Confession: I have *always* been a night owl. Ever since I was in high school all the way until I was in college, I would stay up until the wee hours of the night either cramming projects or just binge-watching my fave series. I'd sleep for just two to three hours before my alarms (yes, plural) would ring, and then I would always wake up stressed with an RBF that would last all the way until lunchtime. It was a vicious cycle, but at that point, my body was already wired that way.
When I started working, I thought that my sleeping schedule would be fixed. But alas, there I was still sleeping late like my body wasn't crying out for quality ZZZs. After some time, the whole night owl schtick got old for me fast, especially since I can see its physical manifestations—my eyebags were more noticeable, I was breaking out even when I wasn't on my period, and I was just generally sluggish throughout the day. I knew something had to change.
After Googling "how to be a morning person" and watching people's a.m. routine videos, I came up with five simple—and most importantly, doable—tips that I was able to apply to my own regimen. I'm proud to say that after a few weeks of applying these, I have more energy, a sunnier disposition, and my morning RBF has since disappeared.
If you're in need of a reset, check out these tips below:
1. Ease into it gradually.
After years of being a night owl, trying to ~force~ myself into being a morning person was hard. To ease myself into it, I gave myself manageable goals. From sleeping at three a.m., I tried cutting it back into one a.m. Eventually, my body already naturally gets sleepy by the time 11 p.m. or 12 midnight rolls around.
2. Take in some sunshine.
Back then, I'd only have a little time between when I woke up and when I would clock in for the day. The only "sunshine" I'd get was from the dreary blue light of my laptop, and I would feel sluggish even though I just woke up. To counteract this, I make sure to open my blinds and let the rays fill my room. If I have extra time, I walk my dog around our neighborhood to get some steps in and hit two birds with one stone.
3. Wind down your activities in the evening.
A few hours before heading to bed, make sure to ease yourself into it by winding down on your evening activities. This means not doing anything school- or work-related activities, since it can add on to your stress, causing you to have a hard time sleeping.
Once I'm out of work, I like to journal for a bit while watching my fave show. This helps me de-stress and shut off my brain, so by the time I head to bed, I'm at a good headspace.
4. Skip using your phone before turning in for the night.
This was the habit that was the most difficult for me to kick, since I am so, so guilty of using my phone in bed. A few minutes of scrolling through my FYP would turn into hours, and suddenly, there were only 3 hours before my alarm would ring.
To kick this habit, I would charge my phone on my desk on the opposite side of my room (as opposed to on my bedside table). That way, I wouldn't be tempted to scroll. I made myself sleepy by reading a few pages of a good book before turning in for the night.
5. Refrain from drinking coffee after 3 p.m.
As someone who relied on coffee to get me through the day, this was hard to kick. I made sure to only consume caffeine before lunchtime, because any time after that and I'd have a difficult time sleeping. If you really, really need to keep yourself awake for an important deadline or presentation, drinking tea or snacking on nuts can be alternatives you can look into.