Learn how to wake up early and kickstart your career, health and happiness by making the most of your mornings
Wondering how to wake up early and train yourself to become a lark rather than a night owl? One w&h staffer has mastered it and now she’s making the most of her mornings:
‘It didn’t surprise me to hear that Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg and Ariana Huffington are larks.
What do I mean by that phrase? Well according to the sleep experts, there are two defined sets of sleepers. There’s those who go to bed early and rise early (larks), and those who burn the midnight oil and struggle to function before 10am (night owls).
I definitely used to be the latter. Sleeping was missing out and I’d rather be bleary eyed the next day than risk that.
Then everything changed. I decided I needed to make the most of the day – and with a busy job – that meant waking up earlier. So I trained myself to be a lark.
Instead of sleeping through my alarm and rushing to get ready for work, I decided to change my body clock. Now, I wake up at 5:30 every day and take an hour for myself before work.
Simply making the most of those few hours before breakfast can apparently also make all the difference to your health and happiness too. Follow my guide for early morning motivation…
Bring the clock forward slowly. It's great to have the resolution to wake up earlier every morning
and get things done, but saying it and actually doing it are two very
different things. It won't take long before you fall back in to old,
late-sleeping habits if you don't make a gradual change.
My body clock is used to early starts
now but in the beginning I struggled. So, instead of deciding 5:30 was
my wake up call immediately, I gradually eased myself in by bringing my
alarm forward by half an hour every day. Soon it felt like the norm to
be up and about earlier.
It's no use bringing the clock forward if you're going to feel groggy all day. So, late nights had to give - at least during the week. I now go to bed at 10:30pm latest. And I genuinely don't feel that I'm missing out at all!
It's all about finding a sleep pattern that works for you - 5:30am might not be realistic. So
experiment with your body clock and find the sleep pattern that feels
right. Oh and pack some nuts in your handbag for that 3pm lull.
Mornings are a great time to achieve those personal goals, especially fitness. Simply changing the time you lace up your trainers can make a real difference. Research has shown that the optimum time to burn fat is between 6am and 8am.
I signed up for a 10k - the only time I could realistically train was in
the morning - and that gave me the motivation to get up earlier.
So why not haul yourself out of bed and do a quick thirty minute blast. It will wake you up, kick start your metabolism (so you'll burn more calories throughout the day) and bust stress. Well worth the bleary eyes!
I had to shift my mindset in the first week or so to force myself to get up, and this trick really helped...
See mornings as a new chance to succeed rather than the start of another long day. The things you achieve before breakfast will have a positive impact on the rest of your day, so try to wake up feeling that anything is possible.
If you don't want to go to the gym, use the extra time to research a distance learning course or plan that weekend away. Cracking the to-do list will seem less of a chore if you've spent some time on yourself beforehand.
Blue light emitting technology is to blame for many a restless night. So, before you go to bed, turn off the TV and leave your phone, laptop or tablet in the living room. Then relax - without a screen!
I light a candle, turn
off my phone, put on gentle music and reach for a book. Half an hour
later, the candle is out and so am I.