A couple of weeks ago, a well known coach, trainer and very highly regarded individual of whom I am a great fan but disagreed with in this instance, wrote an article stating that if you are not a morning person, just stay in bed, sleep until you want to get up. The article got a lot of support from many fellow coaches all agreeing that you do not need to read loads of productivity hacks and no-one should feel under pressure to run before breakfast or work while it is still dark and so on.
One of the things that struck me was the implication that if you are a certain way, you cannot change it and must therefore simply let yourself be. You concede. I think that is OK if you simply do not want to be a morning person.
What if you are not currently a morning person, but you do really want to be? Lump it? Carry on getting that lie in?
There is a huge amount of bias in what I’m writing here because I am very much a morning person. I am one of those people who runs 70-80 miles a week, all before 7.30am. I then sit down to breakfast with my kids and go about my day which was planned the night before. I love being up and about at the sea front where I live when there are very few people around. I love running while the sun comes up (in Summer), I love feeling that this is under my belt when I begin my working day. Like I said, I have bias.
When you are trying to accomplish something big, such as launching a new business, writing your book or starting an exercise program, productivity experts often suggest getting up early. I have recommended it myself in numerous articles here before. You can get a lot done without being distracted or interrupted in a quiet house. While this is a sound advice, it’s easier said than done. Especially if you firmly believe that you are not a morning person.
Learn more about increasing productivity:
How to be Incredibly Productive: 10 Keys to Productivity
“You might think getting up earlier is just a matter of discipline, but it actually takes much more than that,” says Julie Morgenstern, time management expert and author of Never Check Email in the Morning. “The truth is, your entire ecosystem has been built around sleeping later.”
When you’re likely to be thinking about positive changes to your morning routine, several obstacles will stand in your way. It’s possible to overcome them, it is possible to reinvent yourself as a morning person; the key is to start the night before. Here are seven strategies to make getting up early work for you:
Change Your Mindset:
Many people fight going to sleep because they want to get more stuff done in the night. “Consider sleep the beginning of the next day,” Morgenstern says, adding that this mind shift can change the way you look at sleep and make it exciting.
In the morning, your mind tells you that you need a little more sleep, it’s up to you to either listen to that voice or shut it and get your feet on the floor. Waking up in the morning is like winning over yourself every single day. It empowers you to do what you need to regardless of the situation.
Evidence on dealing with insomnia indicates that if you continue to get up at the same time each day, do your best to go to bed at the same time each night, though you may initially be tired with the change of schedule, your body will adjust, your mind will adjust and the new regimen and pattern can be forged. You don’t have to have insomnia to alter your sleeping pattern.
Invest belief in yourself and in your ability to become a morning person and it’ll become a whole lot easier.
Adjust Your Bedtime:
Many of us have already been experiencing the repercussions of inadequate sleep, and depriving you another hour of sleep runs the risk of setting you up for failure. The wisest thing to do is to go to bed as early as you can. Determine how many hours of sleep your body requires and make sure that you aren’t stealing your sleep in return. “Getting up earlier requires a fundamental shift in your neuro-pathways,” Morgenstern says.
Try not to waste time on unnecessary things. Going to bed at midnight and waking up by the 1st light in the morning is never going to be a rejuvenating experience. You will only find yourself drowned in caffeine for the rest of the day or feeling rubbish and lethargic.
Adjust Other Night-time Activities:
Examine your sleep hygiene.
You’ll maybe also have to adjust your dinner time as well as after-dinner decompression activities. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening and examine what you eat and drink. To help get a good night’s sleep, eat foods that are rich in protein, such as poultry, fish, red meat and eggs. Scientists have found that protein induces the releases of various gut hormones, which have been shown to have a significant effect on sleep. Also be cautious about spicy or acidic foods in the evening, as they can cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Likewise, stimulants such as caffeine should be limited and alcohol may help you get off to sleep, it also inhibits the quality of your sleep greatly.
Many people use television to wind down before going to bed, but this strategy can backfire. Not only does the light suppress melatonin hormone (which signals to our bodies and brains that it is time to get tired and go to sleep), but many programmes are stimulating rather than relaxing.
Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature to promote sleep (not too hot in particular) and is properly dark and your bed comfy enough. Sounds obvious but will make a big difference.
Prepare For Your Morning Activity:
Plan what you are going to do so that you don’t have to think too much when you do get up, and so that you have less opportunity to question or talk yourself out of it. Start to create new habits by simply taking regular action that does not require too much decision making, because the decision has been made the night before.
Excitement to get up for things that you love could be of great help too. So, before going to bed prepare for the next morning. ; if you’re planning to exercise, you can get your gym clothes, yoga mat or running shoes ready. If you’re going to be on your computer, tidy your home office, and preprogram your coffee maker.
Sometimes what keeps us in bed isn’t fatigue, but the morning task can make us feel overwhelmed. In this case, pre-programming can deliver success more readily. It will also make your next morning less complicated.
This is not just true and useful for sleep patterns, but is also good advice for productivity in general. Walking in to work each day with your plans made will result in less brain fatigue and much more energy to spend on doing the most important elements of the day early.
Turn Off Electronics:
At least 60 minutes before you go to bed pull the plug on electronic activities, such as watching television (especially highly stimulating TV shows), checking email, reading on an e-reader or social media. Try to replace these activities with something relaxing, such as listening to music, reading a paper book, taking a bath, being mindful or engaging in a relaxation exercise of some kind.
Any kind of light can shift your circadian rhythms (tells our bodies when to sleep and regulates many other biological processes), making it harder to sleep at night. Research has shown that the blue light emitted by electronics like televisions, laptops and mobile phones can disturb sleep even more than natural light. To make dosing easier, turn off those electronic screens at least an hour before you go to bed.
Create A Pre-bedtime Routine:
Give yourself enough time to unwind by creating a pre-bedtime routine. For example, make a ritual of the things that relax you and prepare you for sleep. You can even use that routine to help you get to sleep if you follow this self-hypnosis process for sleeping better here.
As mentioned already, devices that are backlit are more disruptive than those that are illuminated from the front, so may ramp up your energy and make it more difficult to sleep. Instead try some other smart options including e-ink readers or good old fashioned paper books (I read comics!) that don’t have their own light source and some other relaxing activities that soothe you and enhance your ability to sleep well.
Make It a Habit:
“Going to sleep and waking up early syncs your body with the earth’s natural circadian rhythms and is more restorative than trying to sleep when the sun is up,” says Psychotherapist Dr Tracey Marks. When you’re waking up early, always make sure that you engage yourself in doing something pleasurable. This will motivate you to get up early and look forward to doing the activity. One of the worst things to do is have an invasive sounding alarm that you end up dreading that gives you a shrill shudder to get you up.
Once you’ve started to wake up earlier, make it a habit to continue the same routine every day, or at least as much as possible. Start a consistent morning routine. By making it into a habit to get up early every day at a set time, you will adjust to it and be comfortable in the future to get up at that time. You’ll be reinvented as a morning person!
Having that extra time in the morning is a boon. You’re able to invest more in yourself and start accomplishing some of your goals more quickly. There are going to be mornings where you bounce out of bed and are firing on all cylinders, and there are other mornings where you are going to have to fall back on your routine and rely on it to get you through the morning fog. Especially in the early stages as you make the changes.
Whichever way you go, remember that you need to prepare, commit if you want to become really good at something. Instead of sleeping in, wake up early and enjoy the day in style.
If you’d like to learn more or if this has resonated with you in some way, then visit these pages:
1. Has lack of energy held you back and is it still doing so now? Do you need more drive?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others become more energised and driven?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist for whom lack of energy and drive is negatively effecting the success of your business? Do you need more inspiration to fulfil your career ambitions?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.
Could you post the link to the original study please, I haven’t seen it and would like to have a look.
Hi Richard, it is really the book I mention here that has numerous studies referred to whereby the author was able to make these statements, not just a single study.
Best wishes to you, Adam.