There are two kinds of people: morning people and, well, not-so-morning people. There are those who greet each day with a smile and a burst of energy, and then there’s the rest of us.
Whether you’re a night owl who prefers the depths of midnight or someone who just doesn’t love waking up before 8 a.m., you can learn to love mornings. (Yes, really!) A few simple tweaks to your daily routine will make that alarm suck just a little bit less — even if you never call yourself an official “morning person” convert.
Focus on quality sleep.
Mornings are going to be difficult when you haven’t gotten a restful eight hours. Set yourself up for success by optimizing your space for sleep: keep the room cool and dark, remove any disturbances, switch your devices to night mode and try to fall asleep with a book instead of your phone. Consider a sound machine to help filter outside noise, especially if you live in a city or a particularly lively apartment building. When you’re getting good sleep, you won’t dread the ring of the alarm — you might even look forward to starting a new day!
Don’t reach for your phone right away when you wake up.
Scrolling through work emails, Instagram Stories, and the cacophony of news on Twitter is tempting, but doing so might fill your brain up with clutter and can impact your mood for the rest of the day. Instead, allow yourself to wake up slowly. Cuddle with your pet, your partner, or your kids. If you must listen to the news, turn on NPR.
Reduce the A.M. rush by prepping the night before.
While you may not be dealing with a commute these days, if you do some prep work before you hit the hay, it’ll be smooth sailing the next morning. Set the coffee pot to brew before you wake up so there’s a fresh cup handy, prepare your breakfast or lunch and check off any last household to-dos the night before so you’re not confronted with a sink full of dirty dishes first thing in the morning.
Wake up and smell the coffee — or the bergamot!
Sure, the enticing aroma of coffee, tea, or a hearty breakfast wafting from the kitchen can be incentive enough to get you out of bed, but you can also try aromatherapy to put some pep (or peppermint) in your step. If you have an essential oil diffuser , opt for uplifting scents like citrus, mint, bergamot, or ginger to energize your senses. For example, bergamot m ay promote a positive mood and rosemary may help with pain management .
Give yourself something to look forward to.
Remember when you were a little kid and you had an exciting event at school or a birthday party the next day? You couldn’t wait to go to bed and wake up the next morning. Give yourself an incentive to get up and get moving, whether it’s stopping at your favorite local coffee shop for the fanciest latte they make, reading the paper, meeting a friend for an early morning walk (don’t forget the face masks!), or even a new episode of your favorite podcast.
Yes, it’s tempting to wear sweatpants or pajamas all day, but putting on “real” clothes, styling your hair, and/or putting on makeup can give you a boost and might even make you feel more productive . You don’t need to put on a suit or even wear shoes, but making an effort outside of your go-to comfy clothes can signal to your brain that the day has begun, and create a divide in your brain between “soft” pants and “work” attire.
Embrace those endorphins.
As Elle Woods says, “Endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t hate the morning! They just don’t!” OK, so I stretched that iconic quote a little, but you know what? She’s not wrong. Working out in the morning, even if it’s a gentle stretching routine or just a short walk around the block to get your blood flowing, can give you a flood of feel-good endorphins to carry you through the day. Plus, if you exercise right away, you don’t have to do it after work when you’re tired and drained.
Create a routine.
Every day in a pandemic feels a bit like “Groundhog Day,” I know, but stay with me here! There are many science-backed benefits to implementing a routine , from lower stress to better sleep. Start off with a consistent wake-up time during the week; you can set something that’s realistic for you, as there’s no need to join the “5 a.m. Club” if you don’t want to! Maybe your routine includes yoga and a shower before your first cup of coffee, or maybe you need your caffeine fix before you can even think of pursuing anything else. Whatever your preferred routine may be, try to stick to it for a week to start and see how much better you feel about the morning.
Get some sun.
Just 15 to 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight , whether it’s through the window, time outside, or via a light therapy lamp , can help your body regulate its circadian rhythms, wake you up, and lead to better sleep at night. A light therapy lamp may be a great option to brighten up darker mornings, especially if you can’t get out of the house first thing.
Kara Nesvig grew up on a sugar beet farm in rural North Dakota and did her first professional interview with Steven Tyler at age 14. She has written for publications including Teen Vogue, Allure and Wit & Delight. She lives in an adorable 1920s house in St. Paul with her husband, their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dandelion and many, many pairs of shoes. Kara is a voracious reader, Britney Spears superfan and copywriter — in that order.