How To Become a Morning Person
My biggest fear in writing this is that nobody would read it…why?
Nobody likes morning people!!!
I mean, what is it with them?! All chipper and accomplished...
Nobody likes to hear, “I just ran 4 miles and did my taxes” when you don’t even know what day it is yet. Damn overachievers.
Or worse yet, dating a morning person!!!
If you’re reading this thinking, “I’d rather have third degree burns on my sex organs than wake up early,” stick with me. I promise you’ll get some value on how to make waking up not suck so much.
I too, was the high school student that would fall asleep in the shower while his mom hollered, “You’re going to miss the bus!!”
I too, was the college student who’d have his roommates wake him up on their way to lunch.
And I too, never got a real job because…well, screw that, that’s why.
But wait, is waking up early even good for you?
In my last article, Health Tips: Get Sick Less and Feel Better this Winter, I said,
“If the first thing you say when you wake up to your alarm is, ‘fuck me sideways, I hate my life’, I’d suggest making some lifestyle changes.”
Yes, I encouraged you to sleep in, and don't deprive yourself…but, then get your ass up!
If you are a 4:30 a.m. Navy Seal type like Jocko Willink, well, you can forget it. That extra stress isn’t good for your body and neither is running marathons.
Before we go any further, I’d like to point out that it’s important to know your body.
The Sleep Doctor Michael Breus and Bulletproof’s Dave Asprey recommend checking your sleep chronotype. It’s critical to understand when your most productive part of the day is and build the life you want around that.
Good Mornings Start with Good Sleep Strategy
As podcast guest Diana Stobo told me, “know your no’s.”
If you want good sleep, let's start with some simple, science based rules:
- No caffeine after noon. The half life of caffeine is said to be as much as 8-10 hours for some people.
- No blue lights. Install dimmer switches in your home, power off your screens, and wear blue blocking glasses, so you don’t inhibit melatonin production.
- No social media. FOMO can keep us up at night! The surge of dopamine you get from scrolling never lets your racing mind relax.
- Don’t drink alcohol! Booze might help you pass out, but alcohol induced sleep doesn’t allow you go into normal sleep cycles, and it sure as hell doesn’t help you get up in the morning.
If you are rolling your eyes right now, saying “I sleep fine,” that’s great...but, “fine” or “normal” isn’t the goal. We are trying to optimize.
Get scientific and start tracking your sleep if you are a skeptic. There are plenty of tools out there to help - including the Fitbit, Aura Ring, and several iPhone apps.
Increase Your Sleep Efficiency
Having a good evening routine should increase your sleep efficiency. Yes, 7 or 8 hours of good sleep is better than 8 or 9 hours of mediocre sleep.
I roll out on a lacrosse ball or foam roller for 20 minutes every night to relax. Maybe you like candles or incense or books...
Turn your wifi off, yes, to avoid temptation, but mainly to stop microwaving your body with cancer causing radiation. You will sleep better.
How to Get Up at the Ass Crack of Dawn
Personally, I try to sync my body with the planet as best as I can. If it’s winter where you are and sunrise isn’t until 7 a.m., then set your alarm for then. If you’d like to really get a jump on the day, lookup “twilight” hours, typically 30-60 minutes before sunrise and wake up then.
Now that you are going to bed early and have high quality sleep, waking up early shouldn't cause you so much pain.
Avoid drastic changes and instead reset your circadian rhythm by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier everyday.
“I’m up! I’m up!”...Now What?
Riding the struggle bus?
Cold showers, coffee, and exercise are all going to help.
I get it, ⅔ of those things sound terrible to you…but here’s something all humans should agree on - sun!
Come on my vampire friend, getting up earlier is all about resetting your body’s natural cycles…drag yourself out of your mom’s basement and into the sunlight. It’s critical that you give your body a clue that it’s time to get up.
Get outside in as little clothing as possible and start absorbing those rays! This is one of my bigget jetlag tips, as I wrote in the Huffington Post.
If you are looking for “optimal”, why not combine these recommendations like I did in Austin, riding my bike to the office in a tee-shirt on chilly December mornings. Exercise, cold thermogenesis, and light all at once.
A damn good cup of coffee.
Celebrate and enjoy
Chances are waking up early will suck at first…just like yoga, exercise, cold showers, meditation, or eating vegetables.
What doesn’t suck?
The serenity of your early morning moments to yourself. The pride you can take in getting a jump on the day. Or, simply feeling better about yourself because of your healthy habits.
Most importantly, come up with your “why”, and make this reason personal to you. Make waking up early part of your personal vision for yourself and use it as a tool to crush your goals!
Have an early wake up tip? Leave it below.
Want to live the life you want? Listen to the Live Different Podcast or join Luz Garcia and I in Costa Rica this April 25-29 for yoga and mindfulness in the rainforest.