Does the thought of your alarm doing off in the morning fill you with dread and the idea of enjoying mornings seem like a bad joke? Do you envy the lives of night shift workers and enjoy staying up into the wee hours of the night?
While it’s normal to not exactly relish the idea of getting out of bed in the morning, some of us are definitely more night owls than others, and while having your own unique schedule isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can cause trouble if you have morning obligations you need to be awake for, such as work, school, or taking care of our kids.
In this week’s blog post, we’re helping you switch your night owl ways and become more of a morning person. It may seem impossible, but with a few simple steps you can make some significant shifts to your sleeping patterns.
Take time to adjust your schedule
Trying to immediately switch your sleep schedule from night owl to early bird is more than likely going to end in failure. You just can’t go cold turkey on staying up late or white knuckle your way into a new routine because it’s not about willpower, it’s about our hormones. Our circadian rhythms operate on a 24-hour cycle, regulated by a whole range of hormones in our bodies, and so we more or less feel tired and wake up (if we’re able to wake up without alarms) at consistent times, thanks to the regulation of our hormone production.
The best way to adjust your sleep schedule is to do it with your hormones working on your side. By slowly changing your bedtime in 15-minute increments, you can start to slowly shift your circadian rhythm to an earlier time. This may seem like too small of an adjustment to be significant or successful, but these little steps are the best way to get you onto a new sleep schedule.
Give yourself a reason to get up in the morning
This may sound a little dark, but what we really mean is that by giving yourself something exciting to look forward to in the morning, you’ll likely be much more eager to both go to bed early and get up when your alarm goes off. Some fun morning activities include making yourself a morning latte, taking your dog for a walk, watching an episode of your favorite TV show, or just having some time to yourself before the rest of your family wakes up.
Often times, the reason we want to stay up late at night is because it’s the one time of the day we get to really relax and do the activities we enjoy, so by giving yourself some time in the morning to enjoy them as well, you may also not mind going to bed earlier. Also, just waking up to your usual morning routine isn’t always enough incentive to get up early, so giving yourself a little something extra to be excited about can make mornings that much more enjoyable.
Take your personal sleep preferences into account
Some people are just naturally wired to go to bed later, and scientists actually believe that having a mix of morning people and night owls in the population was a means of protection back in the day because it ensured that there were always people awake to defend the village.
So, if you are naturally wired to be up later than others, you don’t need to force yourself into a 6 a.m. wake up. Figure out a time and morning routine that allows you to enjoy your sleep as much as possible while still waking up in time to get to where you need to be in the morning.
Set good sleep habits
Also, you may think you’re a night owl when really, you’re just in a bad sleep schedule. Unfortunately, it seems to be easier to get into a habit of going to sleep late and waking up late than it does the reverse, so you may naturally enjoy the mornings if you just give yourself a chance to adjust.
Another thing that may be tricking you into thinking you’re a night owl is poor sleep habits. Things like eating dinner late at night, scrolling on your phone, or going on a TV show binge can all play a part in keeping you up later at night than you anticipated.
When you begin practicing better sleep habits, you may be surprised to discover that you actually enjoy going to bed earlier and waking up early. One of the best things you can do for your sleep is to give yourself a couple of hours to wind down in the evenings. This means dimming the lights, enjoying some relaxing activities, practicing an evening routine (to help signal to your body that it’s time to sleep), and putting away your smartphones and other devices (the over-stimulation from the content on your devices plus the blue light emitted from the screens can make it much more difficult for you to fall asleep)
As we mentioned before, one of the big reasons we fall into the habit of staying up at night is that it’s the one time of day we get to unwind and have time to ourselves. Many of us shake off the stresses of the day with a glass of wine, snacks, and our favorite TV shows. There’s nothing at all wrong with this in moderation, but too much of any of them can really mess with our sleep and keep us up late.
By putting in steps to both minimize your stress and make some time for yourself during the day, you may not feel like you need this evening time as much. If you’re managing your stress and treating yourself during the day, your evenings won’t need to be the refuge that they may have been before and going to bed early won’t feel like you’re robbing yourself of your only time to relax.
Small ways that you can take time for yourself throughout the day include meeting a friend for a mid-morning coffee, taking a walk on your lunch break (or anything that gets you away from your desk!), scheduling in your favorite workout class, practicing mini meditation breaks or breathing exercises throughout the day, or treating yourself to regular massages.
Practice healthy lifestyle habits
Similarly, if you’re taking care of your health throughout the day, you’ll naturally feel more balanced and energized, and may not need to rely on a late night tv binge because you’re feeling drained. Getting daily sun exposure, eating healthy, staying hydrated, getting in some daily movement and exercise, and spending time with your friends and family are all simple and basic ways to help maintain your health and leave you feeling your best.
We don’t believe there’s anything wrong with relaxing and vegging out at night, but by taking care of your health and happiness throughout the day, you’re more likely to rely less on your evenings as your only time to yourself and find it easier to shut off the TV and head to bed earlier.You can also make going to bed early a little easier with the right bedding! There’s nothing like cozying up at night in soft down bedding and organic cotton and linen sheets. Outfit your bed with the right sheets today and say hello to better sleep!