How to Become an Early Riser

January…it’s often considered the coldest and dreariest of months. And who can blame us for feeling that way. The excitement of the holidays is over, our vacation time has ended, the sky is bland, and the temperatures make you want to burrow under a pile of blankets and never come out. BUT, you have your New Year’s Resolutions to kick start, so here are a few tips to make sure that those grey days don’t stand in your way.

Wake Up Gradually 

One of the simplest ways to start becoming more of a morning person isn’t actually to “just do it,” but to ease into an earlier wake up time. If you usually crawl out of bed at 8:00 am and only give yourself a handful of minutes to get out the door, start by setting your alarm for 7:45 am for the next couple of days. Then move it back to 7:30 am, then 7:15 am, then 7:00 am, etc, until you reach your desired wake up time. Don’t be afraid to take it slow and let your body adjust.

Sleepy Time

All that being said about waking up earlier goes hand in hand with actually going to bed earlier. That’s a hard pill for some to swallow, but getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep will make waking up at whatever hour you would like much easier. Plus if you are actually going to bed earlier and getting up earlier, you won’t likely feel like you are losing much time in your day.

Make a Plan

Just setting your clock earlier doesn’t mean it will immediately be easier to get out of bed, so it’s important to make a plan for your mornings. Lay out an outfit that you will enjoy wearing in the morning the night before. Plan a delicious breakfast in advance to look forward to. Set your coffee maker to automatically have your favorite brew ready on time.  Plan an exercise you enjoy to start your day and get you moving. The fewer decisions you have to make immediately after you wake up, the easier your morning will feel.  Plus, having things you love in place already will hopefully make you look forward to the day ahead.

Tech Don’ts

You’ve likely heard it before, but do you follow the advice? Turn your phone off! Or at least put it away before bed.  Instead of scrolling through Twitter or checking one last email, avoid the temptation and cozy up with a book instead. Not only does phone usage stimulate our brains instead of lulling them to sleep, but the glow of blue-ish light from the screen can also trick our brains into thinking that it is still daylight. So don’t be afraid to put the phone down 30-60 minutes before bed time.

Tech Dos

Despite cell phones and technology often being a cause for lack of sleep, there are actually several apps and other products designed to help you get out of bed! Here are a few interesting ones:

  1. Sleep Cycle app– this app works by using your phone’s movement sensors to monitor your movement during the night and wake you up during your lightest sleep cycle, when you are less likely to feel the need to hit that snooze button.
  2. Step Out of Bed– this app will not shut off its alarm until it senses that you have walked 30 steps, ensuring that you actually get out of bed.
  3. Movable alarm clocks – there are a myriad of options to choose from here, but a quick Google search will reveal alarm clocks that run away, shoot pieces needed to shut them off across the room, or shake your bed. You decide how much of a nudge you’ll need to get up in the morning.
  4. Light based alarm clocks – light clocks mimic the sun rise to help your body understand that it is wake up time. Like the Sleep Cycle app mentioned above, these cater to your circadian rhythms to achieve a more natural feeling morning call time.

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