Morning people get all the credit, don’t they? Our society acts like people who are good at mornings are more productive, happier, better adjusted. It’s so annoying. But it’s also true. Christoph Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany, reported in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology that morning people are more proactive than evening types. That means they basically get more done.
But, if you’re definitely not a morning person, can you become one? Or are you doomed to the dark for all of your days? Dr. W. Christopher Winter, Medical Director for the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, says yes. But it won’t be easy. Like all good things, it’ll take work.
“Your genes determine what we call your ‘chronotype,’ which is if you are a morning or evening person,” says Winter. “It’s often similar within families, but it can be influenced to a certain degree.”
A person can change their chronotype within about two weeks, but only if they stay consistent…throughout life. That is, for the rest of time. Because, our natural tendencies are still hard-wired within us. If we ease up on our good habits, we’ll slide right back to where we started. Here are some steps to take to become an early bird. So go ahead: Get that worm.
Scientists and biology experts advise to wake up, exercise and eat at the same time every day. Even on weekends. Turns out, we’re kinda like cats: our bodies like routine. If we can physiologically anticipate what’s happening, we’ll settle into a routine. But don’t sweat the bed time. If you’re consistent about a wake-up time, you’ll get tired when you need to be tired. And then you’ll wake up when you need to wake up, because you’ll have gone to bed when you needed to go to bed. Make sense?
The app store features dozens of smart-alarm apps. They monitor your sleep patterns, tracking REM sleep and letting you know the quality of your snooze. Many of them also use gradual alarms, that will gently urge you awake, rather than jolting you with that horrible digital shrieking buzzer of the alarms of days past.
MIX IT UP
Smart alarms can also access your music, so you can choose a song to wake you up. But experts suggest that, if you like to wake to music, set it to “random.” Our minds can become immune to the same song after a time. So mix that music up to get your mind working in the morning.
FILL UP, EMPTY
Use an old army trick and drink a lot of water before you go to bed. The need to pee will wake you up naturally, and will force you to get up to take care of business. Then immediately move on to step five so that you aren’t inclined to just climb back in bed!
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Open your window dressings, let the sunlight in. The body’s internal clock is sensitive to light and darkness, and the sun’s rays natural make us feel more wakeful.
WORK IT OUT
Exercise, at any time of day, helps the body regulate its circadian rhythm. It also lowers your blood pressure, reduces stress and anxiety, and helps you sleep better at night.
EAT RIGHT (AWAY)
Breakfast boosts the metabolism and gets our bodies working. Eat a protein-rich brekky for some quick energy, and you’ll be going all morning.