Early Bird or Night Owl?
Are you an “Early Bird” or “Night Owl”? This is something that can be explored through habits of your daily routine. It is also an element in which our genetics play a vital role. Our genetics essentially determine whether we thrive with a morning routine or burn the midnight oil. At RYU, we believe making the conscious choice to be a morning person and having a solid sleep schedule can have a strong, positive impact on your life.
There are very few people who bounce out of bed early to start their morning routine; even if we are a morning person, it requires a hardy amount of willpower. We know there is nothing cozier than lying between the sheets, under the duvet and blankets, especially in the winter months when it is dark and cold outside. It is hard to listen to the alarm and climb out of the covers to start your day. However, instead of pressing snooze 4 times (more on that later), here are 3 reasons WHY you should wake up early and 4 ways HOW to make it easier to rise and grind while following a proper sleep schedule.
HAPPY & PRODUCTIVE
Early risers can be happier and more productive people, thus greatly benefitting from an early morning routine. A recent study in Emotion found that early morning routines had a correlation with higher self-reported happiness. Also, morning people are generally very proactive and are better at anticipating problems and minimizing risks. If you arrive at work at 8:30am and have already been awake for 3 hours, your brain is firing on all pistons and the sleep inertia brain fog has been burned away; this makes your morning routine efficient and highly productive.
Morning risers have a healthier BMI and are generally more fit than their late-night counterparts. Countless studies have shown that early morning workouts can help with weight loss and muscle growth. It is easier to commit to a workout routine before your day at work starts because you never know what lies in your day ahead…the countless emails, or late phone calls that could prevent you from getting to the gym. Also, a morning workout routine strategically wake up your nervous system, get the blood flowing, kick your hormones into gear and introduce a massive amount of oxygen into the body. All of these things boost your brain’s productivity for the rest of the day.
BUILD STRONGER MUSCLES
You can build stronger muscles if you nail 7 – 9 hours of sleep and if you have drifted off by 10pm. A proper sleep schedule consists of a decent amount of shuteye, while hitting a deep enough sleep to rest and restore. We want to hit our REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycle earlier rather than later because it is during this stage when the body is able to restore organs, bones, tissue, replenish immune cells, and circulate a human growth hormone to repair those muscles! During our deep sleep cycle, our energy consumption is lowered and we are able to use the nutrient dense foods we eat during the day to repair muscle. Also, as we sleep our brain recharges and restores, just as our muscles do. A rested brain is more motivated and focused. We can’t function with an uncharged battery so sleep to recover, and record to replace, repair and rebuild. By establishing a solid sleep schedule, you are maximizing your days and getting the most from your body and mind exactly when you need it most.
Now that you know why you should be rising earlier, here are some ways to build an epic morning routine…
COMMIT TO 2 THINGS YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE
Most of us could be completing a great workout or even establishing a weekly workout routine and preparing a nutritious breakfast without being rushed. For others it is studying, journaling, practicing a hobby…anything that you ‘don’t have time’ to do in a typical day. Taking advantage of un-planned time pays dividends throughout the day.
SET YOUR ALARM FOR A TIME THAT LETS YOU ACHIEVE YOUR PLANNED ACTIVITIES
Pick a time (my alarm is set for 5:05am) and stick to it Monday-Friday! Creating a consistent sleep schedule and early morning routine are essential for success and if you keep changing your wake-up time, you are making it more difficult for your body to establish a habit. Also, never press snooze. Think of your snooze button as the ‘anti-happy-epic-pattern’ button. As soon as the alarm goes off, roll over, turn it off, sit up and get out of bed! The tone of your day stems from this moment and you don’t want to have a series of false starts as the way you begin your day.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
Lay out your gym clothes the night before, prepare your breakfast, and set the coffee up…anything that saves you a bit of work in the morning. This will make your early start more calm and enjoyable. Knowing that my coffee is ready for me when I get up, and that my favorite breakfast has already been assembled actually makes me excited to wake up. On that note, I choose to enjoy the small, quiet moments. Cultivating those positive thoughts surrounding your morning routine will make it easier to stick to.
HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Every day you get to wake up with eyes that see, a heart that beats and a body that moves, which is a gift. Every morning, list 5 things that you are grateful for. It could be as small as being grateful for coffee (I have written this down many, many times). It isn’t necessarily what you are grateful for that is the most important part, but the act of acknowledging the things in your life that you are grateful for.
When you create space in your life for the things that you are most passionate about, the reward is far greater than the small amount of perceived effort of a 5am wakeup. It may seem challenging at first, but commit to the process and give yourself the gift of time, healthy-happy patterns, and beautiful mornings. Brew some coffee, catch the sunrise and crush your day.