"The early bird catches the worm" is not a phrase you're happy to hear if you're a bona fide night owl. You might have friends who spring out of bed in the early hours and accomplish a multitude of tasks before you've even managed to brush your teeth. Maybe you've always been envious of those people. While it may feel unnatural to you to follow suit, there are ways to trick yourself into becoming a morning person. It's not just about setting your alarm clock for an earlier time - the key is to make this habit a cheerful one.
Here are some tips to get you up and at 'em, and in a better mood:
Rise and shine
Darkness definitely makes waking up a lot harder. That's why if you have a lot of trouble in the morning, light therapy is an effective option. A lamp that mimics natural sunlight can help you to shift your internal clock, making you more alert at an earlier hour. Refinery 29 recommended plugging in the verilux happylight energy lamp, which can be set to your desired intensity and actually elevate your energy, mood and even your focus. All you need is 30-60 minutes of exposure for your body to recalibrate, so flick it on before you eat your breakfast or while you're doing your makeup.
Pack in the protein
A wimpy breakfast is not going to give you the nutrients you need for alertness and concentration first thing in the morning. Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D., a Washington, D.C.-based nutrition expert, told Real Simple magazine that an ideal breakfast will contain protein, one fruit or vegetable and a whole grain. This could include whole wheat toast with almond butter and a banana, or oats with chia seeds and blueberries. She explained that when you first wake up, your blood sugar and metabolism are at their lowest points, so it's crucial to have a substantial breakfast to fuel you through the morning.
Routinely reward yourself
It wasn't easy dragging yourself out of bed, so you deserve a pat on the back. Since you're up earlier than usual, you have time to give yourself one, too. Take a few of those extra minutes to reward yourself by reading your favorite blog, doing an express exercise routine or just meditating to clear your mind. Or, let yourself stop by that cute local coffee shop for a beverage instead of making one at home. Plus, you're a lot less likely to press the snooze button when you know you have something to look forward to.
Start the day in motion
Working out may not be the first thing you want to do, but physical activity in the morning can set a positive tone for the rest of your day. In fact, Dr. Tracey Marks, M.D., an Atlanta-based psychiatrist, told Real Simple that our bodies are designed to be most alert mid-morning. She also explained that since your adrenaline levels and body temperature are higher post-exercise, you can keep that energy surging if you workout earlier in the day. On top of that, engaging in physical activity at night can make it harder to fall asleep, which will definitely make it more difficult to get up the next morning.