At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we were taught the concept that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Some people are natural early birds, while others are total night owls. I, for one, wake early BUT I don’t want to speak to anyone for at least 30 minutes. Hence #2 – Delightful alone time!
It is not right or wrong to be an early riser, but here are five benefits of being a morning person.
- Consistent workout routine.As a morning person, you are more likely to stick to a consistent workout routine. It is easy to get distracted by unexpected work demands, social activities, or other engagements later in the day that may get in the way of physical exercise. Extra time in the morning allows for more time to move your body before you officially start your day! In addition, your body and mind tend to be more energized and alert first thing in the morning, making exercise more effective and enjoyable.
- Delightful alone time. As an early riser, you’ll likely have more time to yourself. This is the perfect time for setting a daily intention and enjoying a little self-care without being distracted or bothered. This extra alone time is also great for creating positive momentum rather than being pulled into others’ intentions and energies over the course of the day.
- Increased productivity and creativity. When you first wake up, you are often in a lower state of resistance than any other time in the day. With this lack of resistance, you benefit from being more in touch with your intuitive and creative self. Also, in this space of openness, you tend to be clearer on your wants and desires. Rather than catering to your “shoulds” and “have tos,” you can creatively express your soul’s deepest desires.
- No rushing! No one likes the feeling of being rushed or hurried out the door. By waking up earlier, you grant yourself more time to have a good breakfast, brush your teeth, play with your pet, and leisurely get ready for the day! The frantic energy during a rushed morning often perpetuates throughout the day, causing you to feel hurried no matter what you are doing! When you ease into your morning, you instead feel a calmer and more peaceful energy regardless of the circumstances that arise.
- Harmony with nature. Humans are naturally diurnal animals, meaning we wake up and go to sleep with the sun. Studies have shown that those who have more exposure to morning light actually have a lower BMI than people who have less exposure to light between 8am and noon. Those who have more exposure to morning sunlight also tend to sleep better at night and are less likely to feel depressed and stressed than those who do not get as much morning sunlight.
Now that you know some of the benefits, how can you switch up your routine and become a morning person? Here are some simple strategies for becoming an early riser:
- Clarify your why. It’s important to determine your why for making a change. To create lasting transformation, it’s essential to connect with the deeper reason. Why do you want to be a morning person? What’s your motivation? Discovering your why will help you be consistent long enough to make it a habit.
- Plan ahead. Set yourself up for success by prepping the night before. You can pack your lunch, choose your outfit, and plan and prepare your breakfast.
- Reduce exposure to technology. Try keeping electronics out of your bedroom when you are sleeping. Avoid looking at any screens for at least one hour before bedtime. If you use your phone as an alarm, consider setting Do Not Disturb or putting it in airplane mode. Challenge yourself to not look at it once you lie down. You could even consider leaving it on the other side of the room so that you have to stand up when your alarm goes off!
- Create a nighttime routine. This step is critical! Experiment with different evening routines to put you into a calm and relaxed state. Determine what time you would like to actually fall asleep, and then schedule in enough time for your evening routine. You might try taking a bath, reading, journaling, or meditating. Remember that you can always change your routine; finding what works best for you requires continual adjustments!
- Find your “magic hour.” Everyone has a time when it is easiest to fall asleep – a “magic hour.” Remember bio-individuality? We are all different – while going to bed at 9pm may work great for one person, it may be unnatural for another. Experiment with different schedules and discover what your bio-individual sweet spot is! My best friend is in bed no later than 9pm and I can’t imagine crawling into bed any earlier than 10pm.
- Shift gradually. It’s important to take small steps rather than make drastic change. It is unreasonable to think you can go from being a total night owl to being a bright and bushy-tailed morning person! Instead you can progress gradually, making small changes each night. For example, you might just wake up five minutes earlier every other morning. Or if that’s still too drastic, you could experiment with waking up five minutes earlier each week until you’ve hit your goal time!
Remember, there is no right or wrong here – if you are not a morning person and that works well for you at this point in your journey, that’s great! But if you are eager to become an early riser, experiment with some of these strategies. Be gentle and kind with yourself and remember to progress gradually to create lasting change. Play around with your schedule until you reach the “magic hour” that leaves you feeling the most refreshed, energized, and full of vitality throughout your day!
And, as always, if you find some juicy tips in this article, like it and share it with friends and family so they can benefit from it too!