Mind

… and out­smart your body clock.

Glamour (South Africa) - - News -

Be a morn­ing per­son!

try to imag­ine a mag­i­cal place where your phone never rings, your in­box is empty and there’s no queue at the cof­fee bar. Well it ex­ists – it’s called early morn­ing, and you can fake en­try. While around 50% of our brain’s body clock is de­cided by ge­net­ics and age (we wake 30 min­utes ear­lier ev­ery decade), says neu­rol­o­gist Dr Kirstie An­der­son, the other half can be trained. How? With a wake-up work­out.

1Have a rea­son to get up

We’d never visit the den­tist if it weren’t for the fear of our teeth fall­ing out. Ditto, morn­ings. Un­less you’re bi­o­log­i­cally blessed, and have 5am blow-dries like Anna Win­tour, you need in­cen­tive to get up. Start your morn­ing-per­son train­ing with a date you must keep: an ear­lierthan-usual meet­ing, ex­er­cise class, even on­line de­liv­ery.

2Don’t overdo day one

To make a per­ma­nent suc­cess, not a one-hit won­der, of your morn­ings, go grad­ual. Think of an ul­ti­mate wake-up goal (like 6am in­stead of 8am), then edge to­wards it in 15-20 minute in­cre­ments each day. Ex­perts agree this yields bet­ter re­sults than one big shift, be­cause you should get sleepier 15-20 min­utes ear­lier each night, rather than feel­ing knack­ered and over it on day one.

3Get a smart alarm app

By which we mean, they sound smart now, but they’ll be an­noy­ing at 7am. And that’s the point. The alarm on Wake ’N Shake Alarm Clock (IOS; R10) only stops af­ter you’ve shaken your phone enough, and there’s no mute. Step Out of Bed! (IOS; R26) and Walk Me Up! (free on IOS and An­droid) re­quire you to walk a num­ber of steps be­fore they stop ring­ing. While CAR­ROT Alarm (IOS; R40) sings, then talks to get you up. Sounds sweet? Nope. It threat­ened to kill a kit­ten when we pressed snooze!

4Open your cur­tains in­stantly

OK, not if you sleep naked, but as soon as it’s neigh­bour-friendly. When it comes to re­set­ting your wake-up, “light is the big­gest fac­tor,” says Dr An­der­son. “It sig­nals alert­ness. Lower light lev­els within one to two hours of bed­time.” And know that light from a com­puter screen or de­vice has roughly the same sleep-de­stroy­ing ef­fects as the sun.

5In­vert your rou­tine

Won­der why your time seems to evap­o­rate in the morn­ing? Here’s a clue: more than 12 min­utes are spent de­cid­ing what to wear. Do time-con­sum­ing tasks like this and pack­ing a gym kit or mak­ing lunch the night be­fore. Less to do will flip your per­spec­tive. In­stead of wak­ing up to the prospect of chores, then work chores, it’s qual­ity free time.

6Don’t cave at week­ends

Do you wake up just be­fore your alarm? That’s your in­ter­nal clock pip­ing up, and it loves rou­tine like you love cof­fee. Once your early-rise rhythm has lasted a fort­night, noth­ing should throw it off – ex­cept that week­end sleep-in. “Avoid big dif­fer­ences be­tween week­days and your week­ends,” says Dr An­der­son, or risk re­set­ting ev­ery­thing. Which means Satur­day’s 9am yoga class now has a no-flake sta­tus.

7En­joy it

This is most im­por­tant of all. Morn­ings get a bad rap, but done right, they can be your most en­er­gis­ing, pro­duc­tive hours. No dead­lines, no other peo­ple and a le­git­i­mate ex­cuse to eat a huge break­fast (hey, it’s got to last you). It’s fact: you snooze, you lose.

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