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5 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming a Morning Person

We all know the feeling: you’re in the middle of a deep, wonderful sleep when suddenly the world’s most annoying blaring startles you awake. Eyes still closed, you fumble with your phone until the alarm finally shuts up. Peaceful at last, you fall back into a blissful sleep. . . until the horrific process repeats itself ten minutes later, and ten minutes after that, until you’ve gone and slept the morning away. 

This has been the story of my life and chances are, if you’re reading this article, you can relate. I have a weird relationship with my sleep schedule, because I am a night owl through-and-through and despise getting up early, but I also hate sleeping past nine or ten in the morning. The result of this unfortunate combination is that I’m constantly functioning on a less-than-optimal amount of sleep because I don’t want to miss out on the night or the day. 

However, with the start of the new year and the new semester, I decided it was time for some new habits as well. I’m slowly trying to transition into becoming a morning person, because I truly feel like it will be better for my mental and physical health, especially in the time of a global pandemic when I technically have the opportunity to just sleep all day, every day. I’m someone who thrives on having a schedule and daily tasks or I feel lost and unproductive, so I implemented a new schedule into my life that starts at 7:33am. These five tips are how I’m slowly but surely tricking myself into becoming a morning person.

Set two or three alarms, but actually get up after the last one

I’ve always been someone who has to set a bunch of alarms before I go to bed each night, alarms that are ten, five or even two minutes apart. While I recognize that this is bordering on insanity, I also feel like those power-sleeps between alarms are the best sleep I get, and the thought of missing out on those two minutes of bliss by getting up at my very first alarm is something I just can’t fathom. As a compromise, I allow myself three alarms each morning: 7:20, 7:30 and 7:33. That way when I hear my first alarm, I know I have another ten minutes of beauty sleep, and then when that alarm is still too soon, I grant myself three more minutes so that I have no excuse for not getting up. While these little blips of sleep go way too fast, I wouldn’t give them up for anything. Just make sure that you hold yourself accountable for getting up after that last one, because it can be a very slippery slope if you don’t set a clear time to actually get up.

Enlist one of your roommates to embark on your early-morning journey with you

This step, if possible in your living situation, is crucial for three reasons. One, if you’re trying to get up at such an ungodly hour, the very last thing that’s going to motivate you to get up is seeing your roommate enjoying their sleep. Two, you can hold each other accountable for actually doing all the things you’ve told yourself you’re going to do. It’s one thing to set a lofty goal of getting up early the next morning, but it’s quite another thing to actually do it. And three, if your roommate isn’t on board with voluntarily getting up early with you, they’re probably not going to be thrilled when your alarms are going off in quick succession and they’re woken up early anyways. Better to get them in on your plan so that they don’t end up resenting you for disrupting their sleep every morning—just saying. 

Exercise first thing in the morning

One of the reasons it’s always been so hard for me to get up in the morning is because I would roll out of bed and go right to class. Well, correction: lay in bed, check my phone, go to class. Thinking about the looming responsibilities of the school day ahead were not necessarily the most stimulating thoughts to get myself out of bed, and mindlessly scrolling through social media certainly didn’t help. By establishing a routine of getting up and exercising, you’re thinking about something other than school and distracting yourself from your phone for a bit. While the thought of working out may offer its own dreads, it feels so good when you sit down for class and have already accomplished something!

My roommate and I have been going to the gym every weekday morning for our workouts. While I know many people don’t think the gym is for them, I recommend at least checking it out. Believe me, I was intimidated at first too, but now I appreciate working out around other people. It holds me accountable in my own routines and also helps remind me that I’m not the only one forcing myself to wake up early. Your workout doesn’t have to be particularly intense, especially if you have morning classes that offer a time constraint. My go-to is a mile run, ten minutes of core and abs and five minutes of stretching. On days where we have some extra time, we’ve done some additional workouts, such as lifting or the 12-30-3 TikTok treadmill trend. If you need some mid-workout motivation, just remember: the harder you work, the sooner you get to leave!

I’ve found that exercising every morning makes me feel more productive not just during the morning, but for the rest of the day. I have a clearer mind and I can feel good about myself even if I don’t end up leaving my apartment for the rest of the day. It also exhausts me as the day progresses, so it’s easier for me to go to bed earlier. 

Treat yourself once a week (at least!) as motivation

A little Starbucks never hurt nobody—especially after working out! My current routine with my roommate is that we stop by Starbucks after leaving the gym every Tuesday. While Tuesday may seem like a random day, I find that Tuesdays are when I need the most motivation. Mondays are hard to get up, don’t get me wrong, but I know that I’ve had two days of rest. While Fridays seem like the obvious choice for a day to treat yourself, Friday also seems lightyears away when you’re waking up on Monday morning. It’s extremely difficult for me to wake up on Tuesdays, but it’s a lot easier when I remember that I have an iced chai waiting for me after my workout. You deserve to treat yourself at least once a week for all the hard work (physical and mental) that it takes to drag yourself out of bed so early. 

Be productive with the time you have during the day so you can end the night with some relaxation

It was a crazy concept to me that when I woke up early, I had more time to do homework during the day. That way, I wasn’t stuck working on school until past midnight every night. Now that I’ve adjusted my schedule, I have more time and motivation earlier in the day, which allows me to have a more relaxed night. I try to stop schoolwork by ten so that I can watch a 45-minute TV show and read a book for fun before finally falling asleep around 12. Not only does this give me something to look forward to during the day, but it makes the thought of having to wake up and do it all again the next day a little more bearable.

As you can see, becoming a morning person isn’t necessarily all about enjoying waking up early. The secret to waking up early is simply not focusing on that time your alarm is set for, but instead focusing on all the positives that come along with resisting the snooze button.

Abby Synnes

Wisconsin '23

Abby is a junior at UW-Madison studying English and Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is an enthusiast of good books, Taylor Swift, and chai lattes.
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