Becoming a morning person (and enjoying it!)
|Date:||16 March 2021|
Waking up in the morning for 9AM classes can be a struggle sometimes, especially if it’s still dark outside and your bed is nice and warm. Thankfully, spring is just around the corner, which means that our mornings will be brighter and hopefully a little warmer. Most of the students I know are night owls, studying until late at night and sleeping in as much as they can in the morning. If possible, they don’t pick the 9AM classes. I, however, am the exact opposite. I like being productive in the early morning, so I can be free in the evenings and spend my time on the couch watching series or reading a book. If, like me, your concentration for study-related activities starts becoming non-existent around dinner time, maybe it's time to consider making more of your mornings. How? By becoming a morning person and waking up earlier! I'm at the point where I wake up at 6:20AM every morning without my alarm clock, and if I can do that, so can you. In today’s blog, I’m sharing my tips for becoming a morning person so you can make the most of your study or work day.
It’s always better to build a new habit gradually. Setting your alarm a lot earlier than you’re used to out of the blue, won’t make the change easier. Instead, during one week, move the time of your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier each day. The total amount of time depends on the time you usually wake up, of course, so it might take you a little less or a little more than a week. Challenge yourself, but also set achievable and realistic goals. Don’t expect to wake up at 6AM ready to start studying immediately if you usually only wake up at 8:30AM. Give yourself a few weeks to get used to this new routine, and you’ll soon start seeing how productive your mornings become and how much you can get done before lunch time.
Put your phone away in the evening
You probably already know this but staring at any kind of screen isn’t really helping you fall asleep. Set a certain time for yourself after which you no longer look at your phone (or computer) to give your eyes some rest. Now, with most of our education online, chances are you spend a lot of time staring at screens. If you’re likely to grab your phone out of boredom, turn it off completely, or put it in another room. This will take some dedication, but I promise you it’s worth it. After a week, you’ll start getting used to not looking at your phone as much before bed and won’t be grabbing your phone every few seconds. Constantly receiving notifications or seeing new posts or messages keeps you awake, and you being awake means you’ll have more trouble waking up early.
Go to bed early
Yep, I’m sorry, but this is pretty important if you want to have energy and concentration in the morning. Now, I know that ‘early’ means different things to different people. If you’re used to being awake until 2AM, you might consider going to bed at midnight as being early. I suggest making sure that you get 7-8 hours of sleep by simply calculating when you’ll have to go to bed based on your new wake up time. I go to bed around 10:20PM, which means I get 8 hours of sleep every night (occasional insomnia not taken into account). This is essential if I want to be productive in the morning. No sleep = no concentration. See sleep as fuel for your brain, and prioritise it.
Have an evening routine
Having a routine before you go to bed will help your brain get into sleep mode faster. Find something that helps you calm down, such as reading a book, writing in a journal or drawing. It really doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate! I suggest dedicating 30-40 minutes to somethiMaking the most of your evening, curfew style.ng you enjoy but that doesn’t make you more awake. Get comfy and cosy and make this the time to clear your mind.
Go over your plans for the next morning
Every evening before I put my phone away, I take a look at my Google calendar for the next day. Do you have lectures? Are there any assignments due? Did you include time for exercise? It’s good to go over your plans, as it will prepare you and when you wake up the next morning, there are no surprises about what awaits you. I find that going over my plans makes them more concrete, and helps me tackle them more efficiently in the morning. It also helps calm your thoughts, because you know what’s coming.
Set a cheerful alarm
There’s nothing worse than hearing an annoying beeping sound first thing in the morning. Choosing something cheerful means you’re more likely to wake up in a good mood. Do you like the sound of birds chirping or do you prefer to wake up with your favourite song? Setting that as your alarm clock will make it so much easier for you to actually get up when it’s time to, instead of turning it off and grumpily going back to sleep. Personally, I suggest picking an ABBA classic for the ultimate feel-good start to your day.
Have a morning routine
Just like having an evening routine helps you wind down, a morning routine will help you start your day in a way that is structured and works for you. Are you a coffee first kind of person? Then make that step one of your routine. Take a shower, have breakfast, do whatever helps you start your day. If those things don’t really give you energy, consider doing a bit of exercise as part of your morning routine first. Go for a short walk or jog (15 minutes of fresh air will do wonders), a short yoga session, or - like me - a mini dance break to 3 of your favourite songs before you get ready. This might sound crazy, but choosing 3 songs that you used to love dancing to on your nights out will definitely boost your mood and give you the energy you need to start your day. Just put on some headphones in case your housemates aren’t quite ready to become early risers like you.
Consistency is key
As with everything else in life, being consistent is the key to success. Some days, you’ll be a bit more tired than others. Don’t worry, that happens to everyone. Just don’t give up and stay in bed all morning, because that will be the start of breaking your newly acquired habit. Instead, slow down a bit and allow yourself the time to get back to your productive self. Soon enough, your body will get used to your new routine and you’ll wake up bright and early without even needing to set an alarm. Do set it, though, just in case.
If after all of these steps you’re still struggling to wake up early, I can highly recommend getting a wake-up light. These lamps are a little pricey, but you might just find a second-hand one for cheaper. These are very very helpful, especially in the winter months when it’s still dark in the early morning. You can set a time and a window (mine is on 30 minutes) during which the light gradually becomes brighter. At the set time it will be at its brightest and you’ll have an easier time getting out of bed.
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you have more tips for waking up early? Share them with us in the comments below!