"Night owl" is not a term anyone has ever used to describe me. Even in my younger years, before kids made me more tired than I ever thought possible, I didn’t stay up late. I can comfortably last until around 10 p.m., and then it’s time for bed. But getting up early doesn’t bother me. I like to get a lot of things done early in the day, including exercise. So most days around 5:30 a.m., you’ll find me on the treadmill or in front of the T.V. doing an exercise video.
I know people who say that although they’ve tried hard to become a morning person, it never happens. My mother-in-law, for instance, does her treadmill run around 8:30 every night- just as I’m winding down for the day. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another. But sleep experts say that with time and effort, it is possible to reset your biological clock and become that morning person you’ve always hoped to be.
Your biological clock controls your circadian rhythm, which controls your sleep-wake cycles. It’s a little more complicated than just going to bed earlier and suddenly being able to wake up at 5 a.m., rested and alert. Sleep experts suggest starting by getting up 20 minutes earlier each day until eventually you’re getting up at the desired time. After a while, you’ll start getting tired a little earlier each night. It’s also important to get moving as soon as the alarm goes off. Don’t lay in bed hitting the snooze button. Experts also say that light has a direct effect on our circadian rhythms. That means you’ll want to turn the lights on when you wake up, and when you’re trying to fall asleep, keep the light to a minimum. That means no T.V. or computer in bed.
Making these changes and sticking with them consistently requires a lot of self-discipline. It’s easy to fall back into old habits and routines. "Besides computer screens, the biggest saboteur for an aspiring morning person is the weekend. Staying up later on Friday or sleeping in on Saturday sends the brain an entirely new set of scheduling priorities. By Monday, a 6 a.m. alarm will feel like 4 a.m."
Learn more about how to Wake Up Naturally to a More Energized Day, and how you can Learn to Love A.M. Exercise.
Are you a morning person? If not, have you tried to become one? What did you do, and did you find any success?