We all know some people are morning people, while lots of us are at our best later in the day. It’s useful to respect our natural internal rhythms, but we also live in a world where work, school, and a host of other activities are scheduled for mornings. Tracy Marks, M.D., is a psychiatrist based in Atlanta, and author of Master Your Sleep: Proven Methods Simplified. Dr. Marks says it is possible to reprogram yourself to be more alert in the mornings, by using the following methods:
Reclaim an Hour from Your Evening
According to Dr. Marks,
We typically overestimate how much available time we have and take on projects that we have no business committing to. For the sake of decompressing your day, assume you have one less hour in the evenings (to be set aside for a wind down period) and say no to things that infringe on that time.
At Night, Turn Everything Off
Prepare for bedtime by keeping radio and television volumes low. Turn down the lights, and set the stage for relaxation.
Put Morning Light to Work for You
Your brain is sensitive to light, so arrange your bedroom so sunlight will stream in first thing in the morning. You can also invest in a light box designed to emit light similar to sunlight, which forces your body awake.
You probably won’t really want to roll out of bed, so give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself of the good things you have to anticipate, rather than the tasks you must do.
Add Protein to Your Breakfast
Our blood sugar is at its lowest when we first wake up. To provide the morning boost we need, a healthy breakfast should include protein, along with a colorful fruit or vegetable, and a whole grain.
Reap the Reward
When you wake up earlier, give yourself a reward. Read a blog or listen to a morning show you enjoy. Relax in meditation, or just enjoy that time to have an extra cup of coffee.
Exercise at Dawn
Human beings are internally wired to be most alert around mid-morning. Exercising at the very beginning of the day boosts the morning energy surge. It will also elevate your body temperature and adrenaline levels, burning more calories.
Let Your Hairstyle Accommodate Your Lifestyle
Wash your hair at night, and if it’s long, put it into a loose braid. Do a quick blow dry in the morning and apply a little product to add shape.
Incorporate These Makeup Tips
Use liquid foundation to save time, along with cream blushes and eye shadow. Apply liner to your top eyelid only, then add a little mascara. You’re good to go with a natural look.