Rise and Shine: Becoming a Morning Person in 3 Easy Steps

March 30, 2016


Don’t hit that snooze button! While many of us relish sleeping in, there’s a compelling argument for grabbing a cup of coffee and starting your day instead.

Early mornings are ideal for productivity: You can work more efficiently with fewer interruptions, squeeze in personal tasks before rush hour, and greet the start of the “official” business day in full stride.

And when you're up that early, you're certainly not alone. Go getters like Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group wakes at 5:45am each morning to work out, and eat breakfast before heading to the office.

For others, waking at the crack of dawn is de rigeur. Anna Lary, a Vancouver-based electrician, wakes at 5:30 a.m. to read just to get into the right headspace to start work at 7 a.m.,

The common theme here? An early wake-up (and lots of exercise!). In fact, studies show early risers are more productive – not to mention healthier and happier – than night owls. But if you're not a morning person, don't fret. Here’s how you too, can become an early riser in three simple steps:

1. Start going to sleep earlier

“On average, adults should sleep seven to eight hours a night. It’s important to base your bedtime off of when you need to wake in the morning,” says Alanna McGinn, founder of Toronto-based Good Night Sleep Site, which provides sleep education and coaching to new parents and corporate clients. So, if you want to awake at 5am, go to bed by 9pm or 10pm. Ease in by heading to bed progressively earlier over the course of a couple weeks.

Setting a bedtime is key. Don’t wait to get sleepy: create the environment to fall asleep.

2. Cultivate an early-to-bed, early-to-rise environment

Set the stage for sleep with the following best practices:

• Turn off screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime

• Make sure your sleep environment is conducive to sleep, no TVs, tablets, iPhones, piles of paperwork, or other projects in the bedroom

• Follow a calming and consistent bedtime routine which may include meditation, herbal tea, a hot bath, or whatever else relaxes you

Prep for early-morning alertness by programming your coffee maker so you wake to fresh coffee – “Lots of coffee!” says Lary. And draw the curtains if the sun’s out (Branson’s secret).

3. Fully commit

Follow a consistent sleep pattern, so your body adjusts to your sleep schedule, making it easier to fall asleep, and wake up.

In other words, to make this lifestyle stick, you have to go all in – everyday, every week. But, if you’re like many high achievers, “all in” is a concept you live by. 

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