Former Night Owls Offer Tips For Becoming A Morning Person
A healthy sleep schedule can be paramount to success and is essential for maintaining overall well-being. Many people, however, find themselves trapped in erratic cycles, resulting in lost productivity and constant exhaustion. If you're a night owl looking for ways to improve your sleep, this thread is for you.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Great advice. Also, keep your alarm across the room.
I've been both, and still can be both depending on what I need to accomplish.
Never hit the snooze button ever again. Never. As soon as that alarm goes off sit up and get moving. Drink a glass of water (or orange juice) and have a shower.
If you wake up 5 minutes before the alarm goes off, get up. This ties in with the snooze button but anything less than 30 minutes of sleep is useless and makes it harder to get up.
Dogs have owners, cats have staff. Either way, you can't sleep in.
Have pets with strong opinions.
I wake up at 6:30 every day because the animals are ready for breakfast. They do not understand concepts like weekends or holidays, so even if I don't set an alarm, someone will be meowing or licking me awake.
Expend calories during the day. Lots of calories.
Exercise twice as much as you use to. This will make you tired and want to sleep earlier. Then keep track of when you sleep and when you wake up. Keep sleeping ten to fifteen minutes earlier until the problem is solved.
Yeah... no. Do people really get up before noon?
Go to bed early. Do not consume any caffeine past noon, including chocolate or tea. Do this every day, regardless of whether or not you have obligations in the morning or not.
I've done this, it works.
My bedroom window faces east. In order to wake up with enough time to properly get ready for work, I stopped sleeping with the curtains closed. Now that they're open, I wake up with the sun. At first, it was a difficult transition but now I find myself walking up naturally early on weekends, even if the curtains are closed.
Sleeping pills au naturale.
Melatonin supplements are great for getting to bed a reasonable time.
Like a Bandaid, make it quick.
I used to get up every single morning at 5:30 in the morning to work out before school, so I can speak to this. I think an important thing to note is that "morning" people (especially people getting up before 7:00 am) are not skipping out of bed alert and chipper. Months into waking up at 5:30 am, you will STILL be miserable getting up, and it will feel like hell and you want to go back to bed desperately EVERY SINGLE TIME. The difference is that the momentum and power of your habit overcome that dread and longing to stay in your bed and hit the snooze button and you rise out of bed like a machine to go splash some cold water on your face. It is not easy, and it likely will never be! But habits are a powerful thing, so if you want to be a morning person you just have to do it. Don't ever expect that getting out of bed really early in the morning to be a fun thing to do.
Your work schedule can determine your sleeping habits.
Until I got myself a job where I had to be at work at 4 in the morning, I was a total night owl. I'd go to bed at 2 or 3 and sleep until noon. Now, I'm just the opposite. It's rare I'm up past midnight and always awake before 8 in the morning. I was forced into it and now if I stay up too late, I get blinding headaches.
This seems so... tranquil.
I have to wake up at 5:30 to get ready for work, I used to go to sleep at 3/4am.
I set my alarm for 5. I get up, I turn the heating on for a shower, I make a cup of tea and I get back in bed to drink the tea and browse the internet. Once I finish my tea, the boiler has heated the water so I can shower and get ready. Then I eat breakfast.
The desire to stay up late never goes away.
I was a night owl and then got a 9-5 job. I had the motivation to do it and just started getting up earlier. It was definitely a tough adjustment because I generally wasn't tired when I knew I had to go to bed but you gradually get used to it. The most important thing was to just set a time to go to sleep and stick to it. After a couple of months, as long as I had gotten enough sleep I was wide awake in the morning. Now I actually get more work done before lunch than after on most days! I still want to just stay up until 3 am and play video games sometimes though.
Being a night owl could be genetic, says science.
Some scientists believe that people are genetically set to be night or morning people or something in between.
This makes sense if you think about the way different peoples lived way back in the day. Some people were agrarian, meaning they generally stay in one place, have a regular schedule for eating and sleeping and tend to crops/livestock. I imagine these would be early risers.
Then you had nomadic tribes, whose diet and sleep schedule depended on resources in whatever area they were in. Being constantly on the move, one can imagine that they'd need to be on high alert to guard against theft or predators at night. It would serve someone well back then to be able to stay up well past dark for these reasons. Warriors would have this type of schedule as well. Perhaps they'd take turns taking naps etc. Sleep habits like these form epigenetic traits that are passed down from your ancestors.
Anyway, to answer your question (i'm an extreme night owl) whenever I've had to set myself an early schedule I set my alarm for the target time and keep an orange or something refreshing to eat right as the alarm rings. After a couple of days, you'll start waking up at this time more easily as your stomach signals food intake to your brain as the start of a new day. Or so I've read. Works for me.
Having a kid means NO sleep.
Honestly, for me, having a kid was the ultimate switch. But seriously, take a shower as soon as you get up and don't hesitate to get out of bed as soon as you open your eyes.
Goals. Single af.
I made the switch only when I had something I really looked forward to every morning. I met someone who was an early bird and was giddy looking forward to texts from him when he woke up. It just stuck after that.
This method of self-torture is actually quite effective.
I have two alarms, one is set for an hour before I actually need to get up. It breaks me out of my deep sleep and leaves me with another hour to rest. It takes a bit of getting used to in the beginning, but nowadays I actually wake up feeling good and not groggy!
We night owls do have routines... of bad habits.
Routine routine routine. I can not stress this enough. People get into bad habits sleep wise because they do not have a routine. Doesn't matter if you go to bed at 4 am or 10 pm. You need to do it consistently. You're impacting your health of you vary your sleep time every other day.
Daylight Saving Time for sleep? How novel.
I switched from night owl to morning person because I wanted to be able to work on some of my hobbies before work because I was always too tired/cranky afterward. So my no. 1 tip would be:
- Have a reason to get up early. Literally, something to get you out of bed. For me, it's drawing while listening to music and enjoying a cup of coffee or tea.
- Do some light reading before your new bedtime. Try to avoid your TV, computer, and phone. Even just 30 minutes of reading can make a big difference and helps quiet down your brain. Music works too, or something like meditation.
As for the actual process, I made the switch the weekend DST ended. It gives you that extra hour to help with the adjustment.
I need to buy some blue lights.
I'll assume you already know about basic sleep hygiene.
Some seriously effective way for shifting your sleep cycle is through light therapy. You'll need a bit of equipment or the opportunity to be outside in clear weather in the morning.
The recommended protocol is:
Day 1. Wake up and rise at your natural time. Immediately get as much light exposure as you can through a 10000 lux lamp or sunlight. Get to bed at a reasonable time with good sleep hygiene.
Day 2 wake up one hour earlier than day 1. Immediately get as much light exposure as you can through a 10000 lux lamp or sunlight. Get to bed at a reasonable time with good sleep hygiene.
Day 3 wake up one hour earlier than day 2. Immediately get as much light exposure as you can through a 10000 lux lamp or sunlight. Get to bed at a reasonable time with good sleep hygiene.
In addition, you might use glasses blocking blue light in the evening before sleep. They will stimulate melatonin production and help shift your sleep cycle. There are some medically certified brands, but the orange Uvex Skyper glasses are a cheaper option that does work just as well. Wear them from about 12 hours prior to waking up.
(Sources: I'm a resident doctor with special interest in sleep, have worked with leading sleep researchers and dated younger sleep researchers. To lazy to paste any links right now)
Well, that's one way to be woken up early.
I joined the military, that did the trick.
Spoiler alert: some of us kids are always needy.
Having small children. By the time you're able to sleep in again, they've trained you out of it.
This is great advice. Naps are amazing, but they'll keep you up at night.
Do not take naps during the day. Ever. You'll have trouble sleeping that night, then getting up the following morning.