Some people are the type that sets the alarm for 5:00 a.m. and leaps out of bed at the first ring. However, others are hitting the snooze at 8:00 a.m. or later. It turns out that some people are hardwired to be night owls, while others are predisposed to be morning people. But many schools begin bright and early by 8:00 a.m. or even earlier. That means you’ll need to get up to help your kiddo get ready every day. Fortunately, there are techniques you can try to help you become a morning person before the school year starts.
Develop Your Nighttime Routine
You may already do some things regularly, but developing your nighttime routine is a great way to signal to your body every evening that it’s time to wind down. During your routine, dim the lights, turn off the TV, and avoid other screens like your phone and e-reader. You could take a calming bath, play soft music, and do some meditation. All these things signal to your brain and body that it’s time to slow down and rest.
Develop Your Morning Routine
Just like in the evening, developing a morning routine tells your brain what time it is and helps you wake up. Create a routine that focuses on energizing or happy acts, like taking a shower, enjoying a cup of hot tea or coffee, or starting with some light stretches. If you have trouble getting out of bed or avoiding the snooze button, experts say that an alarm that is less harsh-sounding and more melodic is more effective. In addition, incorporating natural light by leaving the curtains open or using a dawn simulator can help.
Consider Your Sleep Hygiene
There are things we do throughout the day that can make it easier or more difficult for us to fall asleep at night. Exercising during the day is an essential component, but when you exercise matters. For example, if you try to exercise in the evening, it could take your body several hours to wind down, pushing your bedtime back. In addition, it’s common for people to enjoy caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee. However, drinking them after 3:00 p.m. could also keep you awake later than you planned.
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Go to the Light
Make light — and the absence of it — part of your morning person makeover. In the morning, if you must get up while it’s still dark outside, try using a dawn simulator or gentle light that comes on with your alarm. And as soon as the sun begins to come up, let that light into the house. In the evening, close the curtains and blinds as you get closer to your bedtime if it’s not dark outside. And remember to turn off some lights inside the home as the night progresses.
It’s not easy to change your sleep schedule, but you can use these techniques to make the transition smoother. Don’t forget to start training yourself well before school begins. It takes time to change your sleep habits, and incremental changes might be easier to handle.