- While some of us are more genetically predisposed to be a morning person vs. a night owl, it is possible to train yourself one way or the other.
- We're counting down 6 science-backed steps to building the habit, so you can take back your morning.
Being a morning person versus a night owl isn’t just a relatable cultural phenomenon—believe it or not, our DNA actually predisposes us one way or the other (1). The good news? Even if you consider yourself unfit for social interaction before your second cup of coffee (thanks for the cranky genes, mom and dad!), research actually tells us that there’s a buffer zone for training yourself to be more of a morning lark.
Now, let's be clear about one thing: If you historically can't relate to being a morning person, then you're not going to become an early bird overnight. Like any good habit, it takes a lot of practice, patience, and figuring out what works best for you. But a great place to start is knowing what science tells us about taking charge of your morning.
Be consistent about your sleep cycle.
The key to a good night’s sleep (and in turn, a smooth wakeup call) isn’t just cozy linens, a noise machine and a dark room—it’s all about your circadian rhythm, which can best be described as your body’s internal clock. Basically, it’s the way your body responds to different cues to regulate sleep and wakefulness. Light is a major cue, which is why we tend to feel sleepy when it’s dark and more alert when the sun streams through our windows.
But research shows that one of the best things you can do to regulate your sleep cycle is to make sure it’s consistent—that is, trying to go to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. (Pro tip: Your wake up time should ideally be 7-8 hours after your sleep time—because this is all kind of irrelevant if you're not getting enough sleep to begin with.)
Some experts recommend allowing natural light into your bedroom, which is another instinctual clue for your body to wake up. Either way, by training your body’s circadian rhythm into habit, with time, you’ll find yourself getting tired at the same time every night, and feeling more alert as soon as your alarm goes off. And yes, you should be doing this on weekends as well.