If you’re not a morning person, we sympathise. Especially now that the darker, colder mornings are here to make waking up early even more difficult—as if peeling off the duvet and climbing out of your cocoon every morning wasn’t already a daily heartbreak. But if you’re struggling to get out of bed and are running out of believable reasons for your late arrivals at work, fear not: We’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling for the complete Byrdie UK guide to being a morning person—no personality transplant required.
1. Keep Exercising
When it’s dark for what feels like most of the day and prime weather for carb-loading in your pj’s, regular exercise can easily fall off the priority list. But if you’ve got ideas of becoming a morning person, it might be vital to keep things going. Sleep expert and physiologist Nerina Ramlakhan explains it thusly: “During the winter, people are often less motivated to exercise, but it’s crucial to keep moving if you want to boost your mood. Exercise reduces stress hormone levels and will give you a clearer, more positive outlook on life; it also enables you to sleep more deeply, which will make you better prepared for the day ahead.”
2. Eat Well to Sleep Well
If you’ve been waking up groggier than usual, it might be down to the aforementioned pyjama feast. It’s no secret that colder weather can leave us craving hot and tasty stodge, but as Ramlakhan explains, it’s important to eat well if you want to sleep well. “The winter leaves many of us craving starchy carbohydrates, and while these are a vital part of any diet, it’s important to strike a balance. If you need a snack, fill up on foods like walnuts, bananas and tomatoes; they all help your body to produce serotonin and will lift your mood. Diet also plays a significant role in the quality of sleep we have. It’s best to avoid having a heavy meal before bedtime. If you often wake up in the night feeling hungry, try having a little snack before bedtime.”
3. Fake it With Light Therapy
Even while we’re asleep, our brains respond to the changes in light around us. As morning light begins to filter into the room, the way it would naturally during the spring and summer months for example, our brains use this as a cue to tell the rest of our body that it’s time to start waking up. However, the depths of winter are seriously lacking in early morning rays, meaning that when the alarm goes off, our bodies are suddenly jolted out of deep sleep. Light-therapy devices like the Lumie Bodyclock Starter (£55), however, can help ease the wake-up process by essentially faking a glorious summer dawn before the alarm starts ringing. It’ll allow your body to wake more gradually, leaving you in a much better mood when it’s time to kick off the covers.
4. Bed Yoga is a Thing
If it takes you a little while to get going in the morning, try building your way up to actually leaving the mattress with a spot of yoga. Just a few gentle poses to help you stretch your body, get the blood pumping and gradually come round can set the tone for the rest of the day—and you can stay under the covers while you do it. Try this quick, simple routine to get started:
5. Get Your Body Clock on Schedule
Our bodies like patterns, and that’s especially true of our circadian rhythm, aka our natural body clock. By having a regular bedtime and wake-up time, you’ll not only sleep better, but you’ll also find yourself rising more easily—win-win. Having an early morning routine that’s built around self-care will also make those cold mornings all the more bearable. A warm shower using an uplifting body wash followed by your brew of choice, for example, will help turn the wake-up routine into something you almost look forward to. (We said almost.)
6. Push through the inertia
We’ve saved the most vital part for last: Push through the inertia. When we’re woken up suddenly—by an alarm, for example—our bodies go through a sort of transitional stage, where we’re not fully awake but also no longer fully asleep. This groggy halfway state where we feel fatigue and often confusion is called sleep inertia. While there’s no real remedy for it, and the duration can last anywhere between a few minutes and an hour (for some it can be even longer) it’s better not to surrender to it. Rather than giving in and flopping back down on the pillow, gently ease yourself out of bed and be mindful that this feeling is temporary. You will get through it!