In 2010, Biologist Christoph Randler surveyed 367 university students , asking ‘what time of day they were most energetic and how willing and able they were to take action to change a situation to their advantage’. More of the students who identified themselves as ‘morning people’ people agreed with certain statements about their own proactivity, like “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen.”
His survey pointed to a trend that people who do better in the morning may be better positioned for success, by being more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening. While being a night owl was associated with being clever, creative and fun, we know that the 9-5 structure of the typical business day still favours the early-bird. So no matter which type you identify with, here are a few suggestions for making the morning work a little better for you.
Get some more shut-eye
When you don’t get enough sleep, your judgement, motivation and productivity will be less than what you want them to be. So the most obvious answer is to simply get more sleep. But how? Decide on a time you want to get up every day. Then set a target bedtime that will give you the amount of sleep you need and commit to it consistently. It might take a week or two to hit this target bedtime, but keep trying.
Take a break from your sponsors
We’re surrounded by screens all day – computers, tablets, phones and TVs. Apart from the fact that all of those messages can make it hard for your brain to switch off, our devices also emit blue light. Getting away from your screens at least an hour before bed, will not only help your mind calm down, but also tell your brain it’s no longer daytime. It’s also helpful to make your bedroom a peaceful spot, with shades or curtains that effectively block light from streetlights, and if you have a digital alarm clock, turn it away from you so you can’t see the bright light.
Check your (body) clock
Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. Just like waiting too long to go to bed after taking a sleeping pill, powering through your tiredness instead of going right to bed can have adverse effects. Using caffeine to trick your body into thinking it’s not tired is only a short term solution and can make you feel wired and jittery, when you really need to be winding down and chilling out.
If you snooze, you lose
For some of us night owls, it’s just best to rip off that Band-Aid and get up. Lying in bed, and promising ourselves ‘just 5 more minutes’ lets morning grogginess win. The moment you wake up, get up and get moving.
Apps like SleepCycle for iOS or Sleep as Android track your sleep patterns and let you set a (gentle) alarm when it knows you are no longer in a deep stage of an REM sleep cycle. This makes you feel much less disturbed as you wake up.
Once you’re up, get at ‘em
Once your feet hit the floor, get a little physical. It’s totally up to you – from the stretching and strength combination of yoga, to a gentle jog around the block. Doing something simple and quick will help make sure you stick to it. After all consistency is the key to habit forming. You can always build on your good habits later.
Let the light in
Weather permitting, try to get outside early in the day and stock up your daily dose of Vitamin D, and a few lungfuls of fresh air. Getting some sunlight early in the morning will trigger your body to make melatonin (your natural sleep hormone) earlier in the evening, helping you to sleep better that night too, creating a virtuous circle.
Say no to Joe sometimes
There’s quite an industry built on our love of coffee. And we’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy a caffeinated beverage occasionally. But if getting to bed early enough is a problem, try sticking to one cup in the morning, or try an alternative. Some of the True Honey Co. team swear by green tea (with honey, of course!). And recently we had the pleasure of tasting Rachel Grunwell’s wonderful Turmeric Latte as a warming alternative to your flat white.
Becoming a bit more of a morning person will help you get the important things done first, so your afternoons and evenings can feel (deservedly) more relaxed. We’d love to know how you get on with trying some of these tips, or if you have some good ones of your own, please get in touch.