Fitness, Motivation, Training

How to become a morning person

Until a few months ago I was not a morning person at all. I would get up fairly late (at around 8 a.m.) and be at the office by 9:30. I would work out in my lunch break or in the evenings.
But then I changed cities and jobs and working out at lunch time was not an option any more. I had to work out in the mornings if I wanted to get in my training in as planned.

Here you can read about how to get into a new fitness routine after a move.

Fast forward a few months: I transformed myself into a morning person, getting up at 6 a.m. (nearly) every weekday and working out. It was not an easy process, but I applied a simple 5 step strategy to help me with it.

1) Go to bed earlier to become a morning person

This might sound simple but it is the ugly truth. As a morning person you will get up earlier, but that does not mean you will need less sleep. As a simple consequence you will have to go to bed earlier to make the equation work.

Example: if you need 7 hours of sleep and you want to get up at 6 a.m. you need to fall asleep at 11 p.m. And by that I mean real sleep, not lying in bed watching tv, reading a book or checking social media.

If you consistently go to bed earlier, becoming a morning person will be much easier.

Hawaiian Sunrise
Sunrise on Hawaii

2) Get up at the same time every day

Our bodies have an internal clockΒ or circadian rhythm, that naturally makes us fall asleep at night and wakes us up in the morning. In case you have ever traveled to a different time zone and experienced jetlag: this is caused by your inner circadian rhythm, that was still used to your old time zone.
You can use this natural internal clock to your advantage so you will wake up naturally in the morning. You just have to get up and go to bed at exactly the same time every single day. By doing this you will teach your body when it should be asleep and when it should be awake.
But to achieve this effect you have to be consistent for a while and do it every single day, even on weekends. Because a typical weekend of partying long, going to bed late and sleeping in will completely destroy your inner rhythm. It is basically a weekend jet lag.
So if you really want to become a morning person, you have to stick to it even on weekends.

3) Expose yourself to light

The inner clock or circadian rhythm is also heavily influenced by light. Light will tell the body that it is day and it is time to get up.
So I recommend to expose yourself to light as soon as the alarm wakes you up. I have three preferred ways of doing that:

  • Β Use a light alarm clock that wakes you up by simulating a nice sunrise
  • Β Leave the window blinds open and let the sun wake you up
  • Β Check your phone and expose yourself to blue light. DO NOT check your emails! Instead I recommend checking some motivational Instagram accounts or let the Runtastic Chat Bot send you a motivational picture every morning.

4) Schedule something exciting

Becoming a morning person will become much easier if you have a good reason to get up. So make your WHY big enough. Do something fun and exciting.
Maybe a sunrise yoga session, a spin class with your favorite instructor, hike in the mountains or a running date with the cute girl/guy from tinder.
It does not have to be a morning activity. If you know you have to be at work earlier because you have something exciting planned in the evening, this will give you a good reason to get up.
If you have something scheduled and planned that makes getting up early worth it, it will be much easier.

Sunrise over Primrose Hill
Sunrise over Primrose Hill – my favorite early bird running route in London

5) Energize yourself

Even if you have nothing exciting to get up for you can still make the process of getting up exciting and motivating.
Here are my tips:

  • Have a cup of coffee, tea or herbal infusion (or beverage of your choice)
  • Turn on the radio or play your favorite song (you can even set your phone alarm to that song)
  • Treat yourself with your favorite breakfast.
  • Open the window and breathe some cool, fresh air.
  • Take a quick cold shower (you might not be looking forward to this one, but it will definitely leave you energized)

These five points definitely did help me to become a morning person. It took some time to establish this new habit of getting up early. So don’t be discouraged if it does not work put as planned in the beginning. You will become a morning person eventually.

Do you have other tips how to become a morning person or getting up earlier? Leave your tips in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “How to become a morning person”

  1. Great post! I’m an avowed early morning runner, and one of the best ways to get started is to convince a friend to become a morning person with you. When you have made a commitment to someone else to meet early, it is easier to get out of bed because you want to fulfill your promise. Now that I have a family, my promise is to my kids: I always want to be there to say goodbye before they leave for school, so I adjust my start times accordingly. Waking up at 4 AM is always tough, but totally worth it to see them off for the day.

    There are so many other benefits to exercising early: increased metabolism and higher brain activity are two mentioned in studies. It’s also a great way to stick to a training plan, get your run in early before the rest of the day’s activities can derail you.

    Once rising early becomes routine, you can start to appreciate the quiet of the pre-dawn hours, how different your city is when everyone is still sleeping, and the reward of seeing the first light of day or sunrise as you finish!

    1. Wow, 4 a.m. is way earlier than I an getting up every day. You rock.
      And yes, you have to get up early and run in the dark to experience the most beautiful sunrises.

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