“How did we used to get up this early every day for school?”: a question we students ask ourselves frequently as a 9am lecture awaits us. Whether you’re a natural early bird or more of a night-owl, the path to becoming a pleasant and tolerable morning person is not completely unachievable after all.
So, can we turn ourselves back into morning people? The arguments vary after a trio of American biologists won the Nobel Prize in 2017 determining that 24 genes regulate the human body clock. Subsequently, they might argue that no, we cannot change ourselves into morning people. Although, just because your genetics don’t line you up to be a natural early-riser, it doesn’t mean you can’t actually be one!
Some of the most successful people are said to wake up and start work whenever they like, however a survey conducted by The Guardian confirmed that many CEO’s of successful companies do get up at around 5am as this is thought to be the most productive time of the day due to fewer distractions. Unless you fancy success at the price of a daily 5am wake-up call, there are easier ways of kickstarting yourself into action each morning.
If you’re looking to ease yourself into the habits of an early riser, the simplest way to achieve this is by forming a solid routine that you can actually stick to. If you’re wondering about the science behind this theory, our bodies like to anticipate what’s happening and prepare for what is next to come, and this makes slipping into a routine relatively easy.
Also, if you’re stressing about being a night-owl, well, don’t. We all know the feeling of wanting to fall asleep so badly that the complete opposite happens; you lie wide awake for hours. Once you start to get up earlier, your “bedtime” will naturally adjust as you begin to become tired earlier on too.
Overfamiliarity with the snooze button tends to be a lot of people’s downfall when it comes to waking up early. We’re all avid users, so if you’re reading this and thinking, ‘yep, that’s definitely me’, then it may benefit you to download an alarm app such as Smart Alarm, which allows you to set a half an hour period in which you want to be woken up. It then tracks when you’re in your lightest phase of sleep and wakes you at that time. This should help take the edge off that all-encompassing groggy feeling and allow you to bounce out of bed and get your morning started.
Another simple tip to wake yourself up, along with your new and improved alarm, is to let the light in. Natural or artificial, light tells our brain that the day has begun and it’s time to get up. This should be easy to achieve for us students as most of our flats aren’t exactly equipped with world’s greatest curtains.
Listen, nobody’s saying that being an early-riser makes you superior (even if they themselves might say so), but it’s definitely worth trying. While it may seem an impossible feat, getting up early (although tedious) can have a seriously positive impact on your productivity. People who wake up early are statistically more likely to have proactive personalities. A number of studies found that morning people have a better sense of well-being, set higher goals for themselves and are persistent. Then again, there’s no harm in trusting your gut and sticking to what feels right. If you find yourself more productive in the evenings, that’s okay too.
Illustration: Hannah Riordan