Have you ever wondered why you can’t keep your eyes open past 9 pm? Or, you can’t even begin to think about bedtime before midnight? It all has to do with a little internal bodily feature called the circadian clock. This internal clock of ours allows us to coordinate our biology and behavior with daily environmental changes, and has a huge effect on our day/night cycle. This is the same phenomenon that you can attribute to your jet lag when you travel across several time zones.
This is fascinating to me. I’m a morning person, and have been for the last 20 years. I think it started when my kids were young, and the only time the house was truly quiet was in the early morning hours. To me, the early morning is magic. I usually get up at 5 am, even on weekends.
Some mornings I keep it simple, and read the paper and have a cup of coffee. Other mornings, I can be extremely productive and cross many things off my to-do list before 8 am. And, I love watching the sunrise.
It’s nice to have some extra time in the morning, and not feel so rushed when you’re getting ready, or trying to get others out of the house. I really think the morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day, and it does take some planning. Even as a bona fide morning person, I still plan my early mornings. Here are some tricks.
The night before:
- Plan your day. At least make a list of what you need to do. In the morning, see how many of those things you can cross off your list before you even leave the house.
- Plan your outfit: if you work outside the home, this is essential. Pull everything you’re going to wear, down to shoes, accessories and underwear and put it in one place.
- Plan your lunch. I usually have a huge salad for lunch. On Sunday, I will hard boil eggs for the week, make a pot of lentils, cut up vegetables, and whip up a batch of vinaigrette dressing. The night before, I just grab an egg, portion out some lentils and vegetables, bag some spinach (or other greens), and fill a small container with dressing. It’s grab and go in the morning before I head out the door.
- If you workout in the morning, get your gear together. No excuses!
- Try to close all computer screens an hour before bedtime. Admittedly, this is difficult for me, largely because I read before bed and do so on my iPad.
- Go to sleep earlier. Most humans need 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and you have to account for this if you are waking early.
- Set your alarm. If you’re trying to start waking up earlier gradually, you can set your alarm 15 or 30 minutes earlier to coincides with going to bed 15 or 30 minutes earlier (see above).
If you’re committed, and once you get into a routine, you’ll start to notice how much better your day unfolds. Some ways to use that extra time:
- First off, don’t hit snooze!
- Start the day with some quiet meditation to center yourself before the chaos begins. Or,
- Use your quiet mornings for organization, setting goals and planning.
- Join the many successful women who start their day early, and start it with a workout. We all know that regular exercise helps boost your mood and give you more energy. It also helps improve your sleep.
- If you’re a commuter, traffic will almost always be better earlier in the morning than later. See if you can have more flexibility with your office hours to start earlier (and just think how much more productive you’ll be there when there are less distractions!).
One thing I think is important to note: try to wake at the same time, every day. Even weekends. You may think it’s a reward to sleep in late on the weekends, but your body will have a difficult time because it will always be trying to adjust (remember that circadian clock?) . Stay consistent and use the early weekend hours to your advantage.
So, tell me – are you a morning person also? If not, do you think you can become one?
image via unsplash