If you’ve never been an early riser, there’s a reason why. Our body clocks run on a 24hr cycle, but it can be a little longer for some of us (the night owls) and shorter for others (the early risers). These, along with a third group who fall somewhere in between, make up the three chronotypes, or time types.
But even if you're not the one in 10 people who are natural early birds, there are ways to train yourself to become one and reap the benefits. Here’s how:
Have a protein-packed breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we all know that. But what you eat at breakfast can also help make getting up early that little bit easier. Our metabolism and blood sugar are at their lowest after a night’s sleep; a protein-packed breakfast helps to refuel and re-energise the body. Oats or Greek yoghurt with some berries are great options for a healthy kick-start to the day.
Your body is naturally dehydrated after sleep as it’s just gone eight hours without water.
Organise yourself the night before
Do you ever just stand in front of your wardrobe staring at all your clothes wondering what to wear in the mornings? Make life easier the night before by laying out all the clothes you need for the next day. While you’re at it, make sure your bag is packed with everything you need for work to save time gathering your things the next morning.
Work up a sweat
Studies have shown that exercising in the morning primes the body for all-day fat burning. Working out in the morning will elevate your adrenalin levels for the next few hours and get you to work feeling energised.
Not into morning workouts, or perhaps you prefer to exercise after work when there’s a particular class on at the gym? Have something else to do in the mornings between waking up and going to work that you can look forward to. It can be as simple as a yoga sequence, watching TV or catching up on news or blog posts.
Don’t hit snooze
Waking up only to fall back asleep restarts your natural sleep cycle. Each time you hit the snooze button and close your eyes, you’re entering a new cycle of sleep that doesn’t have enough time to finish, which results in waking up feeling groggy and more tired. If you get enough sleep consistently, it’ll make it easier to wake up when your body is ready.
Working out in the morning will elevate your adrenalin levels for the next few hours and get you to work feeling energised.
Turn on the lights
We’re wired to sleep when it’s dark and wake when it’s light. The most important external signal for the biological clock is light. When the eye senses light, it sends signals to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the part of the brain that controls our body clock. Having natural or artificial light in your home in the morning helps force your body into waking up. If your room doesn’t get sunlight in the mornings, get up and turn on all the lights in your home.
Drink a big glass of water
Your body is naturally dehydrated after sleep as it’s just gone eight hours without water. Many of us wake up and have a cup of coffee, which only further dehydrates the body. Drinking water as soon as you wake up will kick start your metabolism for the rest of the day. If it’s a long way to the kitchen from your bedroom, keep a bottle of water next to the bed so you can easily reach for it in the morning.