Don’t Hate Morning People – Be One!
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.