Relationships

Monthly Challenge #7: Become a Morning Person

How to Wake Up Early

Last month, I attempted to become a morning person, and you’ll never guess what happened…

I BECAME A MORNING PERSON. Okay, so maybe you did guess that. But honestly, I never saw it coming.

Phase 1: Waking Up is Hard

The first few days of this challenge feel less than stellar. When waking at an early hour, my mind has but one thought: Airport? Historically, an early morning wakeup has corresponded with some type of travel. Regretfully, I inform my brain there is no vacation in sight.

With that, my body returns to slumber mode, leaving me to battle against the weight of my eyelids. “We’re waking up because it’s fun!” I tell my brain, out loud, because I’ve now resorted to talking to myself. My mind is still doubtful, but willing to go along with this charade.

The dog, on the other hand, is all too thrilled to adjust to life as a morning dog. After only a couple days’ worth of early alarms, she’s turned into a Disney animal. Before the alarm has even thought of chiming, she’s nudging me awake. It is both irritating and adorable.

“BARK!” she exclaims, at 4:45.
“Whaaaaaaaaat,” I grumble.
“BARK!” she argues, with so much gusto I fear the neighbors are now taking part in this challenge. The next thing I know, she is performing Riverdance on top of my blanketed body. And just like that, I am awake.

Phase 2: Waking Up is Fun

After a week, waking up feels easier for two big reasons. The first is I’ve been heading to bed earlier, out of necessity. I use the handy bedtime function on my iPhone to remind me to get in bed at the same time every night. (It starts harassing you an hour before your designated sleep time, so you can turn off the devices and get in the right state of mind.) I’ve found even when I climb into bed much earlier, my body is — to my surprise — actually ready to go to sleep. Apparently I’m not wired to be some nocturnal species, as I had once believed.

Because I find rituals fun, I’ve recruited a few nighttime helpers. This lavender eye pillow smells incredible and tricks me into believing my home is a spa and a random Tuesday is a vacation. You place it above your eyes, relishing in the comforting weight and soothing scent. At least half of its magic is that, when you have a pillow balancing on top of your eyes, you’re pretty much forced to relax. I’ve also become a devotee of magnesium, whether in the form of this drink or magnesium oil, applied topically.

The second reason I’ve been hopping out of bed in the morning is, much like those alarmingly chipper cartoon bluebirds I have spent my life despising, I now wake with the sun. For as long as I can remember, I counted my black-out curtains among my favorite things, turning my bedroom into a dark and glorious cave of slumber. However, my AC unit changed all that. I’ll spare you the technical details, but my window unit means the curtains cannot be closed during the summer months. And so, I find myself waking not with my alarm, but rather by the natural light assaulting me at 5 a.m. pouring in through my window.

There is a third reason that waking feels easier, not related to sounds or sunlight: I’ve come to enjoy the morning. It turns out, the city that doesn’t sleep still likes to sleep in. Mornings are quiet(ish), populated by runners and dog walkers and people doing tai chi in the park. I no longer feel that my day begins in a blur, punctuated by my hairdryer and discarded outfits and rushing down sidewalks. I might take a stroll, or work on writing, or read a chapter of a novel before starting my day. I get why so many poets write about the morning. Sometimes, it’s actually golden.

Phase 3: Waking Up Forever

But let’s be real for a second. This whole morning thing is working out, for now. Might I still hibernate in the winter months? Yes, I might. Might I slip back into my nocturnal ways at another point in my life? Of course. Will my clock inevitably get thrown off by a deadline or jet lag or a date involving too much wine? Yes and yes and yes.

When I first announced I would be undertaking this challenge, a lot of people responded to the tune of “I’M A NIGHT OWL AND I’M PROUD.” I hear you. And if that works well for your life, more power to you. I once read that Dave Eggers burns the midnight oil (or more accurately the 4 a.m. oil), because he can work only when he feels like he’s not missing out on anything. We all have to do what’s best for us.

For me, the big takeaway here was that different styles suit us at different phases of our lives. It can be refreshing to see the world from a new vantage point, even and especially if that vantage point corresponds to the sunlight. These summer mornings agree with me, but I don’t know what the next season brings. As with so many things in life, I am content to take it one day (or rather, one morning) at a time.

Did you try waking up earlier? If so, how did it go? I would love to hear…

P.S. More challenges, and the secret to a happy marriage.

(Photo by MAV/Instagram.)

  1. I am definitely going to try this! I currently only wake up early on Tuesdays and Thursdays due to class. However, I think I would like to do it everyday as it would help in creating a routine. I’ve tried doing it on other days but it really is hard so definitely going to try. Great read!

  2. Nicole says...

    Mornings really are magical. I have become one since moving most of my runs to the a.m. and during marathon season that means 5:30 wake-up calls most day.

    Still, I have trouble winding down and sometimes get nighttime anxiety (Will a neighbor slam their door? Will the law student blast her music in the parking lot? Will the next-door dog bark?) I kinda get what Eggers means. I can’t sleep until, it would appear, the rest of the world sleeps so I find myself running on 5-6 hours a lot these days.

  3. Lauren E. says...

    Late to the party, but I am a total morning person. It started because my apartment building’s laundry room gets incredibly crowded on weekends and in the nighttime, so I started waking up at 6:45 on weekends when it opens to be first in line. Then I found I liked being up early on the weekends – the neighborhood bagel shop is blissfully empty, the streets are quiet, my husband sleeps late so I can sip my coffee and do some writing with no one to interrupt me. Now I get up at 6AM during the week, too, to get my daily workouts in. It’s such a lovely time of day.

  4. I’ve become more of a morning person. My toddler slept forever on weekends (we’d wake him at 9ish) but now that he’s potty trained, he’s up at 7. I do appreciate that weekends feel a bit lengthier when we use more waking hours of it! On weekdays I love getting one thing done at home, plus some me-time to view instagram stories, before heading to work. The mix of pleasure & productivity is key for me!

  5. ray says...

    I am a morning person naturally. 05 to 07 are my favorite hours of the day. My beautiful baby robs me of them by tiring me with night wakings. Looking forward to future mornings.

  6. For those asking about magnesium: check out the book “The Magnesium Miracle” by Carolyn Dean. It’s a mineral we’re all deficient in and can effect everything from sleep to anxiety/depression to hormonal issues, etc. I’ve noticed a huge difference since starting to take it regularly. Plus it helps keep you regular ;-)

  7. Bren says...

    I’ve always been somewhat of a morning person, but when I gave birth to my firstborn it took me to the next level. I remember him being a few weeks old, and I was up at 4:30AM one morning googling “what time does Starbucks open” and I knew my life had dramatically shifted!!!

  8. Rebecca says...

    Magnesium is AMAZING! I recommend it to everyone I know who is sleeping badly.

  9. Camille says...

    Having a kid ? Now I’m a mother, I’m awake by 7.30 no matter what :)

  10. Kaitlyn S says...

    Oh the morning. Somehow I missed this post this week!

    My husband and I live in North Bay – I work in SF and he works in Sonoma. It means he drives about an hour north for work (reverse commute) and I take the ferry in to work (which ends up being about an hour commute for me as well). But because he works in a winery he has obscenely early hours – 7:00-3:30. So he’s up at 5:00 every. damn. day. And he’s just terrible at being quiet in the morning. He doesn’t know how to do that trick where you turn a door handle as you close a door so that the latch doesn’t make a loud sound, he listens to a podcast as he showers, he’s just loud. So after about 3 days of this, I gave in, and started getting up with him too. Because I’m not a night owl, and naturally go to bed no later than 10:00 anyway, so I’m getting at least 7 hours of sleep.

    I hate getting up at 5 – love getting up at 6 – but somehow getting up at 5 is the worst. But I must admit – when I get into my office at 8:30 and run a mental checklist of all the things I’ve already done during the day (walked the dog, run a load of laundry, emptied and run the dishwasher, made my lunch, caught the early ferry), I feel pretty accomplished.

  11. Carol says...

    Go to bed at 9:30 for a couple days and you’ll miraculously wake up naturally at 5:30 am.
    About Calm magnesium powder: I recommend this to everyone to help get to sleep and calm down. The one with calcium in it can make me comatose within minutes. BUT I recommend folks not get it from Amazon, the evil price-gouging (from suppliers), local commerce and jobs killer. It’s at so many natural foods stores, sometimes even in the samples basket.

    • Annie says...

      Hahaha – word to not buying from Amazon.

  12. emily says...

    after reading this article on Tuesday I bought some magnesium oil to use on my husband who struggles w/ signficant muscle tightness and insomnia. When he woke up on Wed he declared “I woke up a new person! how did it take 40 years to discover this magical potion!?!”

    THANK YOU CAROLINE!

    (and I bought Life-Flo pure magnesium oil at my local Vitamin Shoppe and it was $10)

    CupofJO you keep delivering helpful things for all the things…THANK YOU!

  13. mandy says...

    i love caroline’s writing! so glad it is back. i want to be a morning person now, too.

  14. Geraldine says...

    Hello! Seems to me that nobody here mentionned the wonderful book “The Power Of When” (http://thepowerofwhen.com/). It starts with a quizz, helping you to determine your chronotype, then gives great tips about WHEN doing things is the best time FOR YOU. Read it last year, still using the tips for the best :)

  15. I’m a morning person…but I also happen to be a night owl. I find that I’m most creative in the late evenings and early mornings. However, there’s nothing I love more than having a full and productive morning at home. To me, it makes the day so much better!

  16. Emily says...

    I became a morning person 12 years ago. My friend always exercised in the early morning and I did not regularly make time to exercise and wished I did. I realized that the difference between us was that she got her a$$ out of bed and I did not. I started 2 days a week, then 3, and now for 12 years I’m a morning exerciser and regularly get up between 4:45 and 5 a.m. Most days I exercise outside, even in the winter, and I’ve never regretted it.

  17. Anne says...

    I am not, and will never be, a morning person.

    However.

    There is something to be said for seeing the sunrise and feeling like you’re part of a world that so few are also up to see.

    I started waking up earlier out of necessity: I was training for a half during a summer in Texas. That was 4 years ago, and I still struggle with getting out of bed at 5:30, even though I do it most days. For one thing, exercise is a necessary evil (for health, not vanity), and it really does help you wake up and start the day. I’ll stumble into the gym morning-angry, and by the time I leave, I’m like, “THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!” I, personally, cannot imagine waking up and meditating or reading or yoga (because I would fall asleep), but everyone’s different. The other great part? I have no obligations for anything after work. So great.

    Now, this is not to say that I don’t occasionally sleep in. I’m a big believer in listening to your body. Most mornings are just, uuuugh, I don’t want to wake up mornings, but sometimes, there are, absolutely nothing is worth missing an extra hour of sleep right now and I will be a giant (#$&*# b*tch all day if I get up now mornings. Mental clarity is worth it whether you wake up early or not.

  18. Alyssa says...

    I need a solid 8 hours of sleep or I can barely function. I’ve learned that going to bed by 9:30/10 and waking up at 6:00 works great for me! My boyfriend has gotten used to my ways too. He’ll get in to bed with me but if he’s too awake, he will put on his headphones and watch something while I sleep and if I wake up before him (on weekends), I’ll retreat to the living room with a book and coffee until he is up.

    It’s also meant that on vacation I get to make the most of the time and experiences by being up early and ready to go.

  19. Ashley says...

    Over the past few weeks I have been getting up early and working out before work. I FEEL INCREDIBLE. Seriously, there is something about it that makes me feel better than I ever have working out in the evening.

  20. Princess Hajjar says...

    How does one improve this with kids?? What I crave most is just waking BEFORE my children? It always seems like once Im up, everyone is up.

    • gfy says...

      Get up at 4- 4:30 am and you should be able to steal at least an hour to yourself? I did this for years when living with other early risers (6am ‘ers) and came to love the pre-dawn hours, lol. I still cherish this time as special, opening the back door in stealth mode to sit outside with a bottomless cup of tea to stargaze and listen to the birds waking up. Ever heard a sleepy bird chirp? It is the cutest thing ever!

    • Amie says...

      It’s so hard! I’m training for my first triathlon and I’m a single parent. Unless I want to train by pushing a 3 year old in a jogger or hauling him behind my bike (good strength workout though) I have to wake up at 5 so I can get on the treadmill or trainer before he’s up. There are mornings where he’ll wake up and I can manage to convince him that I’m just going to the bathroom and it’s not morning time yet. lol
      Those quiet mornings to myself are my sanity. It’s hard though when you’re up too late doing chores or prepping for the next day. I try hard to prep the week’s meals on the weekend to make each morning and evening routine shorter and easier. Good luck!!!

  21. Joslyn says...

    I loved this challenge. I set the goal of not hitting snooze and waking up at 0530. I loved it. It got me in the habit of waking up and making fresh coffee before attending to my eight month old daughter. It also inspired my husband to get up early and we started having breakfast together like we did when we were newlyweds. Heart happy.

  22. annie says...

    Can you say more about magnesium, Caroline? My interest is piqued!

  23. Jessica says...

    I’ve been waking up at 4:15am to swim before work for the last 10 years, and it feels terrible every. single. day. The only thing that gets me out of bed is the pull of getting to the pool to swim. My effort is paying off though: I successfully swam the 21 mile length of Lake Tahoe last week!

    • gfy says...

      Wow! congrats!

    • Yulia says...

      Wow, that is an amazing achievement!

      What was your motivation for starting morning swims 10 years ago, and is it the same today?

  24. Allyson says...

    Oh, no no no. No early mornings for me. I like to wake up between 8:00 and 9:00, and have the luxury of working from home. My husband jokes that my need to sleep in is the #1 reason why we’ve decided not to have children. We laugh about it, but it’s certainly a factor! ;)

  25. Rebecca says...

    I started a new job and in order to make my commute easier, I am waking up at 6:30 am, compared to my 7:30 (lets be honest more like 7:50). I have been doing this for one month and I have not found it easier. My eyes hurt, I feel like I look more tired than I am and I can’t seem to get used to it. I heard it would take a few weeks but if this is how I feel in the summer, I can’t imagine how winter will be!

  26. I love natural CALM Bath in Lavender, Relaxing Magnesium Spa Formula Bath Salts [I guess this is what they’re called? Longest name ever but I just got them from my bathroom to look at the label :)] If you have a bath tub! xx

  27. Cynthia says...

    It’s great that you have been able to do this and it has worked out well for you. I just want to point out that there is nothing inherently “better” about being a morning person versus a night person. Most research shows that this is genetically wired in you, yet society places a premium on being morning people. I am not a morning person but also not a night owl – my body wants to go to sleep between 11pm and midnight and I wake up around 8am even on weekends – but I have found that waking up earlier than 7:30 or 8 when not necessary does not work for me, despite countless attempts at becoming a morning exerciser. Once I realized that about myself and accepted it I found ways to make time to exercise at lunch and in the evenings and have actually stuck to it instead of torturing myself in the morning.

    TL; DR – In my opinion, it isn’t necessary to becoming a “morning person” if it’s not in you; figure out what what works best for you and make that personal time for yourself, whatever that may mean to you.

    • Catherine says...

      Very true Cynthia, there is a bias that exists that “morning people” are better and more productive people.

    • Anne says...

      I totally agree that it doesn’t make anyone a better person. However, since society (as in, my job) is standardized 8-5, I don’t really feel like there’s another option. It will never be “natural” to me, but it really does help me accomplish more than I normally would, and I like having all the “to do” list done so that after work, I can completely chill. But, to each their own!

    • Dee says...

      I think this is a really interesting point and I agree there is no inherent moral value to being a morning person. However, as someone points out below for most the working day is somewhat standardised. I do believe there is a difference between carving out ‘your time’ (whatever that means to you) before your paid employment versus after it. Having ‘your time’ before you give everything to the paid employment is a different quality of time to the time after work when you have already used up your energy and will power and your mind is filled with the working day. I think this is the significant factor, not what time of day you get up. (I’m using ‘your time’ here as a catch-all, for me ‘your time’ would include plenty of household tasks for which I have no great affection. I observe that even for the most mundane tasks -hanging up washing, doing the dishes etc- I do them more quickly and effectively if I’m tackling them before my day job than after it.)

  28. Erin D LaDue says...

    The timing of your 1st post got me thinking. I started a teaching job this summer that got my setting my alarm at 6:30am. Before I was a night owl and now I am so happy to go to bed at 10:30. I feel I get so much more done.

  29. Claire Miller says...

    Okay, I get it. It’s great to get up early, go to bed early, at the same time, because circadian rhythms. But WHAT ABOUT SLEEPING IN!?!?!? If you do this all the time, does it mean you never get to sleep in? This is literally the only thing that has stopped me from getting into this ritual.
    I have, up until recently, been forced to wake up at 5am almost every morning for work, and it never got easier, not even after 15 years. I found that I could be cordial early in the morning, but never did I become a morning person. I even hate the phrase “good morning”. I have refused to say those two words together for the past 41 years, going with a “hello” instead. Am I a monster?

    • G says...

      NO U AIN’T. ~morning monster 2

    • Mandy says...

      Claire Miller this made me laugh so hard! I feel the same way! I love the I have refused to say good morning and say hello instead am I a monster ?
      I see the point of waking up early but some days I just want to and need to sleep in. I feel like the key is choice today I slept in yesterday I got a ton done before 7 am both were good days. I say sleep in!

  30. I love it, I have to get up early to see my son off to school, but I always sneak a nap in before noon. The blackout curtains, good idea.

  31. Hannah says...

    I love waking up at dawn so much, I find it such a magical time of day. BUT I’m terrible at mornings. I regularly set 8 alarms to wake up, and even then it’s a struggle. Lately I’ve found a solution that’s working for me, however weird it sounds; I’ve been waking up at 4.30, making coffee, sitting on my porch enjoying dawn, and then going back to bed for an hour! Somehow it’s easier to wake up when I know I’ll be back in bed soon, and I get to enjoy my favourite part of the day, and also get in my favourite activity; a nap! Is it super weird? Yes. Does it work for me? YES!

    • Haylee says...

      Wait, this is amazing! I’m totally going to try this!

  32. Meghan says...

    I became a morning person after adjusting to a job that requires a 5:15 wake up. I wake up alert and ready to get out of bed each morning; noticing the dappled light on the trees as the sun comes up, the shadows that rise and fall in my home office, the birds chirping or the rabbit skittering about in the morning dew. I find it more difficult to wake up in the winter when the sun’s not up (I’m Canadian, so we experience big changes in the amount of sunlight from season to season) but I love noticing the little changes that come with the sunrise and season. Great challenge! I love your flexibility about how permanent this will be, Caroline! Boundaried bedtime is a must though, for early mornings. Haha! I’m strict about my 10:00 bedtime, makes all the difference between being a morning person and total crank.

  33. Jane I. says...

    I once read an article that compared being a morning person to adding a 25th hour into the day. Instead of obsessing over a perfectly curated morning routine with yoga, oil pulling, meditation or whatever other hokey trend is going on, the author simply woke up an hour earlier than everyone else and did what felt best – reading, walking, writing, maaaybe yoga. I love that idea of giving yourself a free hour for me time in the cool, calm, quiet morning.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      “Adding a 25th hour into the day.” Love this, Jane!!!

  34. Vroni says...

    For me, having a school kid, I am forced to wake up at six, no matter if I like it or not. But just accepting it as it is has helped me a lot, instead of crawling out of bed everyday and telling myself wtf… I have an alarm clock with integrated light system, that demonstrates a sunrise, and after half an hour of gradually becoming lighter, music turns on, softly, also gradually becoming louder. This helps me soooo much. I set the alarm at 6 (with the light starting at 5.30) but have to get up at 6.30. Right now I try to crawl out of bed earlier, and do some yoga. Yawning yoga. But still, this feels so much better, than just lying in bed till 6.30…it’s not easy being a morning person, but once you’re in it, it’s kinda OK. Maybe even kinda cool. ;)

    • Chika says...

      Would you mind sharing what kind of clock you have that had this “integrated light system”? Maybe there’s hope for me after all…! ;)

    • Rash says...

      China, Philips has a clock with an integrated light, it’s called Wake Up Light.

  35. Ana says...

    I’m definitely a morning person but like someone said earlier I’ve come to appreciate it more and more. I so appreciate the quiet… no matter what I’m doing! When I’m in school, it’s usually just giving myself a cushion to make food and pack my bags without rushing so I can get to school early and study (I also appreciate that type of quiet time). Now in the summer, I somehow love cleaning in the morning (I guess another quiet/solitary activity?)

  36. LB says...

    I love early mornings and have always been a morning person. It’s great to go for a run in the pitch black and return home to a sunrise. I miss living in Boston and being assaulted by the light of day at 5 am. :)

  37. Brittney says...

    I actually go running at 5:00 am in the city. No, I’m not (that) crazy. I have a unique mix of electronic and classical music I listen to as I trot about my neighborhood in the dark. It prepares me for the day ahead. I’m able to sort through my thoughts before most people wake up. There’s an element of pride that’s associated with it as well, like you know something no one else does as validated by the darkness dappled with so few house lights.

    • Olivia says...

      I adore the thought of your hilarious music mix!

  38. sasha l says...

    Good for you Caroline!! I’m so happy this new plan is working for you.

    I’m sort of a weird morning person. I never wake grumpy, but I don’t pop out of bed easily if it’s before about 6:30. For the last several years I had to be to work absurdly early, at 7, with a half hour commute. I HATED it. I just felt half asleep until about 9, and tired all day. Especially awful in the far north, where for much of the year I was driving to and from work in total darkness. It just hurts my brain.

    Now I work from home and wake up happily at 6:45. Same bedtime, 10 pm. It’s so awesome. I’m not sure if I’m a morning person, but I’m currently a happy person with a later wake up.

  39. I had to force myself to become a morning person as well. But once I did, I actually found that waking up *drastically* affected my mood for the day. Having that time to myself when my mind is clear and before the world demands things of me was enough to continue to cajole me out of bed.

    Caroline – I know you’ve been running a lot. Are you running in the mornings? It really is the best to be out before the neighborhoods wake up! (And if I pass you in BK, I’ll give you a silent nod, as we runners do since we’re all out there at that hour for the same reason – to be alone).

    • Yulia says...

      Caroline, won’t you write something about running? I’d be so interested to read it, and then I’d move on to the comments section for more. (I’m a runner, too.)

  40. Carrie says...

    Caroline, does that mean 4:45 is your new wake up time? If not, what do you usually go for? Trying to do this to and curious what your and others’s baseline is!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I actually aim for 6:00, but with the sunlight/dog factor it has been happening naturally around 5:30. To maintain this, my bedtime has become 10:00. It sometimes shifts depending on nighttime obligations, but that is the baseline (for now).

    • Carrie says...

      Thanks! I have to wake up at 6 for my new job so will take your results as inspiration.

  41. “We all have to do what’s best for us.”

    I love this line; what a great reminder in this image-obsessed world!

  42. Emily R says...

    I’ve slept with the blinds open my entire life. The sun rising doesn’t effect me at all – as in, I can sleep right through it. Waking up early is the same in the summer as in the winter for me (admittedly more depressing in the darkness of winter than the brightness of the summer). I’ve been trying to wake up at 6:30 for at least 7 years now and it’s not working. I’d love to give up, but work beckons. So instead I’m just miserable each morning.

  43. Kadria says...

    How early did you wake up for this challenge?

  44. i wake up every work day btwn 4:45- 5am. i don’t have to be at the office till around 8 or 8:30am.

    i find that extra hour of drinking coffee and watching the news (or checking my FB feed) relaxing … and it’s ..uh… made me regular, in the bathroom. i go every single day, like clockwork and well… it makes for such a lovely start to the day, to have that one necessary thing done…

    • sasha l says...

      I don’t get up that early, but relate to the check off pooping comment! Absolutely.

    • Yulia says...

      Completely agree about the morning poop and how enjoyable it is to be regular. Awesome that you described it as a “lovely” start to the day… lol!

    • Emily says...

      Amen! (to the morning pooping ritual! lol)

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      So much yes.

  45. Welcome to the lovely morning world! Morning is my favorite time of day (I’ve been a morning person since childhood).

    It’s especially lovely to take nice brisk walks and bike rides early in the morning, which I do on weekends. (I only cycle on park paths, which is exceedingly pleasant and often beautiful. I love seeing the birds and plants.)

  46. Kim G says...

    I am not a morning person. I never have been, although I was able to fake it for awhile with work commitments. I even have two little kids, and I can wake up and start my day with them just fine (as long as there’s caffeine around) but if my husband’s around to get up with them (he is an early bird) than I get the best sleep my insomniac self ever gets-morning sleep! I have intense, vivid dreams and feel great with those extra few winks.

    • Emily R says...

      I grew up with a mother just like this. My father is a morning person, my mom isn’t, which always makes me laugh when my friends with kids say they MAKE you a morning person. Not for everyone they don’t!

    • Kim G says...

      Ha ha, thanks Emily. Sweet validation.

  47. Kim G says...

    How’s the watermelon flavored natural calm? I love that drink, and most of the other flavors but I’m wary of watermelon flavoring.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I’m a fan of it, but it’s definitely fruitier than the other flavors. It’s sort of similar to watermelon Jolly Ranchers, so I’d say to use that as a litmus test.

    • Kim G says...

      Thanks!

  48. Marnie says...

    Getting up early is MUCH easier in summer! I swim at 5:30 am- which is fine in summer but only possible during dark winter months with the help of a Wake-up Light alarm clock. The light gradually comes on a half hour before you need to get up to simulate a natural sunrise. Expensive and worth every penny.

    • Agreed. I’m a runner though, and MAN do I love seeing the sun rise while I’m out in the winter!

  49. Amanda G says...

    JR –

    I’ve just had to accept the fact that my husband needs waaaay less sleep than I do haha. After years and years of working night shifts as a paramedic followed by three years of grad school, his ability to function seemingly normally on 2-3 hours of sleep boggles my mind. I just tell myself I’m not missing out on anything (and I’m not – he only ever really reads or watches his favorite nighttime talk shows). Sometimes he reads in bed or watches with headphones, but we also have a comfy chair in another room that he settles into if I’m having troubles falling asleep :)

  50. jac says...

    I like to wake up early to tidy my apartment and kiss my dog. This morning I spent an hour doing the dishes and cleaning my kitchen. I can get my lunch together and make sure I don’t forget stuff (wonderful for a person with anxiety). When I get home I can hardcore CHILLLLLL. It’s worth it’s weight in gold. Ultimately it makes me less frazzled at work and saves me money because I’m not buying last minute coffee or lunches out. Yay for sunrise!

    • Ana says...

      same same same. definitely less frazzled despite frazzled being my middle name!

  51. Abby says...

    Has the time you go to sleep changed at all? Just curious–I’d like to start trying this.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Yes! I’ve shifted both my bedtime and my wake up time back by around 90 minutes.

  52. Nicole says...

    I also became a morning person a few years ago and don’t foresee returning to my old ways. (I always try to keep my jetlag from any trip east for this reason :) Making the bedroom a place to you want to spend time is key, as is having a nice bedtime routine you can look forward to. I definitely prefer having quiet time now in the AM to work, read, have breakfast, etc versus scrambling with wet hair to get to work on time :D

  53. Claire says...

    Becoming a ‘Morning Person’ and playing a game of “just try and wake up before the kids’kind of melded into one by the end of the month, but those mornings where everybody was asleep and I could read an actual book or make coffee with out someone hanging on my leg or demanding more of something were glorious.

  54. Caroline, I’m very surprised that your magical date dress hasn’t put a kink in your early mornings…if ya know what I mean! (wink, wink) (nudge, nudge) (wink!)

    • Sara says...

      Best. Comment. Ever.

    • GJ says...

      Hahahaha

  55. jr says...

    for coupled up folks, how do you go to bed if your partner is still awake? i wake up earlier than my fiance so typically am ready to crash before he is but i always find it harder to put myself to bed when i know he’s still up doing things. …and end up staying up way later than i want or need to because of it.

    • Sarah says...

      I feel the same way and so I asked my husband to tuck me in. He pulls the covers up, plugs in my phone for me, sometimes brings me a drink of water and we chat as I lay in bed. I realize it sounds kind of corny or like I’m reverting to being a child but it is a really nice time, and it definitely helps me fall asleep.

    • annie says...

      I get tucked in, too, Sarah. :) It’s the best.

    • S says...

      I love going to bed early-ish and waking up early (weekends included). He loves staying up late (week days included) and sleeping in on the weekends. During the week we’re up at the same time to go to work. I struggled with this for the first few months (or maybe even first year?) we were dating. But soon we realized that we would end up being resentful or grumpy if I stayed up with him or made him go to bed when I did. Similarly to Sarah, he usually “tucks me in” when I go to bed. He’ll also change and do whatever he needs to do then so he doesn’t wake me up later on. I end up falling asleep within a matter of seconds and he sneaks in bed later. On weekend mornings, I sneak out of the bedroom and read or do the NYT crossword until he wakes up. Then we have breakfast together (though I usually have a pre-breakfast snack first). It works quite well for us. :)

    • Lynn says...

      I go to bed around 10 or 11. My husband’s job requires him to work until 2-3am (he works from home). I also get “tucked in.” We chat about loose ends and things we want to do the following day. It’s a nice way to end the day. Then he goes back to work and I go to sleep. I’m a super light sleeper, but after years of this I rarely stir now when he comes to bed.

    • Leah says...

      Haha – ok this is funny. I thought I was the only one who’s partner tucks me in. We always joke about it; but now if he is working late or not home I find it weird just going to bed without anyone saying goodnight to me!

    • Yulia says...

      I get tucked in too! Same routine, more or less. :)

      If you don’t get tucked in, no problem. Perhaps create a transition where you somewhat formally go to bed? Tell him goodnight, hug or kiss, remind him to be quiet in the house, then off you go–dream land!

      (But really, what makes falling asleep while my partner is awake is that it’s less distracting. Less movement in the bed, no noises, no iPhone light, etc. I find it so peaceful, and honestly the tuck-in just a bonus. Totally not necessary to the joy of having the bedroom to myself.)

    • Dawn says...

      I’m always ready for sleep before my husband. We started a new ritual where we get in bed in the semi-darkness and turn on an audiobook that we are both excited to listen to. I drift off after 15 minutes or so. My husband (who insists he’s not tired) will fall asleep with me 8 times out of 10. But if he doesn’t fall asleep he can get up after we’ve listened to our story and move around without disturbing me as I’m already asleep.

  56. Kate says...

    I’ve always been a morning person, but what I’ve come to appreciate as I’ve gotten older is just how luxurious that extra morning time makes me feel! Being up and showered and dressed and make-up’d and then ALSO having the time to sit outside and drink my coffee and read my book for a little bit before heading to work makes for a truly better and relaxed day.

  57. Anni says...

    I became a morning person 6 years ago when my daughter was born :) She and her 4 year old brother have aome kind of body alarm clock – they wake up every single day at 6, no matter when they got in bed or how tired they were. So, I will not lie, playing card games at 6 on a sunday is not my wildest dream. But having their cute, excited, ready for the day, faces around me certainly helps :)
    And going to bed no later than 10.30!

  58. Mullica says...

    Since moving in with my fiance, I have developed a habit of going to bed around 10pm because he likes to go to bed at 10pm. As a result, I’ve also started waking up earlier. I like how it lets me ease into the day. In the winter time, we have a smart lightbulb in our bedroom that goes on the same time as the alarm which helps fake the early summer sunrises.

    • Jen says...

      What’s the name/brand of this lightbulb? That could be just what I need!

  59. Becca says...

    I got the Phillips alarm clock that mimics sunrise and it’s amazing! I’ve gotten up and worked out every day since I’ve gotten it – magic. And it’s not horrible to get up, the light really does wake you up in a deep, circadian way that is real, not forced. I do worry about the winter but as you said, one day at a time.

    • Brooke says...

      I love this alarm clock! It’s especially helpful in the winter. I wake up with bird sounds and its the best!

    • Leah Krafft says...

      Can’t say enough good things about the light up alarm clocks. I live in Alaska where the winters are VERY dark in the morning. This clock saves me!

    • Inge says...

      I bought one too, it works like a charm! But it’s a bit annoying too because my husband sometimes has to wake up earlier then me. He has one too. Still trying to find a solution for that. At the moment, since it’s summer, he doesn’t use the sunshine option, just the radio.

  60. Becky says...

    My dog loves to wake up every morning before my alarm. Sometimes 30 mins before my 515 or 6 am alarm(depending on the day), sometimes hours prior to my obnoxious ring. In my eyes she can do no wrong lol so I walk her back to bed and tuck her in.
    This challenge has been just that, a challenge. I was on a bit of a good streak then I came down with a sinus infection. Couldn’t pick up my bowling ball of a head so now that I’m better I’m starting over. Oh well that’s why there is always tomorrow, for a fresh start.

  61. Once I’m out of bed I’m all “being a morning person is the best!” I love the cool breezes, the birds chirping, the slow start with coffee in hand, etc. But those initial minutes of leaving the cozy, warm bed is a STRUGGLE.
    xox
    Allie

  62. Lisa says...

    I’ve ended up having to get up early in the morning, through no choice of my own (baby who’s a morning person + no blackout blinds). What I found helped was putting my coffee ready to be made the night before, so all I have to do is turn on the stove. I can manage that uncaffeinated (making it from scratch is way more of a struggle). I agree with the other commenter that you feel like you’ve achieved a lot, much earlier.

  63. Agnes says...

    I wanted to be a morning person, and to get up at 6am.. now I do and I love it!! I do have to get in bed by 10pm though, to make this work. If I get up, straight into the shower, breakfast and to work, by the time I get to work I am actually still half-asleep and full of pent-up emotion. So this way, I have a full 1.25 hours to pray, sing, and read. By the time I get to work I’m fully awake, all the extra thoughts and emotion are processed through prayer and I’m clear and ready to get to work. I’m also grieving right now and this time is absolutely essential to my wellbeing, even on weekends. It will only happen if I get to bed early and get up early.

  64. Noelle says...

    I’ve been forced into becoming a morning person in the last month or so, because I’m training for a marathon and this summer has been a little bit brutal – early mornings have been the only bearable times to run. However, I love going about my day knowing I don’t still have to squeeze in a run at some point. Still working on getting to bed at a decent time though…need to find a bedtime reminder like that for Android!

  65. Anu says...

    I finished reading the book Miracle Morning last week and I’m now trying to put it into practice. The book recommends spending an hour in the morning following a S.A.V.E.R.S. practice. Stands for Silence (meditation), Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading and Scribing (journaling). I’m hoping that starting off my day mindfully will help me focus on my day better and fit in meditation and exercise in my day.

  66. Carrie says...

    I love when I’m able to wake up early! I actually wear makeup on those days, and I always feel more confident for it! Going to bed early is the most critical piece of the “morning person” puzzle- if I don’t get to bed by 9:30-10, it’s almost a guarantee that I won’t be able to wake up early.

    And big ups to magnesium (magnesium l-threonate), essential oils, and the bed time function on iphone!

  67. Diana says...

    I always love reading these “How To Become A Morning Person” articles. Putting into action is another story.

  68. kate says...

    Get thee a Phillips sunlit simulator alarm/lamp pronto! It’s a miracle worker for my husband. It’s great that you are forced to wake up with the sun now, but you’ll need something to simulate that come fall/winter. It is honestly one of the best items we have ever bought.

  69. kate hart finnigan says...

    I had a kid. That’s how I got ‘used to’ waking up at 5:30am every single morning…waaaa but my husband and I have often remarked how accomplished we feel by noon compared to before baby when we would barely leave the house by noon on weekends..I take comfort knowing the world is alive in the wee hours and you have to get out there and make the most of it.

    • Carrie says...

      I live near an interstate and I also find comfort in hearing the cars, knowing people are out and about- life is happening, even in the early morning :)

    • Sara says...

      We just took our young kids to breakfast at 9:00 Saturday and I was worried there would be a wait. We got in right away, which made me feel kind of old :) I don’t even remember sleeping past 7.

  70. Britt says...

    I do not understand the magic that is the Natural Calm magnesium supplement you linked to, but it is incredible. I originally got some for my annoying leg cramps, and found it helped me sleep through the night like nothing ever in my life.

    I mean…it’s just magnesium?! But it’s sorcery. I highly recommend people try it before ever seeking out a sleep rx.

  71. Sheena says...

    Good for you! When the days start to shorten, I highly recommend the alarm clocks that simulate the sun rising. I am not a natural morning person and am going on 10 months strong! I believe the change is due to switching to a new clock that acts like the sun rising. It’s a gentle awakening and now I get up at 5am everyday.

    I live above the 60th parallel, so deal with darkness a good portion of the year (almost 24hrs of darkness in December), and I feel like this alarm clock has also helped me battle my SAD. I can’t say enough good things about it- that’s my plug!

    This is the exact one I have and it’s Amazon prime days so…
    https://www.amazon.ca/INLIFE-Sunrise-Simulation-Control-Charger/dp/B01MQVJ8IE/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1531847691&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=light+alarm+clock&psc=1

    • Julie says...

      I was just looking at this one on another website since its SO much cheaper than the Phillips one – it’s reassuring to know from a ~real human~ that it works just as well! Currently the middle of winter where I am and its a struggle to get up before the sun rises at 7.30am.