Not a morning person? You’re not alone. Many moms are most productive after they put the kids to bed. That’s when they can finally focus on their work, and they stay up late to take advantage of the quiet. They are the night owls. I’m not one of them. I’m pretty much useless after 9 pm. In fact, now that I have teens in the house, they are usually the ones tucking me in at night.
That’s because I’m typically awake before 6 am. But I wouldn’t call myself a morning person. I’m not exactly pleasant at that hour. It’s just become a habit. And I’m grateful for the habit because it works for me – and for my family. I enjoy my quiet time in the morning. I get to see the sunrise. And I start my day off with a workout so I am free to focus on whatever comes my way the rest of the day.
It’s not easy to shift your natural body clock and become a morning person. But for most of us, motherhood forces us into a new sleep cycle, whether we like it or not. So, how do you stop fighting the urge to stay up past your bedtime? How do you stop hitting the snooze button and waking up feeling rushed and stressed? How do you create habits that will help your body adjust to a different schedule? Here’s how I do it!
7 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person
- Set an alarm. I’m not talking about an alarm to wake you up in the morning, I’m talking about an alarm to remind you to go to bed at a decent hour. My friend Joy is reminded every evening at 11 pm with the sound of crickets chirping.
- Find a partner. Just like losing weight or starting an exercise program, having someone hold you accountable will increase your chance of success. If your husband isn’t able to play this role for you, confide in a friend or a sister who will call you out if she sees you posting on Facebook or hears you were up late watching TV.
- Limit the caffeine. This is an obvious one, and there are about a bazillion reasons to avoid caffeine. But if you’re trying to create a new sleep habit, caffeine can get in the way. Try limiting your intake to the morning only and see if that helps. By the way – it’s not just coffee that contains caffeine…read your labels carefully and consume your chocolate early in the day!
- Prepare in advance. One of the reasons I don’t call myself a morning person is that I don’t function very well for the first 30 minutes I’m awake. I can’t think clearly. I don’t walk very gracefully. And I definitely don’t speak to anyone. Which is why it’s important that I have everything I need ready to go the night before. If I’m working out in the morning, I get my outfit ready and any drinks or vitamins out. If I’m going to a meeting, I get my work clothes ready and pack a lunch if necessary. It makes it easier to deal with my morning brain. If you’re a list-maker, then make your To Do List the night before so you can jump right in to your day!
- Treat yourself. Ok, this is a little mind game I play with myself. But I like to have something to look forward to. So I give myself a little reward for waking up early. Sometimes it’s the opportunity to listen to a few chapters of my new audiobook while on a run. Or it may be a favorite breakfast treat. Or morning tea on the back porch with my Bible. Maybe, for you, it’s a chance to watch the morning news without interruption, or 30 minutes of alone time with your husband. Whatever sounds heavenly to you – try to work it into your morning schedule as a reward.
- Establish a morning routine. You probably have a bedtime routine – and you’ve established one for your children. But do you have a routine in the morning? This is another one of those tricks that helps you conquer morning brain – and move through the early hours with purpose. My morning routine gives me structure so that I don’t lose track of time and wonder why I am late for a 9 am appointment when I’ve been awake for four hours!
- Remember why you’re doing this. As with any significant goal, we sometimes need to be reminded why we want to accomplish it. Are you trying to become a morning person so you will start your day with peace and tranquility? Do you want to wake up earlier so you can exercise and be a healthier mom? Is your purpose to spend more quality time with your husband? Or are you trying to carve out a few precious hours to work on your business or spend time in prayer? Whatever your reason, keep it fresh in your mind. When that alarm goes off in the morning, and you desperately want to hit the snooze button, remember why you are doing this. And it will be easier to get out of bed.
Above all else, don’t worry if you are not embracing this whole shift in schedule. Nobody expects you to wake up with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. It only matters that you are waking up. The very act of doing this thing – waking up early – day after day, will make you a morning person. And you will become more comfortable. I have a friend who used to tell me she’s not a runner. She would say this to me WHILE we were running. It took a long time for her to see herself as a runner. But, the definition of runner is “a person who runs.” So, maybe you can’t be a morning person right away, but you can certainly be a person who wakes up early in the morning. Yes?