For the most part, the business world is set up to accommodate early birds.
One study found that workers who got into the office earlier were judged more favourably by their bosses than workers who got a later start — even if the early-arrivers left earlier, too.
Unfortunately, not everyone is psyched about — or biologically suited to — rising with the sun. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Over on Quora, more than 100 users have answered the question, “How do I become a morning person?“
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most creative, and most practical, tricks. So even if you’re reading this article at midnight, there’s still a chance that you’ll show up to work on time tomorrow.
This is an update of an article originally posted by Steven Benna.
1. Stop hitting snooze
Hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock may make you think you’re getting more rest — but don’t be fooled.
As Business Insider’s Jessica Orwig reported, when you hit snooze and fall back asleep, you enter into another sleep cycle that you won’t be able to finish. The result can be grogginess that lasts all day.
Quora user Stefano Gandinni says it starts with having the right mindset. “Before you go to bed, tell yourself that you are going to get up as soon as your alarm goes off,” he writes. “You’re NOT going to hit the snooze button. Visualise yourself waking up and immediately getting out of bed.”
2. Think of something you’re grateful for
Starting your morning with a positive attitude can help shape the remainder of your day.
“There’s a direct correlation between gratitude and happiness, so start off your day by expressing gratitude,” Gandinni writes.
Gandinni’s insight is backed up by research. Positive psychologists advise people to take time each night to write down three good things that happened that day, along with an explanation for why they did. You can, however, easily adapt this exercise for the morning and think about three things you’re grateful for in general.
3. Use ‘dark sessions’ the night before
Andy Ooi says he uses “dark sessions” each night — he shuts off all forms of technology and all of the lights for 10 to 30 minutes before he plans to go to bed.
“Enjoy the darkness,” he says. “You will feel very primal, like a caveman again.”
Science suggests that using digital technology before bed can make it harder to fall and stay asleep. That’s because the blue light emitted from the screens can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, essentially telling the body to stay awake.
Consider going caveman.
4. Get up and moving
Multiple Quora users recommend doing your daily workout in the morning. Ananya Neogi suggests simply stretching.
“It’s a great way to get your body moving and blood flowing, and is especially suited for people who can’t think too early in the morning,” she writes.
An added bonus for those looking to shed some pounds: As Business Insider’s Erin Brodwin has reported, exercising before breakfast helps with weight loss and gives you an energy boost.
5. Drink water
Every night while you sleep, you exhale water, meaning you wake up slightly dehydrated.
Neogi writes, “People wake up better if they’re hydrated. Going for too long without drinking anything can make you feel unmotivated and sluggish.”
Keep a glass or bottle of water next to your bed and chug it when you wake up in the morning.
6. Write something
Just as getting your body moving can help, getting your mind working can, too. You can write anything — what you’re thinking, what you’re grateful for, your goals — as long as it’s stimulating.
Writing can help you “feel happy and motivated to get your day started,” Neogi adds.
7. Get outdoors
Laszlo F. Heredy likes to get outside “about 15 minutes before the sun comes over the horizon.”
If you’re worried about time, he recommends you “set your shoes, shorts, t-shirt, and water bottle next to your bed. As soon as you get up, get out the door ASAP. Go earlier and earlier until you find your favourite time.”
Even standing by a sunny window can do the trick, as one sleep doctor told Business Insider.
Whatever you do, don’t get ready in a dark room — that will only signal to your brain that it’s nighttime.
“In the beginning I was struggling on six hours of sleep,” he writes. “But once I got better at meditating, I was able to cope and focus even with what seemed like a lack of sleep.”
You’ll be in good company, too: Celebs from Kobe Bryant to Jerry Seinfeld to Oprah Winfrey start their day in silence.
9. Develop a routine
“Getting your body used to a routine … will make it easier to handle your mornings,” writes Charles Kins.
Some scientists say our willpower is limited, and when we expend it early on in the day trying to decide what to do next, we have less left later in the day when we need to concentrate on work. (Other scientists disagree).
Try letting your brain run on automatic in the morning and conserve those mental resources for when you really need them — see if it helps.
10. Do deep work
This tip is less about getting out of bed and more about staying productive during early mornings at work. Nela Canovic recommends you use that time to do “deep work.”
Indeed, psychologist Dan Ariely says people are generally most productive for the two hours after they become fully awake, New York Magazine reported.
“Instead of checking emails and your social media feed,” Canovic writes, “block this time off for your analytical brain to perform the most complex tasks that require a lot of focus.”
11. Keep it consistent on the weekends
Dean Yeong advises against sleeping in on your days off.
Sleep experts say waking up much later than usual could throw off your body’s internal clock.
Here’s how Yeong convinces himself to get out of bed on Saturdays and Sundays:
“I see my weekends as my days, which [do] not belong to anyone else. I love my work and my job, but weekends are days that truly belong to me. I tend to schedule some time for some thought-consuming tasks in my own business and practice my workout routine.”