I have always been a night owl. My mom eventually gave up on enforcing bedtimes earlier than 10pm because I simply couldn’t turn my brain off and go to sleep any earlier. But, now that I’m a mom, I have discovered that waking up after my kids means waking up to chaos, which, in turn, makes me not want to wake up at all! However, I still crave that quiet time where I can just BE without everyone needing something from me. So, after years of fighting it, I have learned to get up early so I can get a little time to myself and be awake and prepared for the day before the kids start stirring around.
Here are my top five tips to help you get up early in the morning.
- Prepare the night before. A messy, cluttered house and a kitchen sink full of dishes is enough to make even natural early birds pull the covers back over their heads. Take some time the night before to prepare for your rising. Pick up the house. Clean the kitchen, and sit out everything for your morning coffee (or other favorite morning beverage). I even like to start breakfast. This crockpot oatmeal or these freezable breakfast burritos are my favorites, but I also turn to several of these quick morning recipes when I want to switch things up.
- Swallow the frog! I know. You’re wondering what on earth that means. Whatever it is, it sounds like something that makes you want to hide UNDER the bed, not get out of it. LOL! It actually refers to a quote by Mark Twain: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” A lot of people use it as motivation to do their hardest jobs first. Then, the rest of their day is easier. I love the concept, but for a life-long night owl, getting up early is the thing that I dread! So, as soon as I wake up I “swallow the frog” by hopping out of bed. Since I just did the hard thing, I have better things (like a clean-ish house, my favorite drink, and breakfast) ahead of me. I may actually have another frog to eat once I get my day going, but I can deal with that once I’m fully awake, showered, satisfied with good food, and ready to take on the day! Not swallowing the frog is actually just a way to put off the hard or undesirable things that we all have to do, if you struggle with procrastination, check out my tips for overcoming procrastination.
- Spend at least 15 minutes out in the sun shortly after you wake up. Sunlight turns off the flow of melatonin (which makes you feel sleepy) and causes your brain to produce serotonin (which is thought to produce feelings of well-being and fight off depression).
- Be consistent with your sleep schedule. It’s tempting to sleep in, especially if you were up late the night before. But, sleeping in will make it harder for you to sleep well that night which makes you sleep in the next morning, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
- Get a good night’s sleep. It’s easy to be unrealistic about the amount of sleep you need when you are deciding on a sleep schedule. Don’t give in to the temptation to cut yourself short on sleep so you can get more done. You may accomplish more in the short term, but eventually lack of sleep will catch up with you and you will suffer from lack of focus, exhaustion, poor health, and general moodiness. To figure out how much sleep I need, I went to bed at the same time for several nights in a row and paid attention to what time I consistently woke up without an alarm clock. When I woke up, I got up and started my daily routine.
By the way, if you struggle with keeping a daily schedule, I have a free worksheet to help you develop a daily routine–a general flow to your day to keep you on-track without the stress of keeping a strict schedule. Following a daily routine instead of a schedule revolutionized my days at home with kids (because we all know kids have a way of blowing even the most perfectly thought-out schedule). I call it my schedule with grace! Get the free Daily Routine Worksheet here!
What about you? Do you find that your days go better if you get up before your kids? Do you have any tips for someone who is struggling to get up early?