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Mornings and I have never been best friends. Waking up to the shriek of my 8:30am alarm–only to snooze it at least two more times whilst convincing myself it’ll only take me 10 minutes to get dressed, brush my teeth, do my makeup, and get to class on time–is all too familiar to me. This was pretty much how my mornings typically looked like every day of my freshman year. 

In light of all the “quarantine glow-ups” trending on social media this summer, I decided I wanted a lifestyle “glow-up.” I was finally tired of the groggy, zombie-like mornings that loomed over me during the day like a nasty hangover. Thus began my attempt at becoming a self-proclaimed early riser. I knew that it was unrealistic for me to change my lifestyle in 24 hours, so my first steps were small. I started off by decrementing the time I go to bed by 15 minutes each day: on day one I went to bed at 11:45pm, day two 11:30pm, day three 11:15pm. However, I quickly realized by day three how difficult it was for me to be consistent with this system. After some adjustments, I finally ritualized my early mornings, and here’s how I did it:

Set Small Goals and Practice Consistency

Instead of keeping up with the demanding sleep schedule, I decided to think about something to look forward to the next morning. Once I started thinking about how I could use mornings to enhance my mind, body and life, I discovered how much potential lies in mornings. I grew into the habit setting goals for the next day and writing down one thing I’d want to accomplish the following morning that would help me achieve those goals: whether it was completing a quick 10 minute Chloe Ting workout to tone my abs, cracking open the first chapter of a book I’d been meaning to read since the tenth grade, or simply making a healthy breakfast smoothie–the possible permutations are endless! Setting achievable goals to look forward to and personalizing a consistent routine the night before is one tip that definitely helped me reshape my habits. 

Avoid Browsing Your Phone Before Going to Bed

One of the major factors keeping me up at night is my tendency to scroll through Instagram in bed before I sleep. After a long day, I want some time for myself and scrolling through reels (lol) became my most convenient way to unwind. But we all know that after we exhaust our feed and hit the explore page, there’s no way telling how deep the tunnel down the bunny hole is anymore. My phone consumed hours of my precious REM sleep, and almost always resulted in me sleeping in the next morning. Luckily, I contrived a method to steer myself away from my phone at night, and that was to merely relocate my charger from my room to the living room. That way, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the luxury of having my phone charger at my disposal at 12am when my phone is about to die. 

Keep Your Shades Open

When it’s dark, your body is told it’s time to sleep. With your blinds or curtains shut, you’re probably more likely to feel inclined to stay in bed, which will contribute to those groggy mornings even after you get out of bed. It turned out that natural lighting made a significant difference for me! The rays of sun that slowly seeped in through my blinds allowed me to start waking up naturally between 7:30 and 8:30. The beauty of this is that I stopped relying on my annoying alarm clock and, surprisingly, even felt more well-rested than ever before. It’s interesting to see how reliant we are to technology and even more interesting to realize how small changes in your life is enough to change your lifestyle for the better.

As much as I advocate the merits of the early hours, never forget to listen to your own body–we all have late nights, and if that warrants a sleepy morning the next day, you deserve to sleep in. Hopefully these tips inspire you, just as they inspired me, to put an end to waking up 5 minutes before my 9am Zoom lecture!

Liya is a sophomore at Colby College from New Jersey majoring in Econ-Finance, minoring in Cinema Studies and East Asian Studies. Besides writing for HC, she's involved in Colby Consulting Group, Finance Committee, Asian Students Association, and The Pequod. You will likely spot her people-watching with her friends in the Spa or napping on Miller Lawn in 60 degrees weather! Currently, her latest obsession is a cuppa' oat-milk iced matcha latte :)
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