by Iris Goldsztajn
Why are some people morning people? When it comes to feeling refreshed, energetic and productive in the morning, it can often seem like only a certain chosen few have the ability. You set your alarm. You put it across the room. You’re determined to start your day at dawn. You’re committed. But then morning rolls around, and that all flies out the window.
You may have accepted that you’ll never be a morning person at heart, but you can still learn how to appreciate the mornings by employing a few simple strategies. So what’s the secret? Here’s a primer on how to wake up in the morning with energy.
It all starts the night before
We all know how difficult it can be to go to sleep at a reasonable hour when you have so many boxes to tick — from maintaining a social life to simply doing your laundry. That said, if you’re at all able, going to bed early enough to cash in about seven to nine hours of sleep will make all the difference in how you feel in the morning, as will going to bed roughly at the same time every night. This trains your body when it’s time to feel sleepy so getting to sleep is less hassle and more innate. If you have trouble sleeping, a sleep aid like melatonin may help you get into a sleep routine.
Wake-up time matters, too
As with bedtime, a consistent wake-up time is crucial for waking up refreshed. That’s because your body clock will adjust, and it will soon learn when it’s time to feel alert, just as it learned when it’s time to feel sleepy. If you can commit to getting up early consistently, you may start to find it easier to get out of bed (eliminating the need for that pesky snooze button). Unfortunately, it’s one situation where you have power through the beginning phase before it becomes a habit. As time goes on, you won’t need to rely so much on caffeine to clear away your just-out-of-bed funk. As a bonus, waking up at the same time daily (early or not) can also improve your mood and focus throughout the day and make it easier to get to sleep at night.
Here comes the sun
Another crucial factor in helping regulate your body clock is getting plenty of sunlight in the morning. In addition to acting as a natural alarm clock, exposure to sunlight can help increase serotonin to give you the mood boost you may need to get a jump on the day. If you can’t wake up because the sun rises too late or you can’t get to sleep without drawing the blinds, you could always try a light alarm clock, which imitates sunlight to gently wake you from your slumber.
Exercising can help you feel more energized at any time of day, as a research review from the University of Georgia found. “More than 90 percent of the studies showed the same thing: Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise,” said one of the researchers involved, professor Patrick O’Connor. With that in mind, working out first thing in the morning could help you feel more awake from the get-go, as well as not interfere with your ability to get to sleep at night (unlike exercising too close to bedtime). If you really can’t face sweaty cardio, try getting a good stretch or doing some gentle yoga instead to get everything flowing.
Don’t forget breakfast
Breakfast may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can have a huge impact on how energized you feel throughout the day. For example, one study found that university students who skipped breakfast reported fatigue and difficulty focusing in class. Eating food in the morning can help you wake up, but don’t overdo it, or it might make you feel lethargic. Instead, have a light meal that contains protein or fiber — like eggs or oatmeal. Make sure to drink plenty of water, too.
Incorporate CBD into your morning routine
If you feel groggy in the morning and wired at night, likely, your body clock is slightly out of balance. When used alongside the other strategies we’ve mentioned, taking CBD can help bring you back into balance, or homeostasis. CBD may work with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle, meaning you might have an easier time falling asleep and feel more alert first thing in the morning. CBD can form an integral part of your morning routine. But depending on the formula, it can take between 10 minutes and 2 hours to feel the effects. A water-soluble formula made with bioavailable ingredients is best.
Carve out some time for a mindful, joyful practice
When you first get out of bed, your mood could be your mood throughout the day, so it’s vital to take a little time for something that brings you joy in the morning. "Starting off at work wearing rose-colored glasses — or gray glasses — shapes the way we perceive events the rest of the day," said Steffanie Wilk, an associate professor at Ohio State University who studied the moods of a group of employees throughout the day. To make sure you start your day on a positive note, take a few minutes to meditate, journal or read a book — anything goes as long as it makes you feel better than when you started. Having something you enjoy doing to look forward to each morning may help create more motivation to skip the snooze button.
The Bottom Line
Becoming a morning person really comes down to a few lifestyle changes that can benefit you in the short and long term. When you start your day off on the right foot — from your mood to how alert you feel — this can set you up to be more focused and productive throughout your day. It’s all part of a positive feedback loop.
Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based writer and editor with seven years of experience creating content for various outlets. Her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Stylist and Cosmopolitan, and she won first place in Writing Magazine’s Grand Prize for a short story in 2020.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - How Much Sleep Do I Need?
Healthline - 12 Ways to Fix Your Sleep Schedule
VeryWellHealth - First Step to Better Sleep: Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
Greatist - I Tried to Be a Morning Person for 30 Days. Here's What Worked (and What Didn't)
Healthline - 13 Fatigue-Fighting Hacks to Supercharge Your Mornings
Journal of Environmental Psychology - “Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature”
ScienceDaily - “Regular Exercise Plays A Consistent And Significant Role In Reducing Fatigue”
WebMD - Wake-Up Tips: How to Make the Morning Easier
British Journal of Pharmacology - “Endocannabinoid signalling: has it got rhythm?”
Current Neuropharmacology - “Potential Effects of Cannabidiol as a Wake-Promoting Agent”
Healthline - How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
Ghana Medical Journal - “Breakfast Eating Habits Among Medical Students”
MedicalNewsToday - How to feel more energetic in the morning
The Cut - Turns Out It’s Pretty Good: Reading First Thing in the Morning