“Today’s goals: coffee and kindness. Maybe two coffees and then kindness.”
– Nenea Hoffman
Ask anyone and they’re going to tell you I’m a night owl. I always stay up late, often until midnight or 2 a.m. In fact, when I was a kid, my parents had to re-tuck me into bed. After they turned off the lights and thought I was asleep, I would get up and start playing with my toys again. Not much has changed. I still enjoy playing with toys, but they are the electronic kind now: -computers, my Kindle, and of course my phone.
And then we bought a coffee maker. Mind you–up to the point of the purchase, neither my husband nor I were coffee drinkers. While he still doesn’t like coffee, it has become one of my favorite hot beverages. Who knew? This year I made a resolution to give up soda for coffee. It has to be healthier, or at least I hope. It’s slowly converting this night owl into a morning person. After only a few weeks I have more energy to get stuff done.
Here are some of the best tips I have found to become an early riser:
Get into a routine. This is a goal I’ve been trying to strive for this year. In order to wake up early, try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. If I go to bed at midnight, I usually wake up around eight o’clock the next morning. I start the coffee maker and then I get to work. Get into the habit of doing the same routine every morning. This may include eating breakfast and going for a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Once you sit down at your desk, however, set yourself a timer. Work for 45-60 minutes and then take a break. Get up and stretch and move around. We’re not meant to sit for eight hours at one time.
Limit naps. When you work at home, it’s easy to curl up on the sofa or in bed and nap. But when would our work get done? When I started to get into my morning routine, I knew naps were something I wanted to eliminate altogether. I have put myself in the new mindset that I don’t like to get behind on my goals. I feel that naps send me backward, making it much harder to get those goals accomplished. The occasional power nap, a nap that is 30 minutes or less, could help stimulate you to get your work done. However, anything longer than that and you may disrupt your sleep for the night.
Limit caffeine in the afternoon. As a newbie coffee drinker, this has been a hard lesson. I would drink caffeinated coffee at 4 p.m. and be confused as to why I was wide-eyed at nearly 2 in the morning. So, I tried decaf and all has been well since. I wouldn’t drink coffee past noon if you can avoid it. Caffeine, even if you eat it in your food, has the tendency to keep you alert as the evening hours roll on. Try to restrain yourself and keep these treats until earlier in the day. This way you stay on the routine that you have been working hard to develop.
Turn off electronics. This is a big struggle for me. Ten–even fifteen years ago–we did not have computers, tablets or phones in our bedrooms. Now all these devices are big enough to fit in a jean pocket or purse. Try your best to leave them outside of your bedroom. Exposure to the blue light on electronics has the potential to mess with your sleep cycle. It tells your body to be alert and awake. If you want to stay sleepy, consider turning the brightness down on your device. You may also want to put all the devices away after a certain hour and take part in a non-electronic device activity. Read a print book, for instance, or do some drawing. This is going to help you relax in order to go to bed.
Make your bedroom cozy. Finally, create a bedroom that is the idealistic sleeping environment. It should be at least 65 degrees within the room. This is going to help you have a relaxing sleep. The room should be dark and quiet. If you have noisy neighbors, consider sleeping with earplugs. Turn on a fan to avoid hearing their commotion. Pull the shades to avoid light coming in from outside. Your health is important and you need sleep to be productive on your work the next day. As you wake up the next day, snooze the alarm once and then get up. Why shouldn’t you be able to sleep in just a little bit? Have a productive day!