sleep earlier
If you’re a night owl, it can be difficult to completely switch your sleeping pattern. You might have the very best of intentions, but if you’re lying in bed awake for hours at night, you’re not going to be well-rested when that dreaded alarm goes off at an even earlier hour than usual. If you really want to change your habits and get to sleep earlier, there are a few things you can do.
- Avoid big meals four hours before bed so your body isn’t working to digest when you’re trying to sleep.
- Establish a consistent bedtime that allows you seven to eight hours of sleep, based on your needs.
- Avoid screens right before bed.
- Utilize “sleep kit” accessories like eye masks, ear plugs and white noise machines to create a relaxing environment.
- Keep your room cool and use a sunrise simulator alarm clock to make your wake-up more natural.
Seriously, stop hitting snooze
Smacking the snooze may seem like a good idea (and be oh so satisfying) when you need “just five more minutes” but it’s only harming you. Seriously. The “waking up, falling asleep, waking up” routine is confusing your body and making you groggy once you finally drag yourself out of bed. Put your alarm clock across the room and when it goes off, get up and stay up. It may seem like a harsh way to start the day, but after some time, you’ll feel better for it.
Do physical activity in the morning
It may sound like a death sentence, but working out in the morning or doing any other kind of physical activity like walking or yoga is a great way to jump-start your day. Not only will you have more energy, the activity will kick-start your metabolism and keep you energized longer throughout the day. If that doesn’t convince you, just think about how happy you’ll be when you can go straight home right after work instead of dragging yourself to the gym.
This is your chance to start journaling
There are a bunch of benefits to journaling, but it just seems like so much work. After a long day (or even an average day), it can be hard to find the motivation to put pen to paper and review the whole thing. Lots of journaling advocates and self-help gurus suggest that the best time to do your personal writing is actually when you’re fresh in the morning. Bullet journals can help you plan your day, gratitude journals can get you in a positive head space and newly-popular morning pages can boost creativity.
Now take all that extra morning time and put it to good use.