I have been a night owl my entire life.. I am extremely more productive in the afternoons and sleepy in the mornings. Going to bed on time and getting up early has always been a challenge. I let my sleep schedule get out of control and erratic. My mornings started with hitting the snooze buttons until the very last minute where I could just make it to work or school on time.
Although I am more creative and get more done at night, my lack of sleep was starting to cause problems in many areas of my life. When I finally started a 9-5 job, I decided it was time to get it together and figure out some ways to get my sleep schedule on track.
It has been tough, but using these methods has gotten me to a point where I don’t (totally) hate early mornings anymore. I have even become slightly productive in the a.m., which is something I never thought I would say about myself.
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Go to bed on time
I know this is easier said than done, but it is important to get around 8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can have serious effects on your mood and overall health. Set a reasonable time to go to bed and stick to it. As a night owl, it will be hard to turn off your brain, but you can train yourself to get better at this.
Set a nightly Routine
To help get yourself in a mind set to sleep on time, you need a routine that will help you relax and slow down. This will help tell your body that it is time to go to bed. I try to wash my face, brush my teeth, set my clothes out for the next day and read a book.
Picking out clothes the night before
This is a huge time saver and can make your mornings go much smoother. Taking that decision out of the way can give you a few more minutes of sleep and take an unneeded hassle out of the morning.
Have breakfast planned and pack your lunch
I try to have breakfast made or planned out for the morning. My personal favorite is overnight oats. I make them on Sunday night and have them ready to grab and go for each day of the week.
If you take homemade lunch to work, make sure it is made the night before. Again, this minimizes decisions which will make the morning feel seamless rather than frantic.
Make your bed
Make your bed right away when you wake up. This will start your day off with an accomplishment. A win on your first task will start your day on a high note.
Create a morning routine
Routine, routine, routine. Having a plan for the day will help you wake up and prepare for the day. I brush my teeth, eat breakfast, and get dressed. The order doesn't matter, just stay consistent. Give yourself time in the morning. Starting your day out frantic or confused may be the beginning of a rough day.
Keep your sleep schedule on the weekends
It is okay to sleep in a half an hour to an hour on the weekends. (same idea for staying up at night) Keeping a clean and concise cycle will ultimately help your body adjust and keep your energy as high as possible. Even though you might want to stay up super late on the weekends, it is best to keep your weekday schedule right into the weekends so you do not throw off your system.
If all else fails and you really are having a hard time waking up early, look directly into a light (natural or artificial) for a few seconds to wake yourself up. Even though this will not be enjoyable.. it will send a message to your brain that it is time to wake up and get going for the day!
There is no doubt that this is a process that will take time, effort and willingness. I do guarantee you that you will feel better and live a better life if you gain control of you sleep cycle. Even if you go to bed at midnight and get up at 6, if you follow these tips it will still help you. Consistency is key with maintaining a regular sleep cycle.