Tips To Embrace Being A Morning Person Even On Your Sleepiest Days

The elusive early bird arguably experiences many advantages over the night owl. Now, that isn't to say that belonging to the night owl crew doesn't have its benefits. Though, many claim that the age-old saying "the early bird catches the worm" speaks for itself. People fail to understand, however, that some individuals are simply genetically predisposed to display night owl tendencies, but this doesn't equate to reduced productivity. In fact, night owls tend to work just as efficiently as early birds. Though, the window of productivity leans closer to 9 p.m., as opposed to 9 a.m., according to a study published in the Journal of Biological Rhythms.


On the other hand, being an early riser, undeniably, proves useful if work or life responsibilities prevent you from embracing those late-night surges of productivity. Whether it's to make time for neglected hobbies or to get a workout in before work, beginning your morning early leaves you with more hours in the day to fulfill your needs. Here's how to improve your sleep hygiene and retrain your body's natural sleep cycle for effortless mornings.

The process

The best way to avoid hitting the snooze button in the morning involves easing your way through the transition. Do yourself a favor and don't attempt to wake three hours earlier than usual without giving your body time to adjust. Forcing yourself is often taxing on the body which makes it unnecessarily difficult for you to maintain the motivation to hop out of bed each morning. Instead, wake up earlier in thirty-minute increments. Prolonging the transition leads to a more sustainable goal which increases the chance of it becoming a long-term habit.


Another way to make the process easier for yourself is to avoid naps throughout the day. Waking up earlier typically leaves you feeling groggy during the day, but try your best to abstain from indulging in mid-day siestas. Waking up earlier throws off your body's natural alarm clock, or circadian rhythm, and it takes time for it to adjust (via The Sleep Foundation). Napping during the day while also changing your sleep routine may only further disrupt the process.

Establish a routine

Creating a routine that helps you wind down before bed is one of the key tricks to becoming a morning person. Your wind-down routine influences how quickly you fall asleep, and it encourages your body to prepare for rest. In fact, your body eventually learns to associate your bedtime program with rest and relaxation. Your body begins to automatically release melatonin as it gets dark which can make your routine even more soothing. Melatonin is connected to the circadian rhythm and, ideally, coincides with the setting of the sun (via the Mayo Clinic). When your body releases this hormone, it promotes sleep.


You can get creative with your wind-down regimen, but stick to the activities that will lead you into a state of peacefulness. For instance, consider taking a warm bath before bed which, according to the Sleep Foundation, helps you fall asleep faster and even improves the quality of your sleep. Follow up with a few minutes of mindful skincare and end with a chapter from your favorite book for a foolproof bedtime routine. If you struggle to fall asleep due to snowballing thoughts and general restlessness, then consider investing in a white noise machine to help ease your mind and lull you into a state of relaxation.

Screens and substances

Most people are accustomed to watching an episode or two on Netflix in the evening to help unwind after a long day. As a matter of fact, your everyday nighttime routine might even center around catching up on newly released seasons of your favorite TV show. However, one of the major factors involved in the inability to fall asleep is screen time. Using electronics before bed, including TVs, iPads, tablets, and smartphones, disrupts your circadian rhythm. The screens of your favorite tech gadgets emit artificial blue light which suppresses melatonin, per Harvard Health. Researchers, therefore, recommend avoiding bright screens for approximately two to three hours before going to bed. If you absolutely must catch up on the latest episode before bed, then look for glasses that block out blue light to reduce the negative effects of screen exposure.


As painful as it sounds, you should also monitor your caffeine habits if you want to naturally become a morning person. Before you panic, it's only necessary to restrict caffeine consumption at least six hours before bed to avoid significantly disrupting sleep, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Though, everyone metabolizes caffeine at different rates so this does not apply to all individuals. Nicotine and alcohol, on the other hand, tend to affect nearly everyone. These substances cause sleep fragmentation which refers to interrupted sleep, per a 2019 study published in Sleep.

Catch some sunlight

Falling asleep is one part of the battle, but getting out of bed is another challenge altogether. To rise early — and stay awake — try soaking in the sun. Sip on your morning tea or coffee while standing out on the balcony, or take your yoga mat outside for a few minutes of gentle stretching. Of course, bathing in sunlight isn't always possible all year round, especially for those who live in areas with colder climates. In this case, consider purchasing a wake-up light or light therapy box. Light lamps stimulate the organic light that occurs during sunrise to help your body wake up gradually.


Some people are sensitive to light, so a slight crack in the blinds is all they need. Before you invest in a wake-up lamp, leave your shades slightly open before bed so the sunlight filters through in the morning. Regardless of how you choose to incorporate sunlight into your morning, this tip helps with a smoother start to your day.

Move your body

If working out is one of your key motivators for waking up early, then you're in luck because moving your body first thing in the morning is the perfect way to start the day. Choosing to move your body upon waking increases blood flow which kick-starts the body's circulation and sets you up for the day ahead. And getting a head start on the day by going to the gym before work boasts numerous benefits for physical and mental health. Though, exercising early in the day often requires a great deal of motivation. 


If you're not quite there yet, rest assured that your morning movement does not need to involve a trip to the gym if that seems too daunting. Simple stretching to get your blood pumping can work effectively to help you wake up. And if leaving the warm comfort of your duvet immediately after waking feels impossible, stretching in bed can also do the trick, as long as you don't fall back asleep, of course. Eventually, as your body adjusts to rising early, have fun and experiment with light yoga to give yourself a healthy dose of energy in the morning.

Maintain the routine

Experiment with various activities until you find a routine that works for you. Though, be warned that creating an elaborate wind-down routine, followed by an ambitious morning regimen, will only make it difficult for you to maintain. Although tempting, setting your sights too high often backfires if your goals are unrealistic. Aim for a simple routine that you implement step by step so you don't feel overwhelmed. You are more likely to stick to the program if you develop sustainable and realistic goals that complement your existing lifestyle. Feel free to improve your routine and add new habits as your body adjusts to rising early, but keep it simple for the first month or two. This way, you increase your chances of following through.


One way to ensure your goals transform into long-lasting habits is to remain consistent. Carry your routine over into the weekend whenever possible. Sleeping in on the weekends confuses the sleep cycle and makes it difficult to return to an established sleep schedule once Monday comes back around. The weekend, understandably, warrants an exception for days when you stay out late with friends, but waking up at the same time every day can set your routine in stone. That said, sticking to your bedtime and morning routines leads you one step closer to naturally achieving early bird status.