Calling all night owls! If your new year's resolution was to try waking up earlier and you're failing spectacularly, just know you're not alone. It's hard to break the habit of a lifetime – especially when our beds are somehow extra cosy in the mornings!
But we want that peaceful or productive mornings that all those early birds are always bragging about – and we've got some tips to help you ditch the snooze button and get up and at 'em bright and early!
Try 5 minutes earlier…then 5 minutes more
If you’re trying to wake up an hour or two earlier than your usual rising time, you may struggle with the harsh change in sleeping conditions and will be challenged to actually stick with it. You might try it two or three times and then give up entirely out of exhaustion.
I find practices like that just make me resent the morning that little bit more and less eager to be up and about making the most of the time. If anything, I actually lose sleep the night before worrying about being up early and not getting enough sleep. Our brains and routines aren’t used to jarring change and likely won’t stick with it. Instead, try the five-minute method.
Set your alarm five minutes earlier than usual until it becomes a habit. Then once you’re settled into it, try another five minutes earlier, and continue until you reach the desired time you want to wake up at. Slowly sleep training your body can be a more effective method than forcing it bluntly out of routine.
Work with your circadian rhythm
Ever notice you sleep later and feel tired earlier in the winter? With darker mornings and shorter days, our body’s natural rhythm gets all messed up and we can feel sluggish and tired most of the time.
This is your body trying to adjust to the natural changes in light over the seasons. The switching of hours every autumn and spring can be a bit of a disaster for our body’s natural clock, leaving us addled between night and day. Instead of fighting it, if your routine makes it possible try to go with your body’s natural sleep urges.
If your body is telling you it’s tired at 10pm, give in and go to sleep. If you naturally wake at 6 or 7 with the sun, don’t roll over and shut your eyes again – throw open the curtains and let your body adjust to the light.
Switch up your heating timer
There’s nothing worse than waking up to a cold house. You’ll want to stay in your lovely warm bed and never leave the cosiness to enter the cold hall and kitchen to start your day.
Instead, adjust your heat to come on an hour or so before you wake up so the house is nice and toasty to start your day off. It makes the morning less miserable and you’ll be far more willing to get up and start your day.
Pro tip: Place the clothes you’re planning on wearing or the towels you shower with on the radiator the night before so you’ll have lovely warm clothes or towels to start your day!
Plan a lovely breakfast
Food can be a great motivator, especially in the mornings. Break your night-long fast with a gorge breakfast of avocado toast or overnight oats – something you’re excited to try or an indulgent start to your day.
Change your alarm
Have a harsh alarm tone ruining your day before it even starts? Disaster. I know as well as any night owl that sometimes we need that extra bit of tinny, musical pressure from our phones just to get up and turn. It. Off! But that frustration is no way to start your day.
It’s up to your whether you want to blast some of your favourite 2000s pop or soothing bird song, but something that gives you a bit of happiness or calm or energy in the morning is always a good choice. Be sure to switch it up now and again so you don’t start to hate your favourite tunes!
Ditch the phone first thing
We all do it – roll over, alarm off, phone on and scroll. News of the day, what your bestie was up to last night, making weekend plans – we’re immediately switched on and bombarded with info – but there might be a nicer way to start you day.
Leaving the phone out of the first half hour can change the way you’re looking at your day. Starting off with a peaceful meditation, journal mind dump, soothing cup of tea or even a chapter or two of a really good book can give you a little conscious me-time and ease you into your day. It’s a tough habit to break, but it just might make waking up that little bit more enjoyable.