Ever since I can remember I have been a night owl. This also meant that I was a person who liked to sleep in the following morning. I think it began as a teenager when I would lock myself in my room away from my little brother and sister and get lost in a book for hours and before I knew it, it was the wee small hours of the morning and I had to try to get in a few hours of sleep before having to wake up for school.
As an adult with my own family, I like the quiet that comes late the evening after everyone has gone to bed but I started to see that my time before I went to bed and the first few hours of waking up, wasn’t very productive. In all honesty, I could see up to 6 hours of my day that was being wasted away. However, no matter how many times I set my alarm or how early I went to bed, I would end up tossing and turning through the night and taking forever to get to sleep and I started to resign myself to the fact that perhaps I was not born with the “morning person” gene. As a result, my morning routine tended to be something like this:
8.00am – Wake to my alarm. Turn over and continue sleeping.
8.30am – Wake up and lay in bed for another 30 minutes checking social media and my emails
9.00am – Get out of bed, walk across the hall to my office and respond to emails while Grant makes me a coffee. Stay at the desk until midday or my tummy told me I needed to have something to eat.
Not the best way to set myself up for a successful day. I know.
For the past couple of years I’ve had a desire to become a morning person for a number of reasons. There are studies that early risers sleep more soundly, are better planners, are more optimistic and spend more time with their families, not to mention the extremely impressive list of early risers that are not just successful in their field but leaders.
However, the most lovely accident came after our return home from Queensland earlier this month. All of a sudden I found myself waking naturally just after 6am and feeling refreshed. As soon as my eyes opened my mind was clear and I wanted to get up, make a coffee and say hello to the morning so I decided to just get up rather than fall back into my old routine.
My morning routine is now waking up between 6am-6.15am – when my body naturally wakes up. I do have my alarm set for 7am just in case but I haven’t had to rely on it as yet. I make myself a big strong latte and give Lulu her medicine and we then have a slow wander through the garden in the quiet of the morning. I love spending time tending to the garden and checking our vegetable garden for any new produce I may be able to use that day. By 6.30am I am sitting in an armchair in our bedroom reading my bible and listening to music and by 7am I am starting to think about breakfast and mentally mapping out what my day is going to look like. Perhaps the best thing about my morning routine is that I haven’t yet touched my phone and the TV is still turned off until about 7.30am when everyone else is up.
At the other end of the scale, this does mean that I am starting to feel tired at 8.30pm and am in bed by 9pm and ready to sleep but its a small price to pay for the extra time in my day and the sound nights sleep.
Here are a few tips that I found are crucial if you are also trying to become a morning person.
- Get up when you wake up. This is easier when you wake naturally and eventually your body clock will tune in to it.
- Find something enjoyable to do in the morning that is just about you. For me this is doing a little gardening and reading my bible and I’m currently reading a chronological plan to read through the bible in a year and I am starting to include exercise through alternating C25K and yoga. For you it might be exercise or reading or simply having the time for a shower in peace.
- Go to bed when you are tired. Don’t push through that first stage of tiredness as I used to do. Even if it is 8pm and you feel like you’re turning into an 80 year old; go to bed when you’re tired.
- When you go to bed, leave your phone alone. From the time I walk into our bedroom to get ready for bed my phone is on Do Not Disturb and I don’t use my phone for anything other than listening to music. Have a shower or bath, listen to music, read a book until you are ready to sleep.
I realise this may not be possible for everyone (especially those with young children) but trust me, if I can become a morning person, you can do it too.