According to The Body Clock Guide to Better Health only about 1 in 10 of us is a true morning person, which means that for 90% of us the struggle to get out of bed is very *real*!
But picture a world where there are no queues in Starbucks, no phones ringing off the hook and no kids yelling ‘MUM!’. It’s called early morning and it’s often the only time in the day where you can claw back a little me-time.
Thankfully, even if you’re not a naturally early riser, you can still fake entry to the pre-breakfast party because while around 50% of our brain’s body clock is dictated by our age and our genetics, the other half can be trained.
Here’s how to use your mind to shape shift from night owl to morning lark…
Give yourself an early AM Reward
Let’s face it, no one would necessarily choose to hop out of bed early doors, unless of course you’ve got a flight to catch. So give yourself a reason to get up by planning something exciting early doors. It could be as simple as having a hot cup of coffee in peace, having a long, leisurely bath or working out with a friend. Giving yourself something to smile about as soon as you get up is a great way to train your brain into learning to love early mornings.
Ease yourself in
And don’t over-do day one. To learn to really embrace being an early riser you need to ease yourself into your new regime gradually. Imagine what you want your ultimate wake-up goal to be, for example 6am instead of 8am, then edge towards it in 15-20 minute increments every day. Experts believe this will give you a better chance of success than suddenly shifting your alarm clock two hours earlier because you should get sleepier 15-20 minutes earlier each night, rather than feeling totally shattered and over it on day one.
Get a smart alarm app
Snooze buttons are not a MPIT (Morning Person In Training)’s friend. Yes they’re designed to allow people to slumber without falling back into deep sleep cycle, but that can hinder your transformation into an early riser. Instead try a smartphone alarm app such as Smart Alarm or Math Alarm, that requires solving a problem to turn it off or set it to snooze. Other equally annoying clever apps include the alarm on Wake N Shake Alarm Clock (79p, iTunes), which only stops after you’ve shaken your phone enough times, while Step Out Of Bed (£1.49, iTunes) and Walk Me Up (free, iTunes, android) require you walk a number of steps before they stop ringing.
Let in the light
Fling open those curtains (if you sleep naked you might want to watch out for the neighbours) or flick on that light switch because light, whether natural or artificial, tells the brain that the day has begun and sends signals to the body to stop making melatonin, the hormone that helps regular sleep. On the flipside you need to turn those light levels right down within 1-2 hours of your desired bedtime. Before that late-night social media scroll, remember that blue light from a computer screen or device can disrupt sleep and set your early riser body clock right back.
Switch your am/pm routine
You know how your mum used to lecture you about laying out your clothes the night before. Well turns out she might have been onto something. Research reveals that we spend over 12 minutes just deciding what to wear in the mornings. So switching that part of your morning routine, and other time-hungry tasks like making your lunch and packing your gym bag, to the night before can save precious minutes in the morning. Plus a shortened schedule in the AM has the effect of flipping your perspective into something altogether more positive. Instead of waking up to the prospect of personal chores, you can look forward to reclaiming some precious you time.
Ditch those weekend lie ins
Ever wondered why you wake up just before your alarm? No you’re not psychic, it’s down to your internal body clock, which is a sucker for routine. So if you want to be a true morning person those Saturday/Sunday snoozefests have got to go. Experts suggest avoiding big difference between wake-up times on weekdays and weekends, or you could risk re-setting your new rise and shine regime. So those Saturday morning circuit classes are non negotionable. On the plus side it means you’ll have no reason to cancel a breakfast date.
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