How to Become a Morning Person and Improve your Mood
Mornings, I find, are a bit like marmite – you either love them or you hate them. Over the numerous lockdowns we have experienced during 2020/21 I had developed a habit of snoozing later and later each morning. This led to low-mood and feelings of stress and overwhelm when I could not kick that fuzzy head feeling and panic of not having enough time to get everything done.
Since the new year, when work was picking up and the need for routine became more important, I decided a change was needed. Experts say that the earlier we start our day, the more likely we are to see improvements in our sleep patterns and overall mood. This in turn helps our mindset and overall ability to manage stress.
It is good to first consider why you want to be a morning person. Is it to be more productive at home or work? So you feel less like a zombie in the mornings? To help spend more quality time with those you love? Better ability to manage your stress levels? Or to improve your mood to allow you to enjoy life to its fullest? Once you have answered the question about goals and decided this is a positive change you want to make, you can follow these 5 achievable steps that can help you make the change.
1. Follow the rule of 15
Small adjustments over a week or two can make the change much easier to stick to. If you are planning on getting up earlier, you will need to go to bed earlier so that your total sleep is not impacted. However, when I tried to make large shifts in timings, I often found myself lying in bed wide awake with my mind just not ready to switch off. By adjusting bedtime by 15 minutes over a week or two means that before you know it, you are going to bed a whole hour earlier and feeling ready for it.
2. Set the mood
Turn off the TV, get rid of that device and turn down the lights 30 minutes before you go to bed. Read a book, take a warm bath, or write in your journal to help get out all the things that are busying your mind. We are looking to create an environment for good sleep. Creating your own bedtime routine can help us to achieve it and take some much-needed self-care.
3. Try the 5-second rule
If you find when that alarm goes off, you instantly reach for the snooze button. Stop yourself and count back from 5 then get out of bed. This gives you a chance to process being awake and make the more meaningful choice of sitting up rather than turning over.
4. Sleep schedule
I know it can be tempting to relax your sleep schedule at the weekend. But this can really impact your body clock. Sticking to a regular sleep pattern can really improve our quality of sleep and our body’s natural rhythm. If you really cannot resist that weekend treat, then try not to sleep more than an hour later and try to be more physically active that day.
5. Eat well
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I absolutely stand by that statement because it is so true. Eating after sleep replenishes your supply of glucose, boosting energy levels and help you to feel more alert. Experts say that eating within 2 hours of waking can improve our memory, concentration levels and mood – as a way to help lower stress levels.
To help with motivation to stick to your new sleep-well plan, try to introduce exercise into that early morning routine. You could also start the day with an activity you enjoy, getting up to get your prep for the day done or organise or a quiet cup of tea without the rest of the family interrupting can make all the difference in our motivation to get up and go. Be sure to track your progress throughout your journey, as noticing and capturing positive changes can spur you on and motivate you to keep your new, healthy routine going.
Claire is a Mental Health & Wellbeing practitioner living in Gloucestershire. She is passionate about creating psychologically safe environments for people to thrive. She is a busy working mummy to two children and a Hungarian Vizsla called Rufus. Claire enjoys running, yoga and practices mindfulness on a regular basis.