Doctors' Choice Physical Medicine

Are You a Morning Person? No? Here’s How to Change

Morning people don’t understand why non-morning people hate them. We’re told that the “early bird gets the worm.” Most clearly successful people seem to be the ones who get up early and get almost half a day’s work done before the average person ever shows up at the office.

Much of the world judges you by how well you make it to work after managing to drop the kids off at daycare or school and not look like you’ve been up half the night.

The world seems to be designed for those morning folks. If you’re not a morning person, here are some ideas to help change your internal clock.

Changing your internal clock quickly doesn’t work very well. You might get a day or two out of that attempt, but then you’re going to be paying for it.

Choose a weekend to get a head start on your conversion to being a morning person. Then use your time over that weekend to get more sleep than usual. The truth is that most people are chronically sleep-deprived, so getting more sleep is good advice for everyone. But for people who are trying to reset their bodies to wake up earlier, this is especially important.

Plan on getting between eight and ten hours of sleep each night starting on Friday night. The idea is to go to bed earlier than usual and see what time you naturally wake up.

Eliminate any television, laptop, or tablet viewing right before going to bed. Many people use their smart phones as their alarm, so for this first weekend, turn off your phone so that there are no glowing objects in your bedroom as you’re sleeping.

Go to sleep as soon as you’re tired. This seems like an obvious bit of advice, but most people report getting a “second wind” and they end up staying up a couple hours longer than they intended.

Leave your blinds open so that in the morning your body naturally wakes with the rising sun. And when you wake up, don’t lie there drowsing. Get up. Go to the bathroom. To the kitchen and get a glass of water. Take the dog outside. Anything to get you moving.

Get a daily dose of sunlight for your vitamin D production. This helps your biological clock. Sunshine has also been linked to reducing depression symptoms.

Try to get up at the same time every morning, even on the weekends. Many people try to catch up on their sleep on the weekend, and if that’s what you want to do, then go to bed a lot earlier the evening beforerather than sleeping in later in the morning.

By Monday, you should be very well rested and able to wake up a little easier. Try to change your schedule by no more than an hour a week.

Photo Credit: wakeup via Bon Adrien at Flickr