I am a morning person. Even if I don’t always love getting up early, I love having time to myself to go for a run, get started on some work or knock out those little tasks that I let build up. Doing so makes me feel productive early on and sets my mood for the rest of the day. Some of these early mornings are entirely by choice, but many come out of necessity as well. On most weekdays, I’m up between five and seven, depending on my class, work and running schedules.
As someone who spent her entire summer waking up by five in the morning to squeeze in cross country workouts before getting to my internship by seven-thirty, I consider myself a decently reliable source on anything pre-sunrise. So, whether you’re struggling to make it out of bed in time for class or just want to have a more pleasant and productive morning experience, here are seven tips to help you become the best morning gal you can be.
Set Out Your Outfit
In taking some notes from James Clear’s “Atomic Habits,” which I highly recommend by the way, it is critical that you make a desired habit as easy as you possibly can. If waking up early is going to feel like you are dragging bricks out of bed, then you will use anything you can as an excuse to stay in bed. If your outfit is all ready to go, that’s just one less thing you need to worry about in the morning. For those who like to work out in the morning, make sure to grab your socks and shoes too. Bonus points if you set out a second outfit for the rest of the day!
Set Your Alarm on the Other Side of the Room
While this is a habit my mom always told me about as a kid, I only started placing my alarm—currently my iPhone—far away from my bed as a college student out of necessity, since I don’t have a bedside table. This forces me to physically get out of bed if I want to turn it off. Do I sometimes get out of bed, turn off my alarm and then return to bed with my phone in hand? Possibly. But if I’m properly rested and at least somewhat looking forward to my day, popping out of bed to turn off that alarm isn’t so bad. Another alarm option is a sunrise-mimicking clock, like the Hatch Restore, which slowly lights up as your alarm time approaches for a gentler wake up. This is something I’d love to try but haven’t yet since I currently share a bedroom at home and at school.
Leave the Blinds Open
Okay, this is going to be controversial, but hear me out. Blackout curtains may be all the rage, but when my alarm went off at 5 a.m. this summer and I opened my eyes, I genuinely could not see a single thing. I had to blindly walk across my cluttered room and grapple around in search of my phone for some light, and that was if I could get myself out of bed. I realized that if I left one blind open, it was still dark enough at night for me to fall asleep, thanks to the benefits of being back in suburbia and away from city lights. In the mornings, I was often up before sunrise, but there was still enough light coming in from outside that I had a much easier (and safer) time getting up when I needed to. If sleeping with a curtain drawn or blinds cracked doesn’t keep you from falling asleep, this is my biggest piece of advice.
Get Enough Sleep
This might be the hardest, but it is also the most important. The typical college student should be getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, but 8 hours is even better. Work backwards when you plan your schedule: if your goal is a 6 a.m. wake-up, then your bedtime should be 10 p.m. From there, you can figure out when to start winding down, take your shower and do your favorite night time rituals.
Add an Extra 15 Minutes to your Morning Schedule
I have a habit of planning out my days to the minute. A five mile run plus stretches? 50 minutes. Breakfast? Ten minutes should be enough. Shower? If I’m on track, then I should be done in eight minutes, but I can make it work in three when I’m in a rush. To maximize my sleep, I used to wake up as late as I could to take care of all my morning habits before my first “official” task. This usually led to a more stressful morning as I would rush to work or class with seconds to spare. To make your entire morning more enjoyable and relaxing, build in some buffer time so you can spend an extra couple of minutes doing your hair or talking to your roommate without feeling overwhelmed.
Do Something You Enjoy
Getting up early because you have math class at eight in the morning? Not fun. Getting up early because you get to go for a walk, read a book or try a new recipe? A little more fun. Planning at least one thing that you look forward to in the morning, whether it be for the first five minutes or the first two hours, will make it so much easier to get up. After all, if you’re trying to become a morning person, you should love your mornings!
Make a Deal with Yourself
A lesson I learned from babysitting: when all else fails, bribery is still an option. If getting out of bed in the morning feels daunting, try making a deal with yourself. For example, if you’re up early each morning of the school week, on Friday morning, treat yourself to a fancy smoothie from the new cafe. If you read your book every morning like you promised yourself, spend the next weekend at your favorite bookstore or library picking out something new. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself, especially if it complements the habit you are trying to build!
The first few hours of your day have the power to shape your mood and mindset for the day to come. Starting your day off on the right side of the bed can have a ripple effect hours later. Your mornings don’t have to be TikTok perfect with an hour-long self care routine, but establishing a routine that will benefit you by enhancing your schedule and giving you some stability is a great place to start. No matter what you want to make of your mornings, try to implement a tip or two from the list above, and get ready to smash those A.M. goals.