Feeling Great: Change your night time routine to wake up earlier

The sun is setting later, and it’s rising earlier. And if the thought of early morning’s make you want to crawl back under your duvet and hide away from the world, there’s no doubt about it when I say, you’re not alone.

In fact, I used to be on ‘Team Night Owl’ for years.

From the get go I was a nightmare to get out of bed in the morning before school. I don’t know how my Mam did it, she deserves an award.

And as I grew older, waking up didn’t get any easier.

By the time secondary school came, I’d struggle to get to school on time, and all through sixth form, an ‘early’ bedtime for me would be 1am.

Even in my adult life I found it hard to get to bed before 1am. I wanted to be a morning person, but I just couldn’t do it.

I remember asking friends and family, ‘How do I become a morning person?’. And all I got back was: “You’re just a night person, it’s too hard to change.”

But I thought there’s got to be a way to turn things around so it becomes easier to wake on a morning, and not be downing four coffees before midday, because all that coffee surely isn’t good for you, and I was sick of not wanting to get out of bed.

Every morning. 

So I stopped making excuses, and over a few months, I turned a corner. And it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever done, because now I can wake up early, have time to play with my kids before making my way to the office, enjoy an extra hot latte before 9am with a good book, and finally have lasting energy to see me through the day.

And because I’ve heard a lot of our patients in the clinic lately commenting on how the sun wakes them up way too early, so they feel tired by the time they get to work, I wanted to share some quick actionable tips with you, to help make mornings easier.

There are two main components to becoming a morning person: getting to bed earlier, and waking up earlier.

When I decided to make the transition to a morning person, my first thought was, “this isn’t going to be fun”.

We can make up excuses, justify, and rationalise anything and everything. So, when you realise you’re responsible for what time you get to bed, you can turn it around.

First, I focused on small, incremental changes. A big mistake most people make when they decide to get up earlier is this they go from 8.30am to waking up at 6am.

Instead, I went from 8.30am to 8.15am for a week. Then to 8am for a week, then 7.45am.

By slowly adjusting my sleep schedule, my body didn’t argue with me, and I could actually allow my body to wake earlier, naturally, without feeling like I desperately wanted to hit the snooze button.

The next step was I went to bed earlier.

The reason I was always up so late was because I was sitting at my computer staring at bright lights until 10 minutes before bed, or watching TV and then struggling to fall asleep.

So I set myself up to win by making a few changes. First I started reading fiction books in bed. If I read non-fiction, I’d get too excited and come up with all sorts of ideas that’d keep my cogs turning. Fiction wound my mind down.

And I also committed to no TV after 10.30pm.

Only Fools and Horses kept me up late too many nights, so I set alarms to make sure I stuck to it, and now I’ve set it back earlier.

Another thing that helped was eating tea earlier.

As soon as I get in, it’s teatime. This means no rushing around cooking late at night, and having to wash up late so I don’t get shouted at for leaving dirty plates around.

Eating earlier has definitely played a big role in getting to bed earlier than I used to.

So, stop staring at bright screens. Put the phone down, turn off the TV, get off your computer and pick a good book to read.

Getting to sleep earlier is just half the battle. Next week I’ll get onto getting up earlier!

Until then, these simple actionable tips should help you fight the early sunrise battle, and help you feel more ready to take on the day!

P.S. Do you have a bad back right now, or know someone who does? Here’s a free special report with 9 top tips to keep active with less back pain, just go to this website to get your free copy: www.paulgoughphysio.com/back-pain