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November 16, 2016

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RestAndRenew #CollectiveBias

This past year I made a concerted effort to focus on my health and wellness, and I'm so happy with what I achieved:  I lost 50 pounds, started doing yoga regularly, and swapped a lot of sweet desserts for sugar-free treats.  In addition to maintaining these changes (which hasn't always been easy), I have some new goals, like getting fit enough to join my municipality's fire department (it's volunteer run) and get a better handle on stress.  While I work on those two goals, I've also challenged myself to make a life improvement that will make reaching all of my health objectives so much easier: get more sleep!  I really want to become a morning person.   

Those days when I wake up before the rest of the world and greet the sun are my most productive and yet peaceful days.  I find that stress is somehow easier to manage on the days when I get up early and I don't have crazy sugar cravings when I get a good night's rest.  I have this feeling that maintaining a great sleep schedule through the upcoming busy season - and the long, cold winter beyond - will be key to dealing with stress and making sure my other health and wellness goals are met.

I've been working on getting into a better sleep routine for awhile and I have made great strides - and a ton of life changes - but there's are a couple of stumbling block:  stress and my weird working hours.  The Universe has definitely thrown a healthy dose of stressful, seemingly insurmountable problems my way but even though I know that worrying about it won't help me, lately I've been kept up at night.  On top of that, I find that because my schedule is so flexible, I can easily slip into a terrible habit of working late at night - that's when the best ideas come to me! - which throws my entire schedule off.  When I was given an opportunity to try youtheory® Sleep Nighttime Powder, a supplement that calms the mind* and provides broad-spectrum support for occasional sleeplessness*, I was definitely intrigued.  Truthfully, I was skeptical but I was also really interested because the idea of being able to drift off into a restful sleep, even on those nights when my worries - or a million creative ideas - keep me awake, sounded like the perfect complement to all of the healthy changes I've been making.  

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

If you've struggled with being an early bird when you're really a night owl (like me), or you've experienced occasional sleeplessness, these are the tips and tricks that have worked for me so far!  This is how I'm slowly becoming a morning person...even when I'm a night owl by nature.

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

Rule # 1: Skip the Caffeinated Drinks in the Evening

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

Caffeine never used to effect m: it never perked me up in the morning (darn) or kept me awake at night.  I was bizarrely proud of the fact that I could drink three cappuccinos before bed and sleep like a baby.  But the last year or so I've noticed that now it does keep me awake at night.  Maybe it's the weight loss?  Maybe I'm just different now that I'm in my 30s?

In order to get a good night's rest, I've had to re-shape my nighttime bed routine and ditch my favorite caffeinated teas and the occasional latte for soothing herbal infusions instead.  Hubby is thrilled because his favorite tea is mint!  

Rule #2: Get Up at the Same Time Everyday

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

This is the toughest rule!  But it's worth it.

I used to set my alarm clock for eight hours after I went to bed.  During the week I'd sacrifice sleep, but on weekends I'd definitely sleep in if I got to bed late.  This varying sleep schedule just made staying up the next night easier, shifting my wake up time and wreaking havoc on my sleep.  I read somewhere that to develop a good sleep habit, it's essential to wake up at the same time every day - even on weekends, even after late nights.  I've been doing that and now sometimes I even wake up before the alarm - which is amazing!  Plus I'm finding my night owl habits are fading a little: I'm not always able to stay up for Saturday Night Live, for example.  This makes me feel old, but rested, come Sunday morning.

Rule # 3: Only Gentle Exercise in the Evening - and NO WORK

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

I have found that gentle exercise - like yoga - is lovely in the evening because it helps me relax.  Even if Hubby and I don't do yoga, I'll often pull out my mat and do gentle stretches - sometimes during a show we're watching or before I go for a bath.  But any other kind of exercise, even just rowdy activities like furiously cleaning or running around with Szuka, are off the table in the evenings because I've learned that I need peaceful projects and activities to ease myself into restfulness.  I used to be one of those nutty people who can start a project at 10pm and work all night if I need to, so I've been working to combat that nature and focusing on not winding myself up in the evening.

For this same reason, I've had to create a work cut off because I found it was too easy to sneak back into my office - especially because it's so inviting now.  Or I'd power through and work on DIY projects late at night.  You won't believe how many times we've kept the neighbors awake with the chop saw at 10pm.  Not working a normal 9-5 job facilitated weird work hours, which exacerbated my weird sleep schedule, so I've tried to put an end to that.  I still occasionally work late to finish a project, but not as often as before.

Rule # 4: Eat an Earlier Dinner

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

I used to get so engrossed in what I was doing during the afternoon and early evening, that I would forget about dinner until it was really late.  These late meals, although romantic (hello lake sunsets!) were lovely in the summer but now that it's pitch black they're just depressing.  So we've been eating earlier and earlier and it's been helping to re-set my circadian rhythm - nothing made falling asleep more difficult than a belly full of zoodles!  Plus, it's made mealtime more enjoyable because we get to enjoy the lake and the view, instead of dining in the pitch black, which is so soothing.

Rule #5: Don't Put Up with Occasional Sleeplessness

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

I used to think that there was nothing that could be done about those nights when I just couldn't fall asleep, but then I got to try youtheory® Sleep Nighttime Powder, which claims to calm the mind*, promote rapid onset of sleep*, improve the quality of sleep*, and support deep restorative sleep*.  It's a naturally flavored (lemon-lime) dietary supplement, with ingredients like magnesium and melatonin, that can be dissolved in juice or water and consumed a half hour before bedtime.  The first time I tried it, it definitely calmed my mind and waves of sleepiness washed over me - it was an incredible feeling.   I couldn't have stayed up late if I wanted to!

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

The night before a trip, I usually toss and turn and sleep about forty five minutes because I'm so worried about sleeping in and missing my flight.  To really test this sleep supplement, I took some before my flight to Toronto last week (for a family related problem).  I was a nervous wreck and so wired, but that wave of calmness washed over me and I actually slept!  Soundly!  I woke up once during the night and immediately fell back to sleep - I didn't count the minutes until I had to be at the airport, like I usually do.  I woke up feeling refreshed, despite the early hour.  I was amazed that this powder worked so effectively for me.

I love having the youtheory® Sleep Nighttime Powder in my arsenal now because it works for me and helps me stay on track when I can't sleep.  It's available online at Costco.com (you don't need a membership, although non-members are charged a 5% surcharge), which, to me, indicated right away that this is a quality product.  Hubby and I are really loyal Costco customers - we even kept our membership when we moved to a Costco-less city.  We regularly shop online and access other members benefits and services, so it's worth it for us.

Rule #6: Put the Cell Phone Away

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

My cell phone is the worst distraction and we all know that the blue light emitted from devices really messes with our sleep cycles.  I've been putting mine down and opting for a magazine or book in the evenings instead and - WOW - does that ever make a difference in how quickly I can fall asleep.  I am occasionally tempted by the siren song of Pinterest but I try to resist because putting down the cell phone definitely has a positive effect on my sleep. 

I still have some work to do, but I'm feeling happier with my sleep habits today.  I feel more rested and energized.  I'm still working on becoming the kind of person who can wake up at 6am every day without an alarm, but I'm getting there, one day (or, I guess, night) at a time.  If this is one of your goals too, check out youtheory® at Costco - and share your tips for a good night's rest in the comments because I'd love to hear them! 

6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl
6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person When You Really Want to Be a Night Owl

*These statement have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  
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10 comments

  1. Interesting post Tanya, I have occasional nights when I can't get to sleep and I just suffer through it. May give this a try.

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    1. I have never been one to take anything either, but my parents both take various supplements for sleep. Melatonin, an ingredient in this, is one of them. I definitely recommend this because it's helped me a lot. It's powered through my stress and worries and bad habits and just coaxed me into a lovely sleep.

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  2. Really interesting post -- I, too, am a night owl and, like you, find I am at my most creative in the late afternoons and evenings. After 30 years of trying to force myself to join the mainstream working day hours, I've decided to heck with it. There is no reason NOT to adhere to my preferred schedule. Why NOT stay up late? Why not get up every day at 8 AM instead of 6 AM? In fact, I now have a job that allows flexible hours -- and the freedom I feel to live the life that comes naturally to me is wonderful.

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    1. I love hearing that! You sound really happy and liberated. It's true, not everyone is benefited from a certain schedule and it's important to find the right balance.

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  3. Another fellow night owl here, with occasional sleep troubles. I absolutely relate to feeling more productive late afternoon/evening and occasionally working in a project well into the wee hours. And regularly get busy in the late afternoon and find myself without a plan for dinner. I really need to work on my sleep hygiene, too.
    I feel somewhat like Bette and agree if it doesn't interfere with anything, follow your natural schedule. However, I'd like to be more in sync with the rest of my family. When my hubby worked straight afternoons and homeschooling the kids, late mornings and bedtimes were not a problem.
    I occasionally take magnesium before bed (although often I forget)- the first couple times seemed to really work but less so after.
    Will definitely take some of your advice- I know many of these things would be helpful for me.

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    1. Yes - being in sync with the family is definitely something to consider. Hubby is up ridiculously early when he works, but he works a really weird shift and then he's at home for stretches. Getting up early for me keeps us more in sync but it's the sunlight I miss when I sleep in too much! With these shorter days, I think maximizing my daylight time is key to feeling happy. I just feel better overall when I wake up early - more energized and just content - but my brain doesn't get that memo late at night when it's in overdrive, lol.

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  4. Some great tips and a couple that I already follow. Will look into the supplement to have on hand for difficult nights. And I think you found a significant key about catching more sunlight when rising early. Thanks for sharing all this.

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    1. Happy you found these tips helpful - and it's good to hear they overlap with tips that have worked for you! Yes, I think the sunlight is key, especially with these shorter days. It really influences my happiness and productivity.

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  5. Melatonin has definitely been a game changer for me. I am not necessarily a night owl but I am a get up a million times because my brain has ideas that can't stay put until morning kind of sleeper. For the sake of my poor husband (who is a night owl but definitely would like to sleep once he does come to bed) and for me, I started taking melatonin on those nights where I know I am overly mentally active. What a difference! I am definitely going to have to try out the sleep powder.

    Now giving up the phone...THAT has been my ongoing challenge! (Who can resist cute cat pictures before bed, who?!)

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    1. Haha, cat pictures ARE the best. I follow dogs being basic on Instagram and that has been even more difficult to resist at night, lol. Happy to hear melatonin has worked for you and Hubby! I can definitely relate to the busy brain syndrome - it's nice to get a bit of peace from that, isn't is?

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