Lifestyle

6 expert tips for how to become a morning person


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here seem to be two types of people in the world: those that bounce out of bed as soon as their alarm goes off and those that hit the snooze button seven times until they realise they’re going to be late. Again.

The former is generally referred to as a ‘morning person’.

Morning people will get up at 5am and do an intense, hour-long crossfit class followed by half an hour of meditation before turning up to work early, hair perfect and no coffee needed.

While the rest of us wake up at five to seven, realise we need to be out of the house to get on the tube in 10 minutes and walk into work five minutes late with barely brushed hair and a double shot cappuccino in hand.

For people who work a nine to five, being a morning person is the best way to make the most of your day – but can you train yourself to be a morning person?

The key to getting up earlier is getting the right amount of sleep – for you. Here, we spoke to sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley of The Sleep Consultancy who revealed his top tips for turning yourself into a morning person.

1. You can train yourself to go to sleep earlier

Going to sleep earlier will make it easier to get up in the morning since you will be well-rested.

But Dr Stanley explained that different people need a different amount of sleep so it’s all about finding what’s best for you.

He said: “The amount of sleep you need is genetically determined, but you can train yourself to cope with going to bed earlier.

“Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier for two weeks and see if you get to sleep. If this works, then increase it by a further 15 minutes for two weeks and so on until you’ve found your ideal bedtime that lets you wake up earlier.”

To know how much sleep you should be getting, Dr Stanley says to monitor yourself during the day and see how you feel. But if you find you’re alert during the day then you have had enough sleep, but if you feel groggy then you haven’t.

2. Only set one alarm and disable the snooze button

Snooze buttons can be dangerously seductive, which is why Dr Stanley says you should’t use them.

He explained: “Set you alarm for the time you need to get up and get up. It literally is just willpower.

“The most effective single change you can make is to fix your wakeup time each day so your body and brain know when it’s waking up. Your body and brain begin to wake up around 90 minutes before you actually wake up so setting your alarm for the same time every day will train your body’s natural alarm clock.”

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3. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, get up and do something

We’ve all been there. We wake up in the dark and wonder what time it is. So we check out phone for the time and see it’s 3:47am. We also see that we’ve got notifications and so we instinctively unlock our phone.

After we’ve put the phone down we begin to think about what we’ve got coming up that day and then our mind wanders to that embarrassing moment from our childhood that only seems to pop up in the middle of the night.

What can you do if you wake up and can’t switch your mind off? The problem, Dr Stanley says, is not that you’re awake, but that you’re lying there resenting being awake.

He added: “Instead of lying there, tossing and turning and having your brain go into overdrive in the darkness and quietness of the room, get up and go to another room if you can.

“Do something else and then go back to bed when you feel sleepy again. If you can’t go back to sleep after another 20 minutes, get up and do something else.”

4. Exert yourself during the day

Yes, this means you should try and exercise at some point during the day.

“Being awake and active during the day will help you get a good night sleep, so do something like exercise and get some sunlight,” Dr Stanley suggested.

“It doesn’t matter if you exercise in the morning or at night, exercise before bed doesn’t help or hinder your sleep as long as you wind down. Physical mental alertness during the day is a good way of getting sleep.”

If you are in the process of training yourself to be a morning person, it could be a good idea to start getting your exercise in before you go to work. Pack your work clothes in a bag before bed, have your gym gear laid out ready to go and so all you have to do in the morning is get up and go. This will give you time to relax and wind down at night before bed.

5. Turn on a light as soon as you wake up

As soon as your alarm goes off, turn on a light to help with the waking up process.

While bedrooms should be as dark as possible to get the best sleep, turning on a lamp or opening your curtains when you wake up can help set your body clock.

“The thing that tells you to be awake is sunlight,” Dr Stanley said. “Throw back your curtains or turn the lights on. Light helps to create a positive mental attitude which will help you get up and go.”

No, not your phone’s alarm clock, an old-school clock with an alarm on it. And yes, this means your phone should be nowhere near you when you’re sleeping.

Dr Stanley cited a recent study that found 26 per cent of teenagers and college students had been woken up after they were already asleep by someone calling or messaging them – bearing in mind that the first third of your sleep is the most restorative.

So put your phone on airplane mode, put it on the other side of the room or in another room all together and get yourself an alarm clock. If anything this will get you out of bed in the morning to go and check your phone.



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