Apparently those who wake early are more friendly and conscientious. Not exactly a phrase that springs to mind given my grizzly early morning persona; I love to sleep.
Believe it or not I used to be one of those people who saw sleep as something for the weak.
This is ironic because my throughout my entire life I’ve found it almost impossible to stay awake past 9pm. Thankfully I’ve come to realise this ‘fact’ to be absolute bullshit. Ever tried to get through an entire week’s work on just 3 hours sleep a night? Doesn’t happen. This is how I’ve come to realise that sleep is not for the weak; it’s for the successful.
Karl Lagerfeld may harp on about how he’ll get enough sleep when he’s dead, but I feel like he’s probably the only exception to the rule. We get told it all the time; the majority successful people in the world are early sleepers, early risers (Anna Wintour, Richard Branson, Michelle Obama to name a few). If only the same could be said for me…
Due to my habit of passing out before 10pm every night, it’s only normal that I’ve always been a so-called ‘morning person’. Ever since I realised how important exercise is and how much I wanted it to be a part of my everyday routine, I started making some sacrifices to make sure I woke up even earlier.
Even for a self proclaimed lover of early rising, 5:30am on a drizzly grey morning is not my friend. In fact, if it weren’t for my boyfriend (and gym buddy) nudging me out from the quilt one toe at a time, I’d probably still be buried under there now.
The way I feel after my 6am gym session though will always beat that initial struggle. There’s something about getting things accomplished before the rest of the world is awake that makes you feel hella smug (although maybe keep that one to yourself).
I would say my early rising makes me an incredibly productive person – which I guess is true to a certain extent. I get shit done in a manic frenzy from the hours of 5:30am till 3pm where I subsequently fall asleep at my desk with my eyes open.
Well, no one really wins at life, do they?
I have however miraculously managed to keep this up for over a year now, so I thought I’d share a few pointers to help trick your body into thinking you’re a bird:
- Set small goals
If anything hour prior to 10am makes your palms sweat, then fear not. Start setting little goals one at a time, perhaps waking up half an hour earlier every day. If early rising is ridiculously hard for you, then the promise of “I’m going to get up at 6:30am and bake a cake”! probably isn’t going to happen. Set realistic goals.
- Start Slowly
Another important fact here is to let yourself wake up slowly. That doesn’t mean pressing snooze every five minutes, but instead turn on a little light when your alarm goes off and just lie there for two minutes. When you do get out of bed, take it slowly. Make a cup of tea, mooch around in your slippers, read the paper, chase the cat. You don’t have to rush outside in the rain and run a 5k every day to be classed as a morning person.
- A gentle alarm
During the time of the year when sunlight is a rarity, then an alarm is pretty much the only way to go. At the moment I’m setting my morning alarms on my fitbit which softly vibrates on my wrist in the morning. There’s nothing worse than an awful, loud intrusive iPhone alarm to give you a morning heart attack (we all know the one I’m talking about)
- Get organised
My morning schedule looks something like the following:
5:30am: Wake Up
5:45am: Grab gym bag and leave house
6:00am – 6:45am: 45 minute workout and stretch
7:00am: Home, shower, breakfast dress
7:30am: Leave the house of workSpare time in the morning is a blessing, so I usually have to make sure everything is prepared the night before. Gym bag packed, protein shake filled, lunch made, bags and camera ready. It’s these little things that will really be a saviour first thing when you’re generally still half asleep.
- Positive affirmation
This might sound pretty lame, but honestly this one works. There are still many days when my alarm goes off when I’m still blissfully unaware of who I am, or what day it is, and all I want to do is crawl into a ball and hibernate. I’ve started trying to tell myself that I’m going to have an amazing day, that there are so many things to look forward to, that the gym will be fun (?!). Okay, so the last one doesn’t yet work, but I’m trying.
- Make your evening shorter.
No one got up bright eyed and bushy tailed after a wine fuelled night with friends. I started cutting down on the weekly evening activities when I first graduated (I was getting up at 4:45am to make it to the Harvey Nichols studio before 8am. Killer), so luckily this wasn’t something that was too taxing this time round. I was at this time the only one of my friends with such a ridiculous schedule, but by making early mornings a priority it’s now just second nature to make plans at the weekend instead. This also goes for watching tv. As much as I love a late night of GOT reruns, there’s no way I’ll be sleeping straight after screaming at the TV for an hour. Start winding down around an hour before you go to bed – take a bath, read a book. All those cute things you did as a kid
- Great breakfast
Nothing gets me out of bed faster than the prospect of bacon. When bacon’s off the agender though it’s always a good idea to have an exciting breakfast planned. Whether thats a bowl of overnight oats, poached eggs or my favourite, homemade bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt nothing will have to flying out of better faster than the word food.
- Yoga or meditation
A great one of your aim is to start working out in the mornings, but don’t want to throw yourself into a HIIT session on the word go. Just 2o minutes of gentle yoga when you wake up is enough to make you feel invigorated, refreshed and well rested. It also puts you in the best mood to start the working day.
- Eating healthily.
A given really, but you really notice the difference it makes getting up in the morning after a heavy processed evening meal in comparison to something light an nutritious.
My favourite.Working out in the morning is great because you’re technically still asleep and your body doesn’t really know what it’s doing yet. Research has also shown that exercising before breakfast burns more fat calories and results in more weight loss than exercising after breakfast. Although this isn’t my main reason for working out first thing, this is actually a really good reason to get to the gym first thing. Plus you get first dibs of the equipment. Win win.
So now you’re a fully fledged early riser, feel free to revel in all your morning glory. Just remember to take it one little toe at a time. And if all else fails, you might want to invest in one of these.