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lhriv

Morning Routines

Health Posted by lhriv 11 months ago

Does anyone have some tips on becoming a morning person? The kind that's energized, refreshed, and eager to start the day? Being self-employed, I have the luxury of designing my own schedule, but I think that is precisely the crux of my productivity at times. I have not yet mastered the art of waking up early, but I am so ready to make a lifestyle change. What do you do to kickstart your day?

36 replies

  • Razorback

    Getting plenty of rest is essential. No less than eight hours of sleep per night so that you can wake up refreshed.

    As I have grown older, I now tend to wake up later. But for many years, I woke up at 5:00 a.m., spent 30 minutes working out, showered, dressed and ate breakfast. Then off to work by 7:00 and beat most of my co-workers to the office.

    Reply

  • glen

    I'd second the importance of sleep, but I've found that when I get to sleep is more important. For example, getting 8 hours from 10pm to 6am is waaaay different than 8 hours from 1am to 9am.

    Science backs this up too. You have higher frequency of REM cycles earlier in the night than later in the night.

    Here's a study (2003) where they studied how well people performed with going to sleep at different times (earlier vs. later).

    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2003/may28/sleep.html

    And here's a TIME article where they back this up by interviewing the head of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley.

    He says that non-REM sleep tends to dominate your slumber cycles in the early part of the night. But as the clock creeps toward daybreak, REM sleep muscles in. That’s significant, because some research has suggested that non-REM sleep is deeper and more restorative than lighter, dream-infused REM sleep—though Walker says both offer important benefits.

    What does this have to do with the perfect bedtime? The shift from non-REM to REM sleep happens at certain times of the night regardless of when you go to bed, Walker says. So if you hit the sack very late—at, say, 3 AM—your sleep will tilt toward lighter, REM-heavy sleep. And that reduction in deep, restorative sleep may leave you groggy and blunt-minded the next day.

    http://time.com/3183183/best-time-to-sleep/

    Anyway, I think sleep is most important.

    Reply

    • To Razorback and Glen: I agree that the key is in sleep patterns. I just read this article (it's old though) that presents an interesting idea: go to bed whenever you are really sleepy, where you know you will fall asleep within the first 5 minutes of hitting the pillow, and then simply set your alarm to get up at the same time everyday, That way you are being a little flexible with yourself and allowing your body to guide you. http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/05/how-to-become-an-early-riser/

      Reply

  • Find something to look forward to first thing in the morning. For me, it's a cup of French press and some "Beau," time. Without the early morning, I don't get that time alone before the rest of the house wakes up. Whether it's reading a book, working out, or making an awesome breakfast, I think that time is irreplaceable.

    Reply

    • Ah, this appeals to me greatly. Rather than making early rising a chore and something I have to do to in order be productive, why not make it a pleasant time to do something I enjoy and have some quiet "me" time? I think it would put me in such a better state of mind for the whole day.

      Reply

  • elancaster65

    Alarm clock.

    Really.

    If I have to be somewhere the alarm clock is the go-to to get up and going. The "having to be somewhere" can be work, meeting, coffee, trip, you name it.

    If I don't have anywhere specific to be or need to be up at any specific time, I don't set an alarm. I roll over, look at the time, decide if I want/need more sleep and either roll back over or get up.

    Or the dog. He likes everyone to be up at 0630!

    Reply

    • That's totally an issue with me, great point. I never really HAVE to be anywhere at a certain time. I've noticed if I schedule a workout, I am more likely to get up and go... so I'll definitely incorporate that more often.

      Reply

      • elancaster65

        I also use a rather loud-ish and annoying alarm on my iPhone. It serves two purposes; one, it jolts the nervous system dumping adrenaline into the bloodstream and two, I have to roll over and get part way out of bed to get to the phone. It's just out of arms reach.

        Reply

  • Chet_Manly

    In addition to the above advice, which is what needs to come first, when I need to shift my routine to an earlier wake up, until my body adapts to the new wake up time, I have to go to sleep saying to myself, "I will wake up at ___ o'clock in the morning." Just repeat that nightly until the new habit forms. It's a simple little trick but I have found it useful.

    In addition, I try and time my afternoon coffee so that I'm coming down from it around when I want to go to sleep.... 4 pm is when I have mine. It isn't "tea time" for no reason. I actually read that advice from a tack a while back on this site.

    Best of luck with that.

    Reply

    • jordan

      Do you have the link or some searchable key words to that tack?

      Reply

      • Chet_Manly

        I wish I did. I'm not even sure if I read it here or on some training/lifting site (sleep is huge for recovery from lifting so it's a likely topic there as well).
        Give me some time; it's likely I saved a link of there was enough good content. I'll search and post anything if I can find it.

        Reply

      • Chet_Manly

        Sorry, I just can't find it. However, among other things, the article talked about tea time and using tea at 4 pm, not coffee. Something about less caffeine in a cup of tea than in coffee. However, I'm not a tea drinker and I feel I metabolize caffeine within about 5 hours. A moderate cup of coffee at 4 and I can be asleep at 10 pretty easily....all anecdotal, unfortunatly.

        Reply

    • Thanks, I dig the idea of making it a habit to repeat what time I plan on getting up. The more I remind myself to do something, the more I will follow through.

      Reply

      • Chet_Manly

        It's a pleasure to try and help. I'll explain a little more. Repeating my wake up time to myself (I feel) does more than just act as a reminder. I find that almost without fail, I wake up a couple minutes before my alarm and I'm actually more mental awake than if an alarm wakes me. Being more mentally awake helps me to not hit snooze.

        I have no proof of this except my own experience, but I realized I didn't really explain why I did that. I hate early mornings, so I wish you the best.

        Reply

  • marcanthony.mandin

    When i use to work from home i treated each morning as if i had to go into the office. I would get up and take a shower, eat breakfast, and the rest of my routine. Then kiss my wife and kids and head to my office. Or you could always have kids. They will help you get up early...way early!!! Good Luck

    Reply

    • glen

      When I had a home office I had to do the same trick. Simply rolling out of bed and getting into the office chair never did the trick. I had to take a shower, put on actual "work clothes" (see: pants) and act like I was getting ready for a typical day job. Otherwise I had to kiss productivity goodbye.

      Also: Kids are mother nature's evil alarm clock.

      Reply

    • No kids yet! But I have contemplated a dog...

      Reply

  • notagrouch

    Kind of new around here, but have had an account for a while.

    Being self employed, I struggle with this too, but I've been working on it. One of the things I recommend is to read a book about habits called "The Power of Habit" it will help just with understanding how to more easily "trigger" a habit to stick. -- Then maybe use an app to assist you in developing the series of things you want to incorporate. I'm trying this app called: Fabulous. You can set it to remind you and walk you through it.

    Reply

    • glen

      Welcome! I found Duhigg's Power of Habit to be really interesting and helpful too. A cool insight into why we do what we do. Great thoughts.

      Reply

      • notagrouch

        What were the most salient points for you?

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        • glen

          It's been a couple years, but I think one of the most interesting parts was realizing how habits help us to use (for lack of a better term) the "RAM" in our brain. When we create habits, we free up space in our noodles for other things to process.

          Reply

    • I'm actually listening to "Power of Habit" on audiobook right now. It's definitely making me pay attention to what my triggers are - much easier to make changes once these are recognized. I will definitely check out the app you recommended as well, thanks!

      Reply

  • barefootgreg

    I can only echo most of the responses below. Here it goes anyway.

    Sleep, and eight hours seems to be the number I aim for, however, my Fitbit reports I average only about three hours. I kill the caffeine at four o'clock PM as well, usually earlier though. Don't snooze, the snooze button is the devil on your shoulder trying to keep you from forming the early riser habit. Don't sleep in on the weekends or holidays, that is another way to cripple the good habit. I don't set the alarm on my off days but my "biological" alarm usually wakes me and if it doesn't I get up when I first wake (as long as it ins't much earlier than my regular time) and don't just lay there.

    My routine: Alarm wakes me at 4:50AM Go right to the bathroom pee, brush my teeth, wash my face and head in cold water, though it's not really that cold this time of year here. Drink about 16 oz of ice water Make a mug of coffee (Keurig) In the car by 5:10 to drive to the gym. Work out. Make breakfast at the office at about 7:30AM.

    On my off days I replace the drive to the gym with Greg time and I usually end up cooking breakfast for the whole family between 8:30 and 9ish.

    Reply

    • YES, the snooze button is totally my problem. It's typical for me to hit snooze for an hour or more... So I experimented last week with going to bed when I knew I'd fall asleep within 5 minutes of hitting the pillow, and I've been able to get up around 8am consistently (which is an accomplishment for me). My alarm is set for 7:42 and now my body is consistently waking up around 7:30. But... then I hit snooze a few more times (better than doing it for an hour plus though.) I'll take your advice tomorrow morning and resist the snooze with all my might.. My plan is to gradually move my alarm time to 6am and then who knows...maybe 5am?!?

      Your morning routine sounds like such a great way to start the day, like it would really instill a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Seems like it would be grounding.

      Reply

  • Still struggling and have yet to find something that sticks (or rather, have yet to change something within myself). However, the days I have gotten up in the wee hours of the morning have been my best. The quiet, leisurely time to myself feels indulgent and my productivity is pretty good throughout the day. But...my nemesis is still absolutely the snooze button. Just read this article that aptly describes the eternal morning struggle as Faustian. I think maybe I should just get rid of the alarm all together and wake up naturally for a while just to see what happens.

    Reply

    • Chet_Manly

      I came to give an update and found this cool post. Loving the description of the early morning battle...is there a tougher daily battle than with the snooze button? thankfully I don't have any addictions that would cause me to say, "Yes".

      My success has come from being able to go to (to actually BE) asleep circa 9 pm. The trouble is getting everything done in time to be in bed at that time. But I've been using these Melatonin gummies. A dose is 2, I have success with two or three. As long as I'm not on an electronic device for long, I can fall asleep pretty easily within 20 minutes of taking it.

      Only drawback is that if I wake in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or something, it can be a little more of a challenge to get back to sleep because I'm not as tired at 3 am as I was when I'd fall asleep at midnight. So I've had a few 4 am mornings but I can't complain as 4 am is an exception.

      I'd agree with you about the quality of my mornings. Glad to hear it's going well.

      Reply

      • Thanks for weighing in. I can't imagine going to bed at 9pm! I used to stay up 'til 1am-2am, but I've been pretty good at changing my "bedtime" to midnight for the past several months. Still tired and hitting snooze too much though, so I'd like to shoot for 11:30 and then gradually make it 11. I'm guilty of watching my iPad or being on my phone to "help" me fall asleep, but it does keep me awake for another 30-40 minutes so...is it really helping? And in general, my electronic devices are definitely pulling me away from productivity, i.e. right now, heh. So, I think it's probably time to start pulling away from them.

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        • Chet_Manly

          I know 9 pm is early, but with kids who like to wake up early, even 9 pm can seem late.

          Also, I read somewhere that sleep before midnight has a better quality than sleep after midnight. So if I slept from 12-8, I wouldn't feel as rested as if I slept from 10-6. From my own experience, I feel this to be true. I wouldn't have believed it, except that it has made a real difference for me.

          Glad you started this thread. Sleep and the situation around it has long been an issue for me. Seemingly a boring topic, but it has a great deal of impact on people's lives.

          Reply

          • I can't remember the last time I went to bed before 10pm (no kids, so no need to go to bed early and get up early). I'll be curious to see if going to sleep before midnight makes a noticeable difference like it has for you. I agree that sleep can be a major factor in energy/productivity and I'm hoping that these little experiments will help me find out what works for me. I think the key is not to fight myself, whether it's in keeping myself up late when I know my body is tired, or forcing myself to wake up when my body needs to rest. Hmm, that might explain why nothing has truly worked all these years.

            Reply