When that early morning alarm goes off, the most tempting thing in the world for many people is to hit the snooze button and get about ten more minutes of rest. Unfortunately, once the snooze button has been pressed, it’s a slippery slope often leading to less time to get what you need done. While many variables can be expanded in regards to why people don’t get up on time, how easily you can wake up is often categorized by what type of “person” you are. According to most, there are morning people and they alone are the people that can get up without over-using the snooze button and wasting away the precious hours of the early morning.
Golden Hours Shouldn’t Go Wasted
However, even for those not deemed “morning people,” the early hours of the day are still important and useful hours that should not be wasted. For one, getting up earlier simply gives you more hours in day, which is what everyone is always asking for. For those with busy and overwhelming schedules, getting up even an hour earlier each day will give you more time to get what you needed done, and possibly even bring in some leisure time at night. It has also been shown that most people take a few hours to reach their prime productivity while working, so getting up earlier means this productivity comes earlier as well. Getting up an hour earlier could be the difference between you going to into the day alert and productive versus groggy and tired.
Other than simply giving you more time in a day, the morning also brings advantages in what you can get done and how productive you are. According to a study done by Psychologist Dr. Jane Oakhill, various time of day bring different strengths and weaknesses to how people remember and learn. The morning is your brain’s prime time for declarative memory, meaning your ability to recall exact details. So the early hours of the day are the best time to study and learn new material, which then can be reviewed later in the day. Waking up just an hour or so earlier will give you more time with the prime hours of declarative memory, where you can more easily do tasks such as problem solving, report writing and math oriented work.
Other than simply to work, the morning has plenty of other benefits, some of which are more for pleasure. For one, during summer in the hottest months of the year, the weather can often be unpleasant and the heat makes it unbearable to be outside for long. However, the morning brings a relief from the harsh sun of the day and a few hours where you can be outside without too much sweat or unpleasantness. This makes the morning a great time for a workout or morning walks, things that would be almost impossible in the heat of the afternoon. The morning is also usually a less popular time to be out, which means less crowds getting in the way of you doing what you want; whether it be finding a place to study on campus, getting a run in or simply going to the store. All of these can be accomplished without the stress of a crowd.
How to be a Morning Person
All this talk about the advantages of the morning makes it clear that it is time that should not be wasted, but that is easier said than done. For some people, getting up early is an extremely difficult task. Full disclosure, I even pushed the snooze button a few times this morning before getting up to write about the advantages of the morning. However, it isn’t a lost cause for anyone thinking they will never be a morning person.
The first and most obvious way to get up earlier in the morning is simply go to bed earlier. This isn’t always easy for people who are accustomed to going to bed much later, but there are some tips and tricks that can make falling asleep at a reasonable time a little more within reach. Instead of sitting in bed on your phone or laptop waiting for tiredness to come, avoid devices with a backlit screen. Studies show that using devices with blue or white light, such a phones, T.V.’s and computers inhibit your brain from releasing melatonin, which is what tells our bodies it’s time for sleep. Put such devices away about an hour before sleep, and sit down with a good book instead. Over time, limiting your exposure to blue and white lights at bedtime will allow you to fall asleep faster. Other things you can change in your nighttime routine include doing calming actives to wind down your night, and drinking a warm (decaffeinated) drink, like warm tea.
Other than nighttime routine, there are things that can be done during the day to ensure more shut eye at night. Being more active during the day can actually make it easier for you to sleep at night. The more worn out from the day you are, the more you will want to just fall into bed. Adding in a daily workout or any physical activity not only tires you out, but also mentally calms you so that you are less likely to be lying in bed at night with hundreds of things racing through your mind. Another tip to get to bed earlier is limit napping during the day. The less you sleep during the day, the more you will sleep at night.
Sometimes, no matter how much sleep you get at night, it can still be hard to get up when the alarm goes off in the morning. One way to ensure that you don’t hit the snooze is to put the alarm out of reach. Getting out of bed is usually the hardest part, and by forcing yourself to do so to turn off the alarm, it decreases your chance of going back to sleep. Natural light is also a great way to wake up, so try and sleep near a window or source of light from the outside. The light will increase gently and slowly, so that instead of a rude awakening, it will be a natural and gentle one. Regardless of all of these tips, waking up can still be a challenge if you are not excited by what you will have to do in the morning. If possible, try to plan out a few enjoyable actives for the morning so that you are more encouraged to actually get up and do them.
It Takes Time
Nobody can go from someone who hates morning to someone who gets up before sunrise overnight. Easing yourself into a new routine will take time, practice and a little bit of failure. Even if you can get up to watch the sunrise, try for small goals like not pressing the snooze. Even the smallest bit of extra time in the morning goes a very long way. The early hours of the day are some of the most useful and overlooked times to get things done and make everyone’s day a little less crazy, so it makes getting up early a little more worth it.