How a Night Owl can Become a Morning Person

 
by Elise Morgan

by Elise Morgan

Some people just have that internal alarm clock. No matter what they do, the next morning they rise and shine. But is being an early bird all it's cracked up to be?

Well, some studies suggest night owls may die at a younger age and be more susceptible to disease. Since the dawn of man, our days have revolved around the rising and setting of the sun. Before we had electricity, when candles and fire were used as light sources, we had to do what we needed to do while the sun shone. Sleep then naturally came when light faded as the earth turned away from the sun each day.

We subvert the natural rhythms of our body (our circadian rhythm) when we push activities later into the day. You can steadily push your body clock back to a more natural place and reap the health benefits along the way.

Try to start with the following.

GO TO BED EARLIER

Instead of immediately switching up your night time routine to try to get more sleep, spend a few nights trying to fall asleep about 15 minutes earlier than usual, then 30 minutes the next night, and so on. This will be easier on your body than a quick and drastic change and is more likely to stick as a habit. 

LET THE SUNSHINE IN

Natural light tells our bodies it’s time to get up. Throw open the curtains and give your body a good shock of light when you wake. Sunlight also gives us Vitamin D which boosts the serotonin in our bodies. We can take supplements to get some Vitamin D, but, according to research on the topic, it would take a lot of pills to make up for the Vitamin D that the sun gives us in just 10 minutes on our bare skin.

We feel good when we get enough sun and our mood suffers when we don’t. Sunlight may be the safest mood-enhancing “drug” we can get. It’s safe and naturally good for us.

Exercise on the rise

If you’re waking up early enough, you could also work out for 30 minutes to an hour. Walking, circuit training, yoga—whatever your body is willing to do. And, if you do work out first thing, you don’t have craft excuses to miss it after work. You’ll sleep better, burn more energy during the day and be less tempted by snacks. Morning workouts kickstart your metabolism, motivation and mood in one fell swoop.

SLEEP DEEPLY

You need enough sleep to wake up refreshed. Period. Motivation to become an early riser will wane when your energy does. But understand, in order to sleep well, we need to have the right surroundings—gentle lighting, low noise, cool temperature, and a welcoming sleep surface that will support our body at rest.

Posture is just as important while we sleep as it is when we exercise. You should be sleeping on a surface that curves to your body to maintain good sleep posture. It’s easy to tell if your spine isn’t aligned during the night. You may feel sore in your neck or lower back when you wake, and you won’t feel rested.

One culprit may be an old mattress that doesn’t support your body properly. Experts recommend you should replace your mattress every 5-10 years. You’re not going to become a morning person when waking up sore is also a regular part of your routine. So consider what to do about your sleep surface while you’re changing your lifestyle.

Try this: Gravity Blankets are meant to help people who suffer from PTSD sleep better. We noticed that it helps us sleep better as well.

Stick to the schedule

You’re trying to create a good habit and that requires vigilance. A 2009 study done by University College London said it can take anywhere from 66 to 254 days to create a new habit. Stay faithful to your new routine and do it seven days per week to really get it to stick.

Be gentle with yourself

You have to be in it for the long haul if you want to completely change your approach to living.  But your reward will better rest, better health and a better daily life.