We all have a friend who jumps out of bed in the morning with reckless abandon, ready to seize the day, full of energy! How can I be like that, you ask? Studies show you can actually train yourself to be an early riser. But first, why is getting up early better for you than being a night owl? It helps you sustain a healthier diet, enhances your productivity, mental health, and mental clarity, improves your quality of sleep, and has been proven to lower cortisol levels and reduce stress.
Wondering what my personal routine is? I love lighting candles as soon as I get home, lighting my fireplace, and focusing on creating a relaxing space. I get into comfy clothes and prep dinner or lunch for tomorrow. Now that it’s spring, I also get out for a 20 to 30 minute stroll before or after dinner for some fresh air and extra “connection” time. Remember, it can take up to 21 days to create a new habit, so try these steps for at least 21 days and let me know how you do!
Early Morning Riser Training
Ideally you should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Begin by slowly shifting your bedtime earlier by just 15 to 30 minutes at a time. So if you normally hit the hay at 11 pm, slowly shift that time to 10:45 or 10:30 pm; small adjustments will help create lasting change versus anything more drastic.
This is a key habit for your whole family. Turn off all TVs, laptops, and cell phones at least an hour before bedtime. There are two main reasons: one, if you’re constantly plugged into your device, you are continually being stimulated by information; and two, the blue light emitted by electronics is proven to disturb your brain. When you’re trying to “power down”, opt for a relaxing bath, read a book, or turn on relaxing music.
Food & Drink
Eliminate caffeine and sugar completely after 3 pm. These two can wreak havoc on your system causing irregular spikes and crashes in your energy, keeping you up at night. As well, don’t eat too much in the evenings; if you go to bed with an overflowing tummy, chances are your digestive system will be working overtime and keep you awake. Finishing your last meal of the day 1.5 to 2 hours prior to bedtime is a good habit to get into.
Setting your intentions for the next day is key! Plan what your morning looks like, get your gym clothes ready, pack your lunch, prep your breakfast. Shortening your morning to-do list will help you roll out of bed with less hesitation. Even with small goals such as waking up earlier, it’s important that you have a tangible reason to do it. How will you feel when you wake up early? Will you fit in a morning sweat session, take extra time with your morning coffee, or maybe have more time to make a healthy breakfast?
If your bedroom has solid blackout curtains, try keeping them cracked open just a bit to allow in a small amount of natural light. Our circadian rhythm is the 24 hour light-dark cycle that affects animals, plants, and humans. Long story short, 99% of living things go to “sleep” when the sun goes down and “wake” when the sun rises. Don’t fight your natural sleep cycle. If you are still having a hard time falling asleep, try taking a melatonin supplement to reset your sleep cycle and help you get those ZZZs.
Vanessa Jahnke is a leading nutrition and healthy living expert helping women all over Canada create healthy, happy, and successful lives. She is the co-founder of Pure Gym & Juicery in Penticton, BC and a healthy living blogger. In a world where we are inundated with diet information, Vanessa’s approach to healthy living is fun, straightforward, and attainable, drawing thousands of people to her blog and online programs.
Article was published in The Good Life magazine.