You’re either someone who presses snooze multiple times, or you’re not. You have to wonder, is the tendency to bound out of bed cheerfully inherited or is it something we can train ourselves to do?
Turns out being an early riser is influenced by several different factors: age, gender, internal body clocks and genetic coding. Research carried out by Robert Carter Ph.D., indicates that less than 1% of the population is genetically influenced to be night owls.
Some people may not identify with night owl or morning riser, but this is a place to start, and you’ll reap the rewards for choosing the latter.
Morning people get more done, are more conscientious, and have quicker reaction times when their limits are tested. If you’re tired of depending on coffee to get you through until noon, here’s how to hack becoming an early bird.
Getting up earlier can improve your typical working day
Interestingly, morning larks show higher levels of resting brain connectivity at all times of day, making them happier, better performers and less sleepy when they’re up and about than, well, everyone else. What’s more, morning people are more proactive, agreeable, and less prone to bad habits. Having a tendency towards keeping later hours has been linked to depression and procrastination.
Our sleep and wake cycles are dictated by our inner body clock, aka circadian rhythms. What’s great about these rhythms is that they are influenced by our behaviour and can be adjusted with just a few tweaks to our lifestyle.
(You don’t have to give up coffee. Safe to keep reading.)
Sleep, baby, but sleep tight and right
If you’re planning on switching from night owl to morning lark, you’ll need to make sure you’re still getting the right amount of sleep. Lack of sleep won’t just leave you feeling tired, you’ll also be more likely to feel sad, irritable and easily stressed.
Try heading to bed a quarter hour earlier than your usual time. Once you are comfortable with this, repeat again (and again) until you’re heading to bed before 10:30 pm each evening. This will ensure you’re able to get around 7 to 9 hours of sleep and rise before 8 am. It’s the time we choose to fall asleep that has the most significant impact on providing the benefits morning people enjoy.
Blues in the morning, yellows at night…
To make heading to bed earlier in the evening more comfortable, increase your exposure to sunlight in the morning and reduce exposure to blue light in the evenings. That pesky blue light can affect how we sleep, even though it can be tempting to read “just one more article,” in the comfort of our beds.
Blue light comes from our phones, TVs and other electronic devices. Reducing blue light exposure can be done by applying night modes to screens, switching off the TV an hour or so before bed and removing electronics from your bedroom. Exposure to light is one of the greatest influencers of our circadian rhythms.
Simple enough, right?
Consistency, is the key to bedtime city
It’s also essential to maintain a consistent bedtime all through the week. This means ditching weekend sleep-ins and regular late nights out. (Brunch starts earlier than you may think.) Even the occasional sleep-in or late night will disrupt your sleep rhythms, so a weekend staying in bed till late can undo all the progress you’ve made throughout the week.
Evening snacking should look like this 🍒
Finally, the food you eat can also help, or hinder, your sleep. Avoid caffeine, spicy and fatty foods later in the day. If you do want to snack in the evening, choose foods that are high in melatonin (walnuts and tart cherries), magnesium (avocado, cashews) and tryptophan (salmon and spinach) as they’ll help your body relax and prepare you for a good night’s rest.
While the time we choose to sleep is influenced by a range of factors, our own behaviour can dictate when and how well we rest.
Amazing to think that it’s possible to shift an AM attitude.