Original question from Quora:

How do I become a morning person?

Admittedly, I am not a morning person. Classic mercurial, night owl. But I’d like to be a morning person and more and more, need to be a morning person. Tips, tricks, hacks and wisdom from those that have successfully made the transition appreciated.

My Answer:

I by default am a night owl, but I go through spurts of being a morning person. Every time, there is the same weird trigger that makes me a morning person.

This is how it always happens…

What happens is every once in a while I get really tired early in the evening at like 7 or 8 at night. So, I’ll fall asleep at like 8 or 9 at night, instead of my usual 11 or later bedtime.

The next morning, I’ll wake up at like 5 or 6 am. Then I’m ready to start the day. It’s as if the entire day shifts forward a 2-3 hours.

This is a fantastic time to start the day and I get get a lot of fantastic creative work done. It’s great.

What’s weird is once I get in this cycle, I can go weeks where I am up at 5 or 6 am every day. Seemingly, nothing causes this massive shift other than a random earlier bedtime.

Which brings me to what is a make or break for staying a morning person. If you want to be a morning person, you need to go to bed early. There is no way around this.

For me, that means to stick to being a morning person, I need to be in bed by 9 and asleep by 10. If I don’t keep that routine, I won’t wake up early enough.

I’m not a doctor, but it seems like my body requires say 7-8 hours of sleep a night to function well. So, if I am going to wake up at 5 am, 10pm is when I must go to bed.

This kind of schedule is probably easier to keep if you are single or live alone. If you have a spouse or kids with a different sleep schedule your mileage may vary.

I would love to keep this schedule, but unfortunately I get periodic insomnia or other things happen to throw off my sleep schedule. Once it’s thrown off, it can be tricky to get back on the horse.

One hack I have found, is forcing myself to just lay down at 8 or 9 at night in the dark with no music, books, etc. to distract me and hope that I just fall asleep. It doesn’t always work, but it’s probably the most reliable way to force the habit to continue if I don’t have a natural trigger to go to sleep early.

If you can start a good morning routine, it really does give you a great opportunity to create, exercise, or do some other useful habit that will make the rest of your day better.

-Brian

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