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Night owl to an early bird 5 easy steps!
I’m a night owl, I was a practising night owl up until recently, until I discovered the delights of being an early bird.
I don’t know if it’s age-related, but I noticed that recently I was struggling to do all the things I had been doing late into the night for as long as I could remember. Catching up on my to-do list, a bit of cleaning, and organising for the next day, you get the drift.
But I still needed that time, I’m getting busier, but the hours of my day were getting shorter due to me needing to get to bed a little earlier.
I used to go to bed around 1.30am to 2am and get up around 7am. This seemed reasonably easy to deal with for many years.
As I said I began to struggle a little and started going to bed around midnight and I really felt the loss of those two-ish hours.
So, I spent some time researching about sleep routines and patterns and decided to change a habit of a lifetime and try to become an early bird.
I resisted for quite a while! Proclaiming I was physically unable to go to bed any earlier than midnight and just couldn’t possibly get up before 7am! Good grief that was the middle of the night as it was!
Below are 5 things that helped me change from a night owl into an early bird. I guess I’ll always be a night owl at heart. However, I really love my early mornings, the peace and quiet, the fact I’m wide awake and raring to go. I might not be able to fully convince you, it took me quite a while to come to terms with the change, but these things really did help.
You Need a Why?
Honestly, it becomes so much easier, if getting up early is really not your thing, to have a good reason for it.
A reason that when that alarm goes off, doesn’t make you hit snooze, it makes you open your eyes and WANT to get out of bed it’s something, that is going to make you ever so slightly excited.
If you’re like me, when you first hear that alarm, you’re not fully awake and able to think of anything, stick a little notice on your bedside table, somewhere you will see it when you reach for the alarm. My notice says “smash your goals” that phrase reminds me of everything I’m excited about doing right now in my life, everything I’m working towards.
Find a friend
If you are really struggling, like I did (and still do a little bit) find an “early bird friend”. I use my husband, he’s a light sleeper, and already an early bird, he tends to get up with me and we both do our separate things for an hour or so, as we wake up fully, that hour is our individual “me time”.
If he hears the alarm go off, and I don’t sit straight up, he will give me a gentle nudge and tell me to get my ass out of bed!
If your single or live on your own have you got a friend or family member you could buddy up with, or who already rises early that you can check in with, a little text to say I’m up, are you? Or vice-versa. Or if things are really bad you could arrange to Facetime each other, to prove you’re actually out of bed and up and moving! The thought of having to Facetime someone first thing in the morning would be enough to get my bum out of bed, and get washed, dressed and makeup on! Hehe, but I guess it depends on who your Facetiming!
Get to bed a little earlier.
I’m actually giggling writing this step, as this is the step I always rolled my eyes at when I read other people’s posts.
I used to think well if I could get to bed any earlier than I wouldn’t have such a problem. Or I don’t want to go to bed any earlier.
Trust me on this one, this step is actually really important and not as difficult as it sounds.
Most adults need around 8 hours of sleep every night. That’s a rough guide some people need more, some less. The NHS website explains it not really the length of sleep that has the biggest benefits it’s the quality of the sleep.
One more little tip I’ve learnt from my own research is consistency is key. Having the same bedtime and wake up time really helps, even a weekend! Of course, you can treat yourself once in a while and have a lie in, or the odd late night. But on the whole, you need to stick with the same times daily to feel the most benefit.
My current routine gets me going to bed for between 10.30pm and 11pm, I read for half an hour and I’m normally asleep by 11.30pm at the very latest. This gives me between 6 and 7 hours sleep each night as I tend to get up between 6 and 7 hours sleep each night.
I try to stay consistent within half an hour; and as I’ve been doing this for around 8 months now, I can honestly say I’m very happy with everything. I put that down to spending some time 8 months ago, researching and planning, what things I needed to do. I experimented with how much sleep I needed, and what was the best time to get up in the morning.
I am planning on moving my wake up time to 5am every morning, at some point, as I could really use that extra hour in a morning. When that happens I’ll make sure I’m in bed for 10pm every night and asleep by 10.30am as I know I need 6 hours sleep each night.
When I start this new morning routine ill pop on and let you know how it goes.
Have an evening and morning routine.
I need routine in my life now to control my anxiety. I’m not talking about a routine like an army, there is room for changes and spontaneity.
I’m talking about a rough plan you stick to each evening and morning that makes your life easier.
I also fought this step, I believed that having routines was for super organised people, people who were not like me!
Then I realised after some research the benefits of having a routine, especially once my son arrived, they are imperative for him. It also turns out, that having a routine is exactly what you want it to be. You can do it exactly as you want to fit your particular situation. I’m a convert!
Don’t hit snooze.
I know, it’s so tempting, but I just can’t figure out why snooze was even invented, it’s almost like an invitation to stay in bed over the time you need to get up, which for me is just so dangerous.
I have in the past hit snooze and fell back into a really deep sleep and then slept over the time I should be heading out the door!
I’m sure if your disciplined and only hit it once then your up and at `em, or the snooze goes off and you use it as a way to wake up gently, I get the ideas behind it, I just can’t use it, I set an alarm for the time I want to get up and if I’m not up within a minute; I get a nudge of my husband to get out of bed. I have to get straight up, still to this day, otherwise, I’m right back into dreamland!
If you’re like me just don’t do it, it’s not worth spoiling your whole routine just for the sake of 10 minutes in bed!
These 5 points are the main points I took on board when I started to make my change from night owl to early bird.
Here’s are some extra short pointers that I think are worth a mention.
- Decide if your going to do this cold turkey or gradually. I went cold turkey and suffered for one day. I just went from getting up at 7.15/30am to getting up at 6am, just like that all in one night. I’m not someone who can gradually do something, unfortunately, I want results right away, rightly or wrongly, it’s a personal thing and only you know what is best for you.
- If you struggle with your earlier bedtime there’s a number of things you can do to settle. Have a bath before bed with some lovely smelly bubbles and bath bombs.
- Put essential oil drops (the right ones from the health shop) on your pillowcase, or on a tissue inside your pillowcase.
- Make sure your bedroom is at the right temperature
- Read a book, not your phone, it’s true that the light it emits tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime and wakes you up.
I quite confident though, if you have experimented and learnt what your ideal length of sleep is, once you’ve done the first few nights and days, you should, hopefully, settle into your new routine happily.
You do need to watch out. If you have an extra busy day you may find yourself more sleepy than normal. Or the other way round, should you unexpectedly have a day where you don’t do as much as you normally would you might find yourself not quite as tired as normal, try to adjust, only slightly maybe go to bed an hour earlier, but only stay up later by half an hour, to even out the type of day you’ve had.
If going from a night owl to an early bird is your goal, here is a post I wrote about 6 things you can do before 8am to help you be more organised.
What’s your current habit? Are you a night owl or an early bird?
In the fairness of balance, I’ve included this article from “Inspiyr” a magazine style site that gives tips on becoming your best self. I found the information in the article really interesting, it outlines the benefits of being a night owl. So if you are a night owl with no real need to become an early bird, this article might be of interest. Night Owl Benefits
I’d love to know what you decide to do and how you do it. Leave me a comment and let me know if you’re making changes and how you decide to go about them, I’m genuinely interested.