Becoming a morning person is potentially one of the most positive things you can do for your daily routine whilst in college. Like it or not, 9am classes are very real, as is the notion of attendance being taken. There’s nothing worse than snoozing as long as possible, then rushing to work or college with that stressful, ‘I’ve got nothing done’ feeling hanging over you. So since you have to awake at that hour anyway, you may as well be productive (and hey, think of the fab early morning sunrise pics that you’ll have for Instagram)
Having a plan for how you’re going to spend your time is pretty important. Thinking that it’d be nice to have some extra time to maybe go to the gym or maybe pull out all the stops and make yourself an awesome breakfast won’t cut it. You need to build in a goal that you want to achieve – and it’s even better if it’s something that you have to be accountable to other people for. For example, if you and a friend decide to go to the gym together at 7.00am, you’ll be letting the other person down if you don’t show up. It doesn’t have to be all about fitness, either. If you’re seriously stressed about a certain module, ask someone in your class if they want to make a study group. Having your readings done or problem sets written out before class, and have someone to go over things with? Grades = saved.
There’s two parts to becoming a morning person – going to bed earlier and getting up earlier – and one won’t work without the other.
Going to bed earlier
We’ve all heard the ‘don’t look at screens an hour before bedtime’ bit. That’s not always practical advice. But you can definitely work at not looking at your phone for at least 15 minutes before you hit the hay. Scrolling through a boring newsfeed does not count as evening reading.
Which brings us to the next point – read before bed. Studies have shown that it can improve your general cognitive function, help improve mental health, lower your cortisol levels (stress levels) and just generally be relaxing.
When you are setting your alarm, put it somewhere across the room. You’ll be forced to get up to avoid waking the whole house, and it’s easier to make yourself leave your bedroom if you’re already up.
If motivation is still a problem, and exercise is your goal, wear your workout clothes to bed. Waking up already in your yoga pants / shorts will make it way easier to just get up and go, since you’re part-way ready.
Getting up earlier
If you normally get up at 8am, don’t set tomorrow’s alarm for 6am. A good idea is to set your alarm 10 or 15 minutes earlier than you normally get up, and as you avoid the snooze button day by day, keep pushing it back until you reach your goal time. If you’re finding it really tough, you can decide that you’ll only attempt 2 or 3 days a week of getting up early and see how that goes. Baby steps.
Have a little ritual, make your porridge and your coffee, or wash your face – knowing what you’re going to do first means you can just do it without thinking. The more decisions you can take out of the equation, the less likely that your willpower will be sapped. Listening to music while you’re going about your business will also keep you pumped.
As previously mentioned, making plans with a friend makes the whole thing a lot easier. Organize to text each other ten minutes after you wake up so you can keep each other on track in your plans to take over the world – one early morning at a time.
- Sinéad Slattery, Features Editor
This article originally appeared in Volume 29, Issue 9. Published February 29th 2016.