It’s not exactly breaking news – you know you should be getting more sleep. It’s better for your skin, your brain, your health and your entire life. If you are among the millions of Americans who swear they’re nocturnal, know this: becoming a morning person is a learned skill. All it takes are a few life hacks… and maybe a few unpleasant mornings in the beginning, but you can train yourself to be an early bird.
1. Set personalized goals
For one week, make a physical note of your late evening and early morning schedule within a 12 hour window. Don’t go out of your way to change anything – simply note the activities after they occur. Identify trends and obstacles that may be holding you back from:
Getting a uninterrupted, full night of sleep
Waking up at a specific time
After assessing the data, set between two or three goals that align with your new sleep mission. Just remember, if your goal is to wake up several hours earlier, start small and move your alarm back in 15 minute intervals once you have grown accustomed to each gradual time change.
2. Makeover your bedroom
A quality mattress is arguably the most important investment toward a good night’s sleep. You may have a mattress that’s too soft or too firm for your body, causing you restlessness and pain. Consider purchasing a new mattress from a trusted family-owned and locally-operated sleep store like Mattress360. Clear your nightstand of clutter and keep only the items you’ll use at bedtime like a crossword puzzle or sleep mask. Embarking on a weekend redecorating project may make your room more inviting when it’s time to catch some shut-eye.
3. Commit to a 30-day routine
Like any goal, transitioning to the Early Bird Club requires commitment. This doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to fail at times – only that you should put a concrete plan in place and practice consistency. Develop a nighttime ritual free of electronics and activities that require a lot of energy. Instead, do things like reading, journaling, taking a bath, meditating, or drinking tea. Additionally, you should aim to arise at the same time each morning regardless of work, school, or weekend obligations.
4. Rise with the sun
Just as darkness helps regulate melatonin and your circadian rhythm, light influences the natural inclination to get out of bed. Try to avoid bright lights at bedtime (yes, the e-reader counts) and learn how to use sunlight as a natural stimulant. Try one of the following:
Leave your blinds open or cracked before bed
Have breakfast on your patio
Exercise outside before work
(Pro tip: go to bed in your workout clothes so you’ll have no excuse to ditch that run)
5. Use electronics for good, not evil
If you rely on your cell phone to wake up, deselect the snooze feature and set no more than two alarms: one for the time you want to arise and the other as a backup. Charge your phone on the opposite side of the room. That way you’ll be less tempted to scroll through Facebook in bed. Even better, dust off your old digital alarm clock and power down electronics entirely at night. While you’re at it, learn how to program your coffeemaker so that you have a fresh cup of Joe coaxing you out of bed and into the kitchen.
Some people may appear to be hard-wired for mornings (does the overly cheerful coworker ring a bell?), but at Mattress360, we know that anyone can be an early riser. You first need to have the desire and you can then create healthier habits to follow. That’s not just pillow talk, it really is that simple!