My heart always goes out to those friends of mine who have children who wake up early. It seems a heavy burden to bear to have to wake up with the sun, and in the past I have been grateful that my own children take my view of the morning: No good can come from beating the sun to greet the day.
But, as I said, that is in the past. While my two sons had no trouble getting with the family sleep program, my daughter seems to have missed the memo and has alerted us to the fact that the sun actually is up before 6:30am these days. Who knew?
Perhaps more surprising to me than the time at which the sun shows its face is the fact that waking up early is not all yawns and grumpiness. Often, when I get up early, the day goes much smoother. We are not always rushing to get ready to go because we have plenty of time to do get out the door. And when we’re not rushed, we’re not frustrated, impatient, or snappish.
And, perhaps the most surprising part of this development in our family dynamics is the fact that I find myself wanting to become a morning person. The night owl in me has realized that there may be something to this work-while-the-sun-shines philosophy. However, merely wanting to be a morning person does not make me one. There are circadian rhythms here that have been out of sync for years and mindsets that need to change, and they don’t reset overnight.
However, there are ways to coax internal clocks to shift, so that mornings are long and happy, and nights are cozy and sleepy. Read on for some tips to naturally become the early bird that gets the worm!
You, Too, Can Become An Early Bird 1 of 6
It's not as hard as it sounds — it just takes a little coaxing.
Open the curtains to maximize natural light. 2 of 6
Before you go to sleep, open the curtains or blinds in your room. Let the sunlight wake you up. Then leave the curtains open so you have as much natural light in your house as you can get. Natural light helps regulate circadian rhythms.
Eat a good breakfast. 3 of 6
Fueling your day well — with something that is both healthy and tasty — will, obviously, give you the energy boost you need after having fasted through the night, but it'll also make getting out of bed less of a chore and more of a reward. (I, personally, look forward to digging into a bowl of homemade slow-roasted granola in the mornings.)
Get outside, and get moving, early. 4 of 6
Now that you're awake, it's time to soak up as much sun as you can. Get outside to increase your exposure to natural light. And get moving take a walk, go for a run, ride your bike to increase your energy level.
Dim the lights at night. 5 of 6
Less exposure to artificial light allows your body to power down and sync with the sun.
Put the screens to bed early. 6 of 6
The sun has gone to bed and so must as many sources of artificial light as you can turn off. Not only does the exposure to light keep your body awake, but the activity and movement on screens can keep your mind busy when it needs to be quieting down for bed.
all photos (except “Get outside, and get moving early.”) via istockphoto.com