Before kids, I was definitely a night owl. I could easily stay up until 2:00 in the morning watching Netflix or reading a book. I had mastered getting ready for work in a half hour, allowing me to get in a few extra minutes of precious sleep. My responsibility level at that point in my life was almost non-existent. Fast forward to having my first baby and going back to work – WOW! Talk about a shock to the system.
I learned very quickly that getting myself and a baby ready for the day was an extremely complex thing to do. And it was time-consuming. I went to work looking like a wet rat with crunchy, moussed up hair for like a month. I was a mess.
Adjusting my whole schedule and becoming that dreaded morning person became necessary. And you know what? It turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Waking up earlier makes me more productive throughout the entire day. I’m sure there’s some scientific reasoning for this (I’m too lazy to look it up at the moment), but it really is true! I can remember one Sunday, I woke up at 6:00 and started my day instead of lingering in bed for an hour. Sundays are my laundry day, so I threw in a load right away and by noon, all of my laundry was done. It was such an odd feeling – I had the rest of the day to do whatever else I could think of! Imagine that…
Look, I get it. Going from night owl to morning person is not easy. I definitely had to make some big changes. Here are the 5 things that really helped me make the transition.
1. Go to bed earlier.
Okay, this one is a no-brainer. If you go to bed earlier, of course, it will be easier to wake up earlier. Getting yourself to actually fall asleep earlier than your body is used to is the hard part. A fast way to get the job done is to sacrifice one day and be exhausted. You go to bed at your normal time and then force yourself to wake up earlier. The idea is you’ll be tired and ready for bed earlier that night because you’re exhausted all day. Sometimes, this works, but there are other more effective ways to get your body to start falling asleep earlier.
2. Do as much as possible the night before.
I’m the type of person who severely underestimates how much time I need in the morning to get everything ready. In my ADD mind, I can have everything ready in 1 hour, no problem. In reality, it takes me 2 hours. Getting as much done the night before as I possibly can is a HUGE timesaver the next day. Pack lunches, prepare bottles, have snacks ready to go, empty the backpack, have the kiddos pick out their clothes for the next day – all of these things take up time but are so easy to do the night before. I feel so much less stressed when I do these things for myself.
3. Don’t snooze the alarm.
Ohhhhh my bff, snooze. This was a hard relationship to break. Sometimes, I would snooze my alarm for an hour, and you know what? I always feel worse by the time I get up than I did when it first went off. It makes me groggy for the entire day. Turns out, there’s some science behind this – it’s called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body becomes. You’re better off waking up when your alarm first goes off. While it may feel awful at first, your body will wake up and become more alert than it will by snoozing.
4. Eat breakfast.
Do it! It really is the most important meal of the day! This is one that took me a long time to get on board with. I never had enough time in the morning to eat breakfast. Shockingly, by getting more things done at night, I opened up a little time in the morning and I’ve now filled that time with cooking up some eggs. Even if you don’t have a ton of time, there are ways to make a quick breakfast. Check out a breakfast sandwich maker, or hardboil a bunch of eggs on the weekend that you can eat up throughout the week. Make an egg bake but bake it in a muffin tin instead of a cake pan. Even having some fruit that you can grab and go will make it easier.
5. Slowly change your sleep habits.
Sure, you could stay up late one night and force yourself to get up extra early the next morning, thus causing you to be really tired and go to bed early that night, but that doesn’t help your body adjust. The best way to tackle going to bed earlier and waking up earlier is to take it in small increments of time. Start with 15 minutes. If you normally go to bed at 11:30 and wake up at 7:30, try going to bed at 11:15 and waking up at 7:15. Once you have that mastered, move it up 15 minutes again. Continue doing that until you’re at your desired time.