Routine neat, smart applications, full meals and a lot of proteins, but lots of determination –
whatever it takes to transform a night owl tired in an energized person. Ready for the
Always you suspect that if you can be able to wake up with an hour or two earlier each
morning, your day would be different? Had you always believed the cliché who claims ‘the
early bird gets the worm’? It turns out you’re right.
Christoph Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg,
Germany, found that morning people are often more successful than evening people
because, as a group, they tend to be proactive. A recent survey conducted by The Guardian
confirms this idea, reporting that many CEOs of successful companies are up by 5 a.m.
But what if you’re more of a night owl than a morning lark – is it possible to change your
ways? Yes, but it will take work, says Dr. W. Christopher Winter, Medical Director for the
Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Canter in Charlottesville, Va. and spokesperson
for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Your genes determine what we call your
‘chronotype,’ which is if you are a morning or evening person,” says Winter. “It’s often similar
within families, but it can be influenced to a certain degree.”
Changing your chronotype takes about two weeks, but you have to stick with it. If you slack
off, you’ll drift back to your natural tendencies, Winter cautions. He offers six simple tips for
adjusting your internal clock:
1. Put yourself on a morning schedule, but don’t sweat bed time.
Wake up, exercise and eat at the same time every day, says Winter. The body likes to
anticipate what’s happening, and will settle into a routine. But don’t worry about your
bedtime: “People get hung up on setting a bedtime, but that’s a mistake because it can
cause stress,” he says. “The bedtime will sort itself out because you’ll be tired. The most
important piece is to not slack off on the wakeup time.”
Winter says the problem occurs when you drift back to older patterns during weekends and
vacations. Sleeping in on weekends tells your body that your early morning routine is just an
arbitrary schedule and that it should stick to its chronotype. To become a morning person,
it’s important to get up early on weekends, even if you are out late the night before.
2. Use a smart alarm.
The snooze button was designed to allow people to go back to sleep for a few minutes
without re-entering a deep sleep cycle, but it can hinder your transformation into an early
riser, says Winter. “There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it, but if you want to wake up at a
certain time you’re not in a cognitive state of mind to make a decision about whether or not
to add nine more minutes of sleep,” he says. Instead, Winter likes to use a smartphone
alarm app, such as Smart Alarm or Math Alarm, that requires him to solve a math problem to
turn it off or set it to snooze. “Solving a problem makes your brain awake enough to make an
informed decision,” he says.
He also likes to use his music library to play a random song as an alarm. “You can become
callous to the same song or sound on your alarm,” he says. “Different songs will be a novel
stimulus and that can be helpful.”
3. Let in the light.
Whether it’s natural or artificial, light is significant because it tells the brain that the day has
begun and sends signals to the body to stop making melatonin, the hormone that helps
regular sleep, says Winter. “If it’s dark when you want to wake up – say 5 a.m., for example
– you can fool your brain into thinking the sun is up by using bright indoor lights,” he says.
4. Get some exercise.
Winter says exercising first thing in the morning helps wake up the body. Researchers at
Appalachian State University found that morning exercise lowers your blood pressure,
reduces stress and anxiety, and helps you sleep better at night. Winter says exercising in
bright light is best. He suggests going for a morning bike ride or jog, or taking the dog for a
5. Have a protein-heavy meal.
Skip the bagel and go for eggs or yogurt, says Winter. Protein facilitates wakefulness, he
says, while carbohydrates promote sleep. “Protein increases your dopamine levels, which
help make you ready for the day.”
6. Avoid the urge to nap.
Winter says falling asleep earlier may be difficult in the first few days, and you may have a
strong urge to nap, but you should fight it. “Capitalize on sleepiness as a way to go to bed
earlier,” he says. “If you nap, you’ll destroy your natural stimulus for sleep.”
The post is based on an article from the magazine Entrepreneur