Not a morning person? You ‘ re in good company! According to the ‘The Body Clock Guide to Better Health ‘ , only about one in ten people is a true morning person. The other side of the coin, though, is that only about two in ten are truly ‘night owls ‘ , which means the other seven have the capacity (with a little effort) to become morning people.
But why should you need to become a morning person? Atlanta-based psychiatrist Tracey Marks, author of Master Your Sleep, says We are supposed to be awake when it ‘ s light outside and asleep when it ‘ s dark outside.” Also, early risers have been shown to not only be more proactive and successful, but, from a health point of view, early risers are also thinner, exercise more consistently, are safer drivers (who knew?) and are happier!
Quite a claim!
A Japanese study has shown that among adults with type 2 diabetes, those who woke up early had lower triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and HbA1C levels (a measure of blood sugar control). Previous studies have found that when our body-clock goes crazy (common among night-owls), there is a link to health issues such as coronary artery disease and impaired glucose intolerance. In addition, because evening people are more likely to consume the bulk of their kilojoules at dinner or even later, they are more likely to develop metabolic problems.
So if you ‘ re one of the 70% of people who currently aren ‘ t leaping out of bed at the crack of dawn, there ‘ s definitely good reason to give it a try.
1. Firstly – lose the snooze
If you ‘ re hitting the snooze button two or three times every morning, chances are you ‘ re not getting enough sleep. Plan ahead, and make sure that you have had seven to nine hours sleep by the time you expect to wake up. If you ‘ re getting enough sleep, you should wake up easily without any alarm.
Listen to your body – if you ‘ ve had a particularly taxing day – go to bed when you feel tired, even if it ‘ s earlier than usual.
2. Let in the light
Rather than another eight-minute snooze (again), get up and open the curtains. If you do, even though your duvet is very snugly, you probably won ‘ t need to return to its comforting arms.
During the day, make sure you get some all-important vitamin D. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, one billion people worldwide have a vitamin-D deficiency. There are all sorts of reasons why you need to get enough vitamin D, but the important one to note here is that depression is linked to a shortage of vitamin D. There ‘ s no way you ‘ ll be jumping out of bed if you ‘ re depressed, so don ‘ t neglect getting outside during the day.
3. Drink yourself awake
Usually start your morning with a cup of coffee or tea? Rather try a glass of warm water with lemon or apple cider vinegar and honey (add some ginger too, if you like the taste). It ‘ s not only a great ‘wake-up ‘ drink, but it ‘ s also an immune booster and your best friend, if you ‘ re trying to lose weight. Rather than starting off the day by loading your system with caffeine, this drink helps to clear your digestive system and leaves you feeling light and fresh.
4. Be dinner smart
Your grandmother probably told you at some point Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. She was absolutely right.
A study of 50,000 people in Britain found that those who made breakfast their largest meal of the day had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than people who waited until supper, even though they ate a similar number of kilojoules.
Not only that, the discomfort of going to bed after a large meal may keep you awake or disturb your sleep. The same applies to alcohol. Drinking too much in the evening not only means extra trips to the loo, but excessive alcohol consumption has been proven to disrupt sleep. Plus, if you eat less at night, you ‘ ll be more likely to wake up hungry for that ‘kingly ‘ breakfast.
5. Power off at dusk – catch up at dawn
Try to avoid having any kind of screen in your bedroom, as the blue light emitted by electronic devices disturbs sleep far more than natural light. Don ‘ t work right up ‘til bedtime either. Make sure you shut down all screens at least an hour before sleepytime.
Once you ‘ re awake – check in on the world all you like, but not in bed! Get up and check the news, email or Facebook, etc., while sipping your glass of lemon water
6. Be prepared
Waking up to an endless list of chores is guaranteed to have you diving under the duvet with a groan. So be prepared. Pack all school, lunch and gym bags the night before. If you ‘ re into gadgets, set your coffee maker to start up at a certain time or start your breakfast oats cooking in a slow cooker the night before.
7. Spread the love (and some music)
Nothing destroys a morning more than grumpy people, so hug your loved ones (or your cat or dog). Just the thought of having someone to care for in the morning can be enough motivation to get up. And add some music. Your own voice or someone else ‘ s – it ‘ s all good – you ‘ ll find that getting through the morning chores is so much easier.
8. Have a reason to get up
This will be different for everyone, but if you can find a meaningful goal for starting your day earlier, waking up will become easier. Perhaps you ‘ ll have time to exercise in the morning, or have extra time to be quiet and plan your day. Creative people often say that the early morning is the best time to think deeply and creatively. For some, just having the chance to be present in the moment with no need to rush will be invaluable.
If you can, plan your week in such a way that there is something every day for you to look forward to. Even if it ‘ s just a call to your best friend or trying out a new lunch place, try to plan your week so that you don ‘ t only look forward to Friday.
Once you ‘ ve achieved getting up a little earlier, you ‘ ll be amazed at how much you appreciate the extra ‘me-time ‘ in the morning and you ‘ ll wonder how you ever survived without it!