Hit snooze a few times before getting up every morning? Just face it, you’re delaying the inevitable! Getting up and out of bed as soon as your alarm starts blaring is a difficult task for most of us. But how can you change your mindset and become more of a morning person than you currently are?
Step 1: Determine your Chronotype?
My chrono-what? Your chronotype is basically the natural sleep and wake cycles your body’s clock is tuned in to. This dictates whether or not you are fundamentally an early bird or a night owl and at what times during the day you function at your best. Finding your chronotype allows you to structure your day according to what your brain is optimised for doing at particular times.
Let’s say you are a classic morning person. You have no problem waking and getting up when your alarm goes off, in fact, you might not even need an alarm. Your mind is clear and your body is refreshed, ready to tackle the day ahead. This person will benefit from scheduling crucial meetings or intense brain work earlier in the day.
Whereas a night owl will struggle to get up in the morning or will often sleep in if they had the choice. They might struggle to get up and get going in the morning. This simply means that your body and mind is hardwired to function better later in the day, possibly even at night time.
Take the quiz and find out what chronotype you are.
Step 2: Restructure your day
Once you’ve figured out what type of chronotype you have, you can start structuring your day to suit your internal rhythm more naturally. Your body’s rhythms are personalized to your DNA and may or may not fit within society’s general structure of a 9-5 workday. This could cause problems if you’re not harnessing your abilities at the right time. If you’re forcing yourself to do tasks as soon as you wake up or just before you nod off when your mind and body is just not ready to function at those times.
Use what you learnt about your chronotype and use it to your advantage, even if your workplace doesn’t allow for full-on flexi-time. If you’re a ‘morning person’ schedule crunchtime meetings and important tasks earlier in the day, and more mindless/unimportant tasks for later during the workday and vice versa. This could give you that extra bit of oomph when getting up in the morning, knowing you have tailor-made your day to suit your brain!
Step 3: Fake it till you make it
So you’re not a morning person, but would like to be one? Mimicking the routines of successful early risers is the best way to mould your brain into forming new patterns and rhythms. Watch this video for some of the things you can do to become a morning person.
According to Sleep.org, your body basically knows what it should be doing and when. Pretty smart right? Your chronotype or circadian rhythm responds to environmental cues — like sunlight — that tells your body to feel drowsy or alert, depending on the time of day. So use that to your advantage.
When your alarm clock starts ringing, get up and open the curtains. Or drink your cup of coffee on the stoep, or go for a walk in the park — reinforcing the natural cue that you should be awake and ready to go!
Create a morning routine that will help focus your mind for the day ahead. Once this routine is established, you’ll be up and at ‘em in no time. Humans are creatures of habit, so add a few new rituals to your morning to get you going.
Plan your day the night before in order of most important to least important. Eliminating the decision-making process first thing in the morning of what you should be doing that day frees up a lot of brainpower to tackle the things that are important on your list.
Tick at least one productive thing off your list in the morning. This wave of accomplishment can set the tone and carry you through the rest of the day.
Don't force yourself to be part of the 5 am club if you can't fall asleep before midnight. Set realistic goals and remember, even though you still need to get enough sleep. Yes, getting up earlier than usual will be super hard for the first couple of days or even weeks. But clocking off a little earlier, being prepared for the day ahead and setting up your day for success will make it so much easier.
Are you a morning person? Or do you desperately want to become one? Share your thoughts with us!