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How to Be a Morning Person

Two Methods:Setting an Evening RoutineWaking Up Ready to Go

People tend to say they dislike a “morning person” — one of those lucky few who are happy, full of pep, and productive in the a.m. while you’re still wrestling your snooze button. Secretly, however, most of us wish we could be one. Switching from “night owl” to being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at daybreak is no easy task, but there are simple steps to take that can make the transition more manageable. So take back your mornings without sacrificing the sleep you need!

Method 1
Setting an Evening Routine

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    Sleep more, and more consistently. Many more of us could be morning people if we would just give ourselves the chance to get some more sleep at night. Getting sufficient sleep for your body’s needs gives you the energy, health, and motivation to get things done in the morning and throughout the day.[1]
    • While seven to nine hours of sleep is the general recommendation for adults, everyone is different. One way to test your sleep needs is to go a week with no alarm clock (such as when you are on vacation). Go to bed at the same time each night, and see what the average length of time is until you wake up on your own in the morning.[2]
    • Establish a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, on weekdays and weekends. Of course it’s tempting to stay up a little late and sleep in on days when you don’t have work or other early morning responsibilities, but keeping a consistent daily routine will help train your body.[3]
    • Cut one hour from the end of each day. No, you can’t actually make the clock skip from 10 to 11 p.m., but you can leave a blank hour before bedtime during which you can’t schedule any work or other activities. You need to have time to wind down before bedtime.[4]
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    Go to bed earlier. To rise earlier, you'll need to start sleep earlier, and that can be hard if you're used to using the later hours of the night for activities such as reading, watching TV, or writing.
    • Consider going to bed earlier in increments. Start with 15 minutes earlier, with the expectation of getting up 15 minutes earlier, then gradually increase this to half an hour and then to an hour. If you do this gradually, it will give both your body and your mind time to adjust to the earlier sleeping and waking times. It will also allow you to find your happy medium between too early and too late.[5]
    • Dim your lights one hour before bedtime to facilitate the release of melatonin and make you sleepy. If the room is also comfortably cool (roughly 65-69℉), it will be easier for you to fall asleep as well.[6] Avoid bright lights, caffeine, and alcohol, as these will all wake you up more.
    • Avoid “screen time” (TV, computer, etc.) during your hour of preparation for an earlier bedtime. Even a relaxing TV show stimulates you and makes it harder to fall asleep.[7]
    • Allow yourself to read in bed. Reading is a quiet activity and it will often induce sleep when in a reclined position. Your reading doesn't have to be deadly dull, but choose bedtime reading that is not too suspenseful or strenuous.
    • If you live with a night owl who hasn't the slightest interest in changing his or her sleeping schedule, ask for a bit of slack and no noise when they finally do go to bed.
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    Find the right alarm clock and locate it smartly. Although it is important to learn to wake up earlier as a matter of will, your alarm clock is the main source of helping establish your new routine when changing over your sleeping patterns.[8]
    • Some people will do better with a blaring loud alarm, others with a gradual alarm. Try several options until you find what works best at getting you up.
    • Keep the alarm clock far enough away that you have to get out of bed to shut it off. The effort of having to rise from bed to shut it off will be enough to start waking you up properly.
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    Prepare yourself for sleeping and waking. In addition to the advice already mentioned, such as avoiding electronic devices with screens before bedtime, setting up a consistent routine for bedtime is critical to transitioning to morning person.[9]
    • Try to go to bed neither too hungry nor too stuffed. Either condition makes it harder to fall asleep.
    • Begin your morning preparations the night before. Pack your work or school bag. Lay out your clothes. Set up for breakfast. Free up some more of your newly-gained morning time.
    • Try taking a warm bath or shower before going to bed. Your body temperature will drop afterward, which is likely to make you more sleepy.[10]
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    Reflect on your purpose for getting up earlier. If you're mentally motivated to get up earlier, it can help to make a big dent in your sleeping-in excuses. Each night, create a clear mental image about why you want to get up and what you will accomplish with that morning time.[11] Common good reasons include:
    • Having quiet time to yourself before anybody else in the house is up. During this time, you can read, write, exercise, contemplate, meditate, make the evening's dinner, or even do a bit of tidying up.
    • Giving time to your faith. For many people, early morning is an important time to reflect upon or practice elements of their faith.
    • Catching the sunrise. As wonderful as the sunset is, the sunrise heralds the new day and brings promise of a fresh start. That's often worth the effort.
    • Getting to work, school, or college earlier so that you can come home earlier and do other things you want to do.
    • Caring for a family member or animal companion. Those responsible for the care of other people or animals can benefit from getting up earlier, especially if they need feeding, bathing, exercising, etc.
    • Plan an enjoyable morning activity for each day — the same one, or a different one each day.[12] For instance, catch up with an old friend on the phone; write that short story collection you’ve always wanted to do; start training for the half-marathon; or redecorate your dining room.
    • It's also a great time to deal with routine matters while you're alert and ready to get going; things such as checking emails, paying bills, and administrative filing can be done first thing in the morning to get them out of the way.
    • For some people, it's about restoring the morning person you used to be until you allowed late night TV, internet chatting, and other wakeful activities to keep you up late.

Method 2
Waking Up Ready to Go

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    Light up your morning. It will be especially difficult when you first try to transition from night owl sleeping patterns to morning person sleeping rhythms, but employing light is one way to "trick" your body into greater alertness.
    • Exposure to light, whether natural or artificial, at wake-up time helps reset your circadian rhythm and make you more alert. Allow natural sunlight to pour in to your bedroom, or invest in a “light box” or gradual alarm clock that produces a steadily brighter light.[13]
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    Try out various wake-up strategies. Find something that forces you to get out (and stay out) of bed. Consider the following to help you transition to wake-up mode:
    • Make your bed. It's a lot less desirable to crawl back into it when you've gone to the trouble of making it up.
    • Force yourself to leave the room – go to the bathroom, drink a glass of water, brush your teeth, or do anything else that will overcome your inner chat about returning to bed. As an aside, we are often dehydrated upon waking up, so drinking a glass of water can help the body rejuvenate and prepare for activity.[14]
    • Splash your face with water as soon as you get out of bed.
    • Stretch. Stretching can help awaken you gently, as well as improve your flexibility.
    • Put on upbeat music and dance to it a little.
    • Have a cup of tea or coffee to awaken your senses. Some people swear by slightly warmed water with freshly squeezed lemon juice as a refreshing tonic.
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    Exercise before breakfast. You might as well work up a sweat before taking your morning shower, and you can start your day by burning some calories before you even take any in.
    • Physical activity will help wake you up, and exercise undertaken first thing in the morning is more effective at charging up your metabolism than exercise undertaken at any other time of the day.[15]
    • Have your gear ready to go the night before — lay out your running clothes and shoes, tune up your bike, lay out your weight set, or cue up your workout DVD. Jump right into action before your inner sleepy-head can convince you otherwise.
    • Make sure to drink lots of water before and during morning exercise.
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    Eat a smart breakfast. Don't be tempted to skip breakfast — it's your energy kick-starter for the rest of the day, and the early bird has even longer to wait until lunchtime.
    • A breakfast that features protein, fruits or vegetables, and a whole grain can help energize you for the day ahead. For a quick and healthy example, try greek yogurt topped with blueberries and granola with chia seeds.[16]
    • Look into options like adding variety to your meals, or even talking to your doctor, if you consistently don't feel like eating breakfast in the morning.
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    Keep the new morning rhythm going once it's established. It's important to get up at the same time every day once you're established in your new routine, including weekends.[17] Don't sleep in on days when you don't have to be somewhere; doing so throws off your sleep rhythm. Leave sleeping in for when you're unwell. Instead, get up and use the time to read, enjoy a longer breakfast, chat with others, or exercise.
    • Each evening, or each week, plan out something enjoyable to do with your newfound morning time. Be it catching up with an old friend or learning to crochet, give yourself something to look forward to each night.[18]
    • Take notice of how much more you have accomplished when you get home from work and/or school. You'll relax more, sleep better at night, and be more refreshed for when you get up early again.
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    Persevere and be realistic. It can take time to transition from a night owl to a morning person. Moreover, being a morning person or a night owl has a genetic basis that may not be easy to override. (It is estimated that only 10% of us are the former, and 20% the latter, which means the remaining 70% of us should be able to change our ways more readily.[19])
    • As such, it may not be possible to switch yourself over entirely to becoming a morning person, unless you're a morning person reforming from a lapse into a night owl lifestyle. However, if waking even an hour earlier is benefitting you, it can be worth the effort and the new routine in your life.
    • Even night owls are prone to wake up earlier during the warmer months when the morning light streams through earlier. Try to go with your body's natural flow and it's more likely that you'll wake up earlier than usual anyway during spring and summer months.
    • Stick with the process; it's not going to be easy for the first few mornings. The more your body becomes used to the light cues and the regular bedtimes, the more you'll find it easier to transition.
    • Have rewards in place for early rising, such as a delicious breakfast at the local cafe, a brand new paperback to read, an early appointment massage, etc. Reward yourself with something that encourages you to keep getting up early each day.
    • Give yourself a pep talk last thing each night and first thing each morning.[20] Remind yourself that tomorrow/today is a new day. Forget about what happened yesterday, it's in the past. Today is a fresh day, enjoy it!


  • Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room, making it necessary to get out of bed to turn it off.
  • Give yourself something to accomplish each day (even on the weekends). Whether it be running 10 miles (16 km) before breakfast or getting a few loads of laundry through before you go to work, just do something.
  • Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages or energy drinks after 4 pm.
  • Avoid bright lights during the evening hours; these will confuse your body. Dim lights several hours before sleep.
  • Use bright, full-spectrum lighting in your bedroom; turn the light on as soon as you get up.
  • Avoid listening to fast-paced or stimulating music 2-3 hours before intended bedtime.
  • A pet can be a delightful source of early waking (depending on how you choose to perceive this) – give in to your hungry dog or cat and you'll have a reliable early morning alarm for the rest of its life!
  • Use different calming scents like lavender before you go to sleep.
  • Each sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes. Set your alarm clock to go off after a multiple of an hour and a half, and it will be easier to wake up.
  • Use an inexpensive electronic light timer to switch on a radio or bright/broad-spectrum lamp at the bedside.
  • Novelty alarm clocks which move around on wheels or fly around the room, making it harder to shut them off, are a good choice for the ultra-sleepy. They're more expensive but they're worth it if you compulsively hit the snooze-button.
  • Sleep researchers believe that many people shift from being temporary night owls in their teens to early 20s (due to hormonal surges) to being morning persons in their 30s onward. However, some people remain night owls for life (being born that way), and if you're a dyed-in-the-wool night owl, it's likely you'll find it hard ever changing over to being a permanent morning person![21]
  • Try to keep yourself on a daily schedule. Not an army intense one, but just a casual reminder to help you keep your body on track. Such as not going to sleep late at night, or sleeping too terribly in on weekends or likewise.
  • Drink one of the calming teas before bed: lavender, valerian root, chamomile, lemon balm, California poppy, ashwaganda, or others.You will be more energized in the morning.
  • Look forward to something that takes place in the morning. Whether it's coffee, breakfast, your workout, or even relaxing and doing some extra work, be excited and happy for these little things life has to offer.

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