Do you ever long to be one of those people who wakes up early enough to have the time to exercise, have a nice breakfast, and get a head start on the day? How about feeling more proactive and more productive right from the get-go? Of course, both genetics and lifestyle impact our circadian rhythms. Giving myself ample time to start the day is something that I apply myself to cultivate on a daily basis. For the longest time, I didn’t see myself as a morning person, per se, but I now realize that by tweaking just a few things, this can actually change. Six simple strategies can be used in order to enjoy seeing the sunrise every day if you wish!
Progressively Modify Your Wake Time
Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach your desired wake-up time. Keep that same time on the weekends too to better reinforce this new habit.
Plan Something You Love Doing
Start the day with something you are really looking forward to like a delicious cup of coffee or tea, a morning yoga routine, or a sitting meditation session. It can easily be 20 minutes of “me time.”
Let the Light In
Let the light in as soon as you wake up by opening the curtains/blinds and turning on some lights if it is still dark. Light directly impacts our internal clock. Even better, go outside between 2 and 10 minutes within half an hour of your wake-up time, if possible. Even on a cloudy day, we are exposed to a whole lot more light outside than if we stay indoors under bright lights. You can get a free “lightmeter” app to check this out!
Eat at Regular Times
Along with daylight exposure, eating at regular times helps establish and maintain a normal circadian rhythm. Eat breakfast when you wake up, lunch at approximately the same time each day, and dinner no later than 7:00 p.m. (2-3 hours before bedtime).
Exercise is another wonderful cue for circadian rhythm alignment or reset. Exercising in the morning stimulates the brain and body by increasing blood flow. Exercise has been shown to lead to improved memory recall, focus, and cognition. Exercising outside, enjoying the natural outdoor light is even better of course to feel fully awake!
Go to Bed Earlier
In order to wake up earlier full of energy, you need to go to bed earlier too. As mentioned in 5 Steps to a Better Night’s Sleep, turning down the lights at night, avoiding exercising near bedtime, and not drinking coffee late in the day are three important steps to follow. Deep breathing exercises can help you de-stress at the end of the day. Avoiding digital devices at least an hour before bedtime is also highly recommended as those will keep you engaged when it’s time to wind down.
Sooner than you think, chances are, you will wake up ready to take on the day like never before!
Until next time!
Henderson, Kim. “6 Simple Ways to Become an Early Riser.” Brain Health Blog | BrainMD | Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., 11 Nov. 2020, brainmd.com/blog/6-simple-ways-to-become-an-early-riser. Accessed 31 July 2021.
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