Updated: Jul 14, 2021
Before you totally dismiss this post because you’ve already made up your mind that you’re over hearing about the “early mornings” stint, or it won’t work with your schedule, let me start by saying that for my entire life – literally the past 20something years -- I have always been a night person.
When I was a kid, I would stay up until all hours of the night, loved sleeping in, and despised waking up early for school. This routine continued into my 20s. I was a chronic oversleeper, and would get up at the last possible second to make it to my day job (usually not on time).
I’d get my second wind around 11:00 at night as a bartender (note the lack of sleep schedule, too). Unless I was going to bed during the sunrise, mornings were just not my time, and I was cool with that.
The switch came for me when I started teaching yoga. I was scheduled for a 7:30am class – meaning I had to be there by 7. And because I didn’t want to roll into class like I used to roll into the office, I needed to wake up earlier and set the day at the right tone.
I decided it couldn’t be impossible, as I’d heard before, to become a full-on morning person. So, I started going to bed a little earlier each night, and gradually waking up earlier. And eventually, I finally realized the big deal about early mornings for myself – and I even look forward to them, now.
The Early Morning Hype
The way you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I can attest to the truth of this. Not only does waking up earlier make you feel better, but it makes your whole day much less chaotic. I am also a living, breathing example that if I can switch to being a morning person, you can too, friends.
The idea is to not be rushing out the door each day, speeding to wherever your destination is, and essentially setting this tone for the rest of the day. And if you work from home, trust me when I say that it's much nicer to hop over to your desk after you've had some time to yourself, first.
You want to ease into your day, which ultimately means you’re in control of it. So, here are a few ways to do just that:
1. Don’t Hit the Snooze Button
Not only was I a chronic oversleeper, but a chronic snooze-hitter, as well. I honestly didn’t know any other way to wake up besides hitting snooze 3, 4, 5, (what adds up to an hour later?) times. But, this is SO bad. Mel Robbins talks about this in The 5 Second Rule, and it blew my mind when I read it.
When you hit the snooze button, your body experiences “sleep inertia”, which causes those feelings of grogginess and disorientation. This happens when your body doesn’t complete a sleep cycle, and every time you hit “snooze”, you begin a new cycle – so while you think you’re getting a few extra minutes of sleep, you’re actually setting yourself up for a hazy, drowsy day.
2. Drink Warm Water
I started boiling water at night and keeping it in a Yeti next to my bed so that it’s warm by morning. Warm water wakes up the digestive system, starting your day off on a cleansing note (need I say more?). I’ll usually also add a few drops of lemon to give it an extra detoxifying boost.
Okay so, if you’re like me, you’re thinking, How can I meditate first thing in the morning without falling back asleep? When you’re first becoming a morning person, this doesn’t need to be the first thing you do when you sit up in bed. However, it will get easier.
I have, admittedly, not been the most consistent with morning meditation, but I’ve found that doing it first thing in the morning is the best time. It clears my brain before any thoughts or distractions can enter, and puts me in a calm state of mind in order to decide how to go about my day.
4. Do Something for Yourself
While this does include meditation, I also mean take this time to practice even a little bit of self-care. Go to the gym, do a yoga flow, journal, visualize your day. I like to “create my life” in my morning journaling. I write out my biggest goals and dreams in the present tense, rewiring my brain to feel like they’re already happening – I’ll write more on visualization soon.
Quick note for my night shift friends, new moms, and those who are simply unwilling to forego their night owl ways – this all applies to you, too. Find your own morning. It doesn’t need to be when the sun comes up. Just give yourself a little bit of time each day to take care of yourself, get your head on straight, and go about life a little more level-headed. Taking just a few minutes to meditate, or journal, or mindfully enjoy a cup of coffee can make all the difference.