The most successful people in the world — CEOs, top athletes, A-list celebrities, and others — can usually attribute their astounding achievements to one simple trick: waking up early. Science has found that morning people are generally more creative, more efficient, and more energetic than their late-rising counterparts. Extra time in the morning allows you to work harder and longer than your peers, ensuring better performance and better raises and promotions.
Yet, I can already hear your moan of appeal. Waking up early is the pits, and whenever you try to get up with the sun and get things done, you simply don’t function nearly as well as normal. That’s because your body isn’t accustomed to that particular sleep schedule, and your mind isn’t ready for activity at such an odd hour of the day. However, with dedication (another attribute of the winningest individuals) you, too, can become a morning person. Here’s how.
Step 1: Prepare Beforehand
The easier your early mornings are, the more likely you are to wake up and endure them. Fortunately there is plenty you can do at nighttime to make your mornings easier. In general, for every 10 minutes you prepare the night before, you’ll save 20 minutes of angry bumbling in the morning. Each night, you should consider completing any of the following tasks to make waking up fast and easy:
- Select an outfit and hang it up separately from the rest of your clothes.
- Ready the coffee pot with water, filter, and grounds.
- Line up the kitchen tools and dishes you’ll need to make breakfast.
- Write a list of the next day’s responsibilities.
Step 2: Sleep Well
No matter when you wake up, you certainly won’t be a productive person if you always wake up groggy from a poor night’s sleep. Many adults suffer from untreated sleeping disorders, like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, which are preventing rejuvenating rest, but most poor sleepers simply aren’t equipped with the right tools for a solid sleep. If you follow these bedtime rules, you’ll probably wake up with more pep in your step.
- No screens. Televisions, phones, e-readers, and other screens energize the eyes and mind and keep you awake longer, preventing restful sleep.
- No light. Your body gets confused when you try to sleep in a bright room, so black out the windows and shut off any lightbulbs for a deeper sleep.
- Better mattress. Your bed may be contorting your body into awkward positions, creating pain and preventing sleep; use an adjustable mattress (like this equivalent of Sleep Number bed bases) for ideal comfort and support.
Step 3: Have Breakfast
Skipping the first meal of the day may be an easy way to cut calories, but avoiding breakfast is also a good way to keep your mind and body sluggish and tired. Eating breakfast as soon as you wake up provides an energy boost you can ride for the rest of the morning.
The ideal breakfast is a blend of protein, carbohydrate, and fat which will keep you full and focused for hours. Oatmeal mixed with protein powder or fried eggs and toast are fast and easy examples, but anything that you can chew and swallow should be enough to start your metabolism and get you moving.
Step 4: Set Goals
It is much easier to hit snooze on the alarm clock and fall back asleep when you don’t have any concrete plans to while away the morning hours. However, when you have a goal to accomplish, you have a reason to jump out of bed and get to work.
There are no rules when it comes to goal-setting, but generally, the more specific and realistic your goals, the better they work at getting you up and at-‘em. If you have a broad or distant goal — become president of the United States — you should break it down into daily or weekly accomplishments that will add up — campaign for a local congressional position. Your goals certainly don’t need to be related to your job; anything that motivates you to wake up will suffice.
Step Five: Repeat
One productive morning does not a morning person make. Though it will be difficult at first, you must complete this routine every night and day. Eventually, your body will acclimate, and waking up will no longer be such a chore. Then, you will be a true morning person and one step closer to the astounding success that morning people boast.