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As a fourth-year undergraduate student, I have had a range of schedules each semester that vary in terms of morning, afternoon and night classes. After only having classes between 11 am and 8 pm the past two years, I have become accustomed to being my most productive at night and recently decided that I want to change my schedule to become a morning person. Even from a young age, I have been a night owl so I created some steps and strategies to make this transition successful. Several methods I included in this goal are forming a nighttime routine, developing a morning routine, improving sleep and eating dinner earlier. 

My first step is to go to bed earlier so I wake up well-rested and prepared for the day. As someone who always falls asleep between 12:30-2am, going to sleep before 11 pm was a big change. Since I did not make this a gradual process, I started this new habit on a day that I had to get up at 6 am so I would be tired enough to go to bed two hours earlier than usual. 

In creating nighttime and morning routines, I wanted to include motivating factors that would encourage me to maintain this schedule. I am a very routine driven person so I keep daily tasks but also include “fun” tasks that are different every day. At night, I add alternate relaxing tasks such as cooking a favorite dinner, doing extra skincare or FaceTiming my parents or friends. The daily tasks I implemented include working out, writing down my goals for the next day and reading for 20-30 minutes before going to bed.

In the morning, I set my phone alarm across the room to force myself to get up quickly and then I completed a 10-minute beginner yoga tutorial on YouTube. After this, I get ready for the day and fix myself coffee and breakfast to eat as I review my plan for the day and check my email. I genuinely enjoy being productive and checking off items on my to-do list earlier in the day, so that I have free time at night to relax. 

My next step is to improve my sleep habits, so I stopped drinking caffeine after 2 pm and I started using a white noise machine. The 20-30 minutes of reading before bed forces me to relax and makes me fall asleep faster. I do not ever take naps during the day but if you do, I would recommend not taking naps if you want to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. 

I was surprised to find that the most difficult step for me was eating dinner earlier. Since I have class and meetings Monday through Thursday from about 5 to 8:30 pm, I wanted to eat dinner before class but 4 pm seemed so early. I realized I needed to change all of my meal schedules to fix my dinner schedule, so I began eating breakfast earlier (even when I wasn’t hungry yet), having lunch before my 1 pm class, and then eating dinner around 4:30 pm and having a snack after class. After meal planning and finding quick dinners, this strategy became easier and now I am really happy with my schedule and routines. 

I was very excited to shift my schedule to become a morning person because it makes me feel less stressed and anxious to complete my to-do list in the morning rather than the evening. I have wanted to fix my sleep schedule for the longest time and implementing each of these strategies made me feel really happy and motivated to do it.

Leah is currently an Honors student at UMKC studying Criminal Justice and Psychology. In her free time she enjoys reading books about court cases and painting commission pieces. She is passionate about advocacy, self care, and human rights.
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