Being a morning person is often synonymous with productivity, with many leaders, entrepreneurs, athletes and personal development aficionados attributing their success with rising early. A survey conducted by The Guardian supports this idea, finding that many CEOs of successful companies are awake by 5 am.
One reason early risers may be more productive and successful is that they are often more well-rested than their night-owl counterparts. Author of the book The Morning Mind, Robert Carter (PhD), expands on this, saying ‘the killer of persistence is fatigue and frustration. Early risers are less fatigued, less irritable, and have less frustration (compared to night owls). Carter also points out that less than 1% of people are actually genetically programmed to be night owls. More often, Carter suggests, these people are suffering from sleep deprivation or sleep restriction.
Another reason early rises are considered higher performers is their schedule helps them maintain a better routine, and, more specifically, a routine that pairs with the average workday (9 am to 5 pm). However, as the days grow darker and the temperatures start to drop, maintaining an early rising routine can be difficult.
This is largely due to the lack of sunlight that greets you in the colder months, which can impact your melatonin levels. As Janet K. Kennedy (PhD), a clinical psychologist and founder of NYC Sleep Doctor points out, ‘melatonin is the body’s sleep hormone, and it is more plentiful in winter months….if it’s still dark when you wake up, your melatonin shutoff will be sluggish, and you’ll have difficulty waking up.’ So, physiologically, it is harder to wake up in Autumn and Winter, however, it’s not impossible.
Moreover, maintaining a set routine during the colder months can help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder and stop you from feeling sluggish. So, here are 3 ways to be a morning person, even in the cold months:
Ditch the snooze
The snooze button is designed to let you go back to sleep for a few minutes, without entering into a deep sleep cycle. While there is nothing wrong with this, it can stop you from being an early riser, and once you get into the habit of hitting the snooze button, it’s a hard one to break. So instead, try ‘inverted snoozing,’ which is like setting yourself a challenge that 'tricks' you out of bed each morning. The key is that when you hit the snooze button, instead of continuing to sleep you do everything you can to not go back to sleep. So for one snooze cycle, you challenge yourself to, for example, turn on your bedroom light and drink water. This technique will help push you out of bed and gives you a fixed goal to go after every morning.
Let the light in
Light is a significant part of sleep, whether it’s natural or artificial. This is because light tells your brain that the day has begun, which in turn sends signals to your body to stop making melatonin – aka the sleep hormone. If it’s dark when you want to wake up in the colder months, say at 5:30 or 6:00 am, you can trick your brain with artificial lighting into thinking the sun has risen by turning on the lights in your bedroom as soon as your alarm goes off.
Streamline your morning routine
To make room for all the things you will look forward to when rising early, take care of the things you won’t look forward to the night before. Make your lunch, lay out your outfit and have a to-do list for the next day already prepared and written, the night before, so your time in the morning can be for you. In this way, you streamline your morning routine and give yourself the chance to wake up every morning feeling prepared, calm and excited for the extra time you have each morning.
The old saying goes ‘early to bed, early to rise, make a man healthy, wealthy and wise,’ and while this might feel difficult to maintain during Autumn and Winter, it’s not impossible. With a few small adjustments, you can continue to be a morning person – even in the colder months.
What are some tips that have helped you become a morning person? Tell us in the comments below.
The role of a Business Coach is to help business owners to improve their business through guidance, support and encouragement.