11 simple ways to become a morning person

Can you train yourself to be a morning person? (Getty Images)
Can you train yourself to be a morning person? (Getty Images)

Mornings broadly divide the world into one of two camps. Those who fling back the covers and spring out of bed to tackle the day. And those who need to hit snooze at least five times before they can even contemplate emerging from the duvet.

If you fall into the second camp, you're certainly not alone, a report by sociologists at Cornell University in New York, found that only 16% of users are considered morning people and show peaks of positivity very early in the day.

Meanwhile a separate survey from YouGov found that two in five Brits struggle to get up in the morning with 40% hitting snooze at least once.

For those who find mornings a bit of battle, it's easy to assume that the early birds are either superhuman or lying, but turns out there is such a thing as a morning person and it is, at least in part, down to our ancestors.

According to Dave Gibson, sleep expert at Vitabiotics, our sleep preferences, or chronotypes, are largely determined by genetics and can be classified into three main categories: morning larks, night owls, and those in between.

"Chronotype is the technical name for our genetically inherited sleep preference," he explains. “Morning larks feel sleepy earlier in the evening and prefer to go to bed and wake up early. They are commonly most alert and productive in the morning, too. Night owls, however, are naturally inclined to stay up later and tend to be more active and productive in the evening."

Gibson says about half of us fall somewhere in the middle of being a lark or owl, needing to go to sleep between 10pm and midnight.

Woman in the morning feeling tired. (Getty Images)
Two in five Brits struggle to get up in the mornings. (Getty Images)

As well as genetics, there are some other influences on your morning grogginess including how snuggly your bed is.

"If you have a super-comfortable mattress and feel sound asleep when your alarm wakes you, it could be that you are waking from a deep stage of sleep," cautions Gibson.

"As a consequence, this would lead to something called sleep inertia. This is when you feel disorientated and even confused for the first half an hour after you wake and well before your body would have naturally woken you, had you not set the alarm."

Research indicates that your environment, age and sex also influence your chronotype and therefore how well you perform in the mornings.

Thankfully, no matter what your chronotype or morning behaviours, there are some ways to make the start of the day feel that little more positive. But consistency is key!

Switch up your sleep schedule

In order to ease your body clock to an earlier bed and wake time, Gibson suggests moving your sleep earlier in easy-to-manage 10 to 15-minute increments.

"You would go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier each night and wake up 10-15 minutes earlier in the morning, too," he adds.

Stick to your new regime at weekends too

If you're serious about wanting to become a morning person, you should continue this strategy during the weekends, too. "Throughout, always keep to the same relaxing sleep routine as it signals to the body and brain that it’s time to wind down to sleep," Gibson adds. "Once you have achieved your new time, try to keep to this as close to seven days a week as possible. Consistency is key with regards to getting a great night’s sleep."

Get outside in the morning

Exposure to sunlight as early as possible in the day can also help you move your body clock forward.

"Similarly, avoiding light exposure at night, especially the blue light from tech and your mobile phone, is essential, too," Gibson adds. "This absence of light encourages the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone."

Woman meditating in the morning. (Getty Images)
Starting the day with some gentle meditation could get your morning off to a good start. (Getty Images)

Make your bedroom sleep friendly

Gibson suggests making sure the bedroom is cool and dark, ideally between 50 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit or 15.5 and 19.5 degrees Celsius.

"This helps to facilitate our natural drop in core body temperature, which is needed to help us get to sleep and stay asleep," he explains.

Cut the caffeine

Make sure you have clear boundaries around your caffeine intake. "Ideally, you should stop having beverages and drinks containing caffeine after lunchtime as it can interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep,” Gibson advises.

Eat your way to better mornings

Gibson advises following a Mediterranean diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats and proteins to ensure sustained energy levels.

"Good foods for boosting energy and nutrients are nuts and seeds," he adds. "If you find yourself waking in the night, you can add a small handful just before you sleep."

Bring in the light

For those still battling morning grogginess, Gibson says an intentional routine can work wonders. "It's important to get bright light as soon as possible in the morning to help you wake and become alert, so as soon as you wake, open the curtains and blinds," he suggests. "This tells the brain that it's morning, wakes you up and strengthens your body clock."

Woman opening the curtains in the morning. (Getty Images)
Throwing open the curtains is a good way to begin your morning. (Getty Images)

Switch your morning cuppa for lemon and hot water

This will rehydrate you and kick-start your metabolism.

Do a morning tech detox

Gibson advises avoiding tech or checking your phone in the morning and instead starting every day with a short meditation and visualisation of having a great and relaxing 24 hours, whilst achieving your goals and tasks for the day.

Get moving

Gentle stretches can help your body wake up and ease into the day.

Pimp your breakfast

Eating a nutritious breakfast with a balance of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates. "This will ensure you can sustain your energy throughout the morning," Gibson adds.