I’m sitting here at 5 AM while the rest of the house sleeps. I love this time of day, when everything (and everyone) is completely still and quiet. I think we all have natural rhythms; when our creativity flows, our energy peaks, and other times when we need to just chill. We might naturally fall into a rhythm of when we thrive, but sometimes becoming a morning person is the only way to fit it all in. Here’s what I’ve found helps leaving bed a little less painful:
How to Become a Morning Person
Make the first thing you do enticing.
Typically we have a reason for wanting to get up early – working out, starting a meditation practice, or just getting some damn peace and quiet before the rest of the house starts screaming. If your reason is productivity related – don’t lead with that. What I mean is, you are never going to want to leave your warm, cozy bed to go on an 8 mile run. Eventually, once it’s a habit, maybe. But on day one of early rising? No.
At first (or always if you’re like me) make the first thing you do something appealing. A warm cup of coffee and your favorite book. A matcha latte and time to scroll through Instagram. Don’t create a mile long list of self care and fixing the world to-do’s on the first few weeks of early rising. Let yourself ease into it and pick an activity that makes you want to get out of bed. For me, having my matcha latte every morning is truly appealing. That quiet, peaceful time that I get to sip on something tasty and do whatever I want is enticing and I‘m willing to get out of bed for it.
Start the night before.
If you have to run around finding everything you need, your morning instantly becomes chaotic and bed will sound really good. Think about what you want to do in the morning. For me that means drinking a latte and working out. I lay out my workout clothes every single night and the first thing I do is put them on in the morning. (Then I put a big comfy robe over top). I have a little tea station with my water kettle and all of my supplies waiting. Everything is seamless because it was organized the night before.
Put your phone across the room.
If your phone is your alarm, make sure you have to physically get out of bed in order to turn it off. Preferably, set it to airplane mode an hour before bed, and plug it in across the room with your clothes right next to it. That way it acts as a little trigger to get up immediately and put on your clothes. I also like this because it disables you from staring at your phone up until going to bed at night. win-win!
Go to bed earlier.
Speaking of the night before, putting yourself to bed early is crucial to a productive morning. Waking up at 5AM when you went to bed at 1AM is never going to happen. At this point in life you probably know how much sleep you need to function optimally. Figure out what time you want to wake up, do some basic math, and get yourself in bed thirty minutes before you need to be asleep.
If you’re waking up early in the dead of winter sunlight probably won’t happen right away. But try to get some sunlight within the first few hours of waking. Fifteen minutes of sunlight exposure in the morning helps set your circadian rhythm so things like melatonin production can happen (and falling asleep earlier will follow). If you’re struggling with sleep, this morning sunlight can be life changing. So take a walk or setup your coffee sipping by a window.
Move your body.
Like sunlight, just make this happen at some point in the morning, it doesn’t have to be first thing and it also doesn’t have to be an actual workout. Personally, I need about an hour of quiet time with some caffeine before I’m functional enough to move. I have this immense hatred of noise right when I wake up, so the idea of music and an energetic instructor first thing is vomit inducing. I find a 7:15 workout is perfect if I’m up at 5:30. Find your personal sweet spot! As far as what you do – that’s up to you. Maybe it’s 5 minutes of yoga and stretching. Maybe it’s an hour long workout class. Or maybe it’s a solo run or a gentle walk to coffee. Just do something to get your blood flowing.
Keep electronics off.
Okay, so now I’m a hypocrite because I already told you to scroll through instagram while you sip your coffee. And honestly, if that’s the only thing appealing enough to get you up, fine. But ideally, keep your phone on airplane mode or off (it should honestly never live outside of these two modes while you sleep anyway). The reason is that there are too many things on your phone that make you instantly reactive – work emails, texts, social media messages. Your morning should feel peaceful, creative, and different from the rest of the day (that’s the whole point)! Turning on technology robs you of the whole appeal of being a morning person.
Once you’re a pro, slowly add in the to-do list.
I’m the kind of person that would show up day one of becoming a morning person with my perfectly curated morning routine, written down, color coded and ready to go (eye roll). Don’t be like me. We’re starting slow here. Remember that enticing activity you chose step one? That’s all you’re gonna do for a while. Then, once getting up is second nature (21 days in a row is a good goal) you can add in the other things you want to do. Write out your ideal morning. Add those things into your morning routine one at a time until they become part of your second nature. But always, keep that first thing you do something appealing. Here’s my ideal morning, for reference:
- Wake up, put on workout clothes, a comfy robe and head to the kitchen.
- Make my matcha latte in the quiet (if I’m feeling really fancy I’ll light a candle).
- Head to the couch or the porch depending on weather, sip on tea while writing (can be journaling or writing in blog but it’s whatever I feel like, not pre-planned).
- Meditate for 5-10, or just take a few breaths while not looking at a screen.
- Pop in a podcast and walk to my workout.
Everything on my list is appealing (for me). But guess what, if I had to workout very first thing it would not be appealing. The only reason I like it is because I know how good I’ll feel when it’s done, and I had 60 minutes to gather my sanity before I had to get going. Write out your list and slowly build up to doing it all. And voilà, a morning person is born!