3 simple tricks to waking up early when you're not a morning person

how to become a morning person
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Anything worse than the 'morning people' who bound out of bed, ready for a 6 am HIIT session without so much as an espresso, before sailing into the office ready to kickstart the day? No, there is not. If you fall into the other camp – the kind that struggles to get any shut-eye before midnight and is only fully awake come midday – know that you're not alone.

The thing is, being a night owl isn't your fault. Humans have different ‘chronotypes’ – tendencies to want to wake or sleep at specific times – and they’re influenced by genetics.

That means there will be times when your chronotype doesn’t match your lifestyle. So, if you're being forced to be an early riser against your will, know that waking up early doesn’t always have to be a slog. Below, a handful of simple hacks to make waking up early a teensy bit more bearable...

How to wake up early

Shift temperatures

First thing, wash your face and hands with cold water or open a window for some cool air, suggests Matt Walker, a sleep scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California.

During sleep, you’re in mini-hibernation but a quick temperature shift tells your brain to wake up and stimulates your cardiovascular system.

A temperature shift can also add provide your body with a mild shock which is actually a good thing. While you produce cortisol in the wake-up process, adding doses of the stress hormone via a mild shock – a shower ending with cold water – can help if you’re rubbing sleep from your eyes.

Get outside

Next, bask in blue light. Early morning sunshine (a form of blue light) stimulates your brain, signalling that it’s time to start the day. A quick stroll outside or opening the curtains can help prep your body for the day, adds neuroscientist Dr Claudia Aguirre.

If that's not an option you could try a SAD lamp too, which simulates the sunlight and is often used for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD); a condition that affects around one in 15 people and in which the onset or resurgence of depression is related to the changing seasons.

Time when you exercise

Finally, some good news for night owls: exercising in the evening might work in your favour. Contrary to popular belief, researchers now believe that evening exercise could actually help improve your sleep – making waking up an easier job in the morning too.

'Evening exercise can boost the amount of time you sleep by 15 minutes,' says Walker, who tackles the topic in the Matt Walker Podcast, a series called Sleep and Exercise.

Better yet, new studies have shown that even exercising up to two hours before bed is shown to take the half the time it takes you to fall asleep, boosting REM sleep by 20%. That might mean better quality sleep and fewer flat whites needed upon waking.

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