Don’t Hate Morn­ing Peo­ple – Be One!

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - HEALTH - BY LAM­BETH HOCHWALD

Get­ting out of bed in the dark dead of win­ter truly sucks – but it might be a key part of your over­all well­be­ing. Re­search shows that morn­ing peo­ple – any­one who feels en­er­gised in the AM, in­stead of hit­ting snooze six times – tend to be hap­pier, and re­port feel­ing phys­i­cally health­ier than night owls do. And a study in the jour­nal PLOS One found that morn­ing peo­ple have a lower body mass index – pos­si­bly be­cause catch­ing pre-noon sun syncs your cir­ca­dian rhythm (in­ter­nal body clock) and helps keep your me­tab­o­lism on track.

Down to reap the perks? You’ll have to com­mit to the life­style seven days a week. ‘If your ideal week­end = stay­ing up all night and sleep­ing till noon, it’ll be dif­fi­cult to stay on track on week­days,’ says sleep spe­cial­ist W Christo­pher Win­ter, au­thor of The Sleep So­lu­tion. But if you fol­low th­ese steps, you’ll soon be one of those an­noy­ingly chip­per peo­ple passers-by snarl at.

1 At­tend an AM Dance Party

A morn­ing sweat sesh is one of the best things you can do to re­set your in­ter­nal body clock, says Win­ter. ‘You’re telling your brain that you’re in the wake stage of your 24-hour cir­ca­dian process,’ he says.

Start hit­ting the gym with a friend who be­gins her day with a class and will hold you ac­count­able. If your crew lacks early ris­ers, meet some at a sun­rise gym class – try Vir­gin’s 6am group sched­ules of cir­cuit train­ing, box­ing and func­tional fit­ness. Af­ter a few weeks of morn­ing work­outs, your body will an­tic­i­pate them.

2 Rise and Grind

Yup: 7am sex might ac­tu­ally help you join club morn­ing glory, says Win­ter. Early morn­ing Os kick off your day with a flood of en­er­gis­ing neu­ro­trans­mit­ters such as dopamine, which pro­mote wake­ful­ness. And mak­ing a habit of sun-up sexy time (with your­self or some­one else) en­cour­ages your body to ex­pect morn­ing plea­sure, says Win­ter, help­ing you wake up more eas­ily (duh).

3 Don’t Tuck Your­self in with an Insta Story

A 2017 study sug­gests that surf­ing the so­cials 30 min­utes be­fore pass­ing out leads to worse sleep than if you quit lik­ing pics long be­fore you get into bed. There may be many rea­sons for this: your phone’s blue light curbs your nat­u­ral mela­tonin flow; so­cial me­dia can cause cog­ni­tive arousal (i.e., that feel­ing when your ex tags his new GF); and hours spent feeding your habit dis­place sleep time. To wake up re­freshed, stop scrolling at least half an hour be­fore bed.

4 Don’t Let Booze Wreck Your Snooze

A full glass of vino tastes great af­ter a long day. But if you want to be a rise-and­shiner, just pass. Aim to stop drink­ing wine (or any al­co­hol) four to six hours be­fore bed, says Win­ter. If there’s too much booze in your blood, your body sup­presses cru­cial REM sleep (the restora­tive sleep stage im­por­tant for learn­ing and mem­ory) dur­ing the first half of the night. As you sober up mid-sleep, your REMs may launch closer to morn­ing, re­jig­ging your nat­u­ral cir­ca­dian rhythm and de­lay­ing the wake-up time of your ‘alert’ neu­ro­trans­mit­ters. Trans­la­tion? You wake up tired AF and piss off your BFF by sleep­ing through spin­ning class.

5 Set a Bed­time Alarm

You promised your­self you’d go to bed at a rea­son­able hour – but then you re­mem­bered there’s a 24-hour sale on­line, and you’ve been mean­ing to Marie Kondo your cup­boards. Boom, it’s mid­night … and you haven’t even brushed your teeth. The eas­i­est solve ever is to hold your­self ac­count­able with a sleep alarm. ‘An alarm will alert you to shut down what­ever you’re do­ing and get to bed,’ says cer­ti­fied clin­i­cal sleep ed­u­ca­tor Terry Cralle. Be­fore you know it, your in­stinct to conk out will kick in be­fore the alarm goes off.

6 Say Cheese

This Liz Lemon-ap­proved bed­time snack is ac­tu­ally le­git, says Win­ter. Cheese con­tains the snooze-in­duc­ing chem­i­cal tryp­to­phan, which fa­cil­i­tates the pro­duc­tion of mela­tonin and makes you tired. Try a bowl of cot­tage cheese, a few moz­zarella balls or a cou­ple of slices of low-fat ched­dar an hour or two be­fore bed to help you get your sleep on.

7 Spoon a Heat­ing Pad

Turn up the heat in bed in the morn­ing and you’ll be more likely to get ver­ti­cal. That’s be­cause your cir­ca­dian rhythm syncs your temp to your sleep-and-wake cy­cle. When your core temp is low, it’s time for bed. When it’s high, it’s time to get up. It might take a few weeks to re­vamp your body clock – so set an alarm for 30 min­utes be­fore you need to be up and, when it goes off, turn on the elec­tric blan­ket and go back to sleep. As your temp rises, you’ll feel more alert.

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