You may have heard that messy night owls who curse a lot are more creative and intelligent. However, the vast majority of studies show that morning people are more successful and that creativity is far from falling by the wayside. There’s an impressive amount of famous writers who wake up early. Dubbed the “magic hour”, the hour between 4 and 5am is when many writers get their best work done. This includes Murakami, Maya Angelou, and many others.
The good news is that anyone can turn themselves into a morning person. It might not seem like your natural time to thrive, but you can shift that perspective. It starts with good sleep hygiene. The Sleep Foundation reports that Americans are chronically fatigued, driven by busy schedules and the false idea that it’s impressive to operate on as little sleep as possible. Discover how many hours you naturally need to wake feeling rested. Eight is just an average. Everyone is different, and you can experiment with your own number on days you don’t need to wake up at a certain time.
Downtime From Screens
Good sleep hygiene includes avoiding screens at least two hours before bedtime and caffeine at least six hours beforehand. Sleep in a cool (temperature around 65 degrees), dark, quiet room. Remove all technology from the room and invest in an old-fashioned, battery-operated alarm clock. The blue lights from technology can disturb sleep, and it’s too tempting to check your phone if it’s within reach.
A healthy morning habit is to sip a cup of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon immediately upon waking. This naturally wakes up the body and metabolism. It can also help wean you off of a caffeine addiction. After thirty minutes, you can eat or drink something else if you like.
Wake Up With Movement
Exercise in the morning is one of the best ways to wake up the entire body. It also allows you to exercise fasted, the preferred method for many professional athletes. Just make sure you consume at least 20g of protein immediately after exercising. As an added bonus, early morning workouts allow you to “get it out of the way” so you can prioritise health and not dread a workout or make up an excuse throughout the day.
For the first thirty minutes (and preferably an hour if you can) avoid checking your emails or engaging with technology in any way at all. One of the best things about being a morning person is having this time to yourself when it feels like you’re the only person in the world. You can linger over breakfast, be more focused on your workouts, and make time for personal rituals.
Mind Over Matter
Meditation is also best practiced in the morning, as it allows you to set the tone for the rest of the day. Sitting in a comfortable seated pose, you can experiment with meditation techniques that call to you. Japa meditation while you count mala beads and repeat a mantra (internally or externally) is popular for many. Candle gazing is another option. There are lots of guided meditations available, or maybe a local meditation space where you can join others is best suited to you.
Remember that changing major habits such as sleeping and when you wake takes time. Keep a journal to record how you feel throughout the first two hours of your new habits and keep at it for at least a month before reflecting on what you’ve learned. Do you feel rushed, more peaceful, and as though there are more hours in the day? These are common feelings for morning people, and perks anyone would love to have. It turns out there’s no such thing as a “morning person” or “night owl” after all. It just depends on what habits you develop that feed either inclination.