For decades, I’ve stayed up late and had trouble sleeping through the night. I grumbled and snoozed my way to the last possible moment when I absolutely had to get up. Then, I’d rush, bleary-eyed through my morning paces before racing out the door – frustrated, hungry and late for my first appointment of the day.
I was tired All. The. Time. which made me believe that I needed at least 9 or more hours of sleep to function properly.
All that changed recently when I figured out the secret to becoming an early riser.
For almost as long as I’ve been a hater of mornings, I’ve been reading about and talking to a strange and foreign group of individuals who wake up early, accomplish amazing feats before dawn, and walk out the door fully groomed and functioning properly.
While I was in search of a positive morning routine for myself, I dug into the literature. I learned that a glass of water, meditation, a healthy breakfast, reading, and more are key components of many a good A.M. routine. I read about the research on how much happier, more proactive and more productive we are if we’re early risers. Loads of web pages and blogs and studies exist about morning routines – why they’re good, how to be your most productive, how to become a “morning person,” and much, much more. Google it and you’ll have more reading material than you can manage.
Many of these articles talk about “morning people” as if they’re all born that way, leaving the night owls to feel as if the wee hours are hopelessly lost to us.
In fact, you might be thinking – as I did – that you don’t have time for morning shenanigans. Mornings are for sleeping and getting ready for work. Or you might be thinking, “When I get up in the morning, I have 5 other people to get ready for work and school. When would I fit in time to be a ‘morning person’?”
The Problem with Nighttime
Over the years, I have also thought long and hard about why I wasn’t doing the things I cared most about and how challenging it was to make progress on my goals. Every day, the activities that build my spirit fell somewhere near the bottom of my to-do list – after all the things I did for other people at work, at home, etc. More often than not, shoved to the bottom, they fell off the end as my list grew long and my energy grew short.
Exhaustion and lack of focus plagued me in the evenings, leaving me with an empty tank and no gumption with which to refill it. I knew I found energy in my favorite activities. I just didn’t have energy to do them. This cycle went round and round for far too long.
So how do we make the transition to refilling our tank with the good stuff so we have more to give ourselves and those we care for?
We make the shift from night owl to early bird. We put the good stuff first.
So, What’s the Secret to Becoming an Early Riser?
It’s no secret. We have to want to live our morning routine more than we want to sleep in. It has to be so good, we can’t wait to get up.
It’s that simple.
Let me be clear. I’m not getting up early these days so I can exercise. It’s not for love of housework that I roll out of bed at 5:30AM. And much as I love my job, that’s not the early bird’s worm I’m seeking.
I get up because I made a choice. I would rather meditate and write in the morning than sleep in.
That’s where my passions lie. That’s what I want to do with the clearest, least mentally cluttered moments of my day. I even learned that I feel most rested with about 7 hours of sleep, and when that’s what I’m getting, I fall asleep easier and sleep more deeply through the night.
What Do You Love More than Sleeping In?
I have friends who get up early in the morning to do yoga or attend exercise boot camps. Parents obviously love their children more than sleep, and I know of parents who get up a half hour before anyone else in the house so they can have their first cup of coffee in perfect silence. I know still others who rise early to journal in a notebook and plan out their day.
Whatever your personal goals, whatever you want most in this world (I know you want more than a little Facebook time and a hurried cup of coffee) – make that part of your morning routine.
In those wee hours, you’ll give your best energy to your goals. You’ll gain energy from time well spent.
Best of all, you’ll look forward to getting up in the morning, even when the alarm goes off before the sun comes up.
Please share. What do you love more than sleeping in?
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