Everyone has an internal body clock, also known as a circadian rhythm. A cluster of nerves in the brain's hypothalamus influence a person's sleep and wake cycles. If you're not a morning person, it's probably because you're simply "wired" that way.
Unfortunately, most people don't have the luxury of sleeping in until they naturally wake up at the time their internal clock deems ideal. Most people have responsibilities that require them to wake up when their alarm clock — rather than their body clock — signals it's time. If you're a reluctant morning waker-upper, here are some tips to make mornings more tolerable.
A peaceful evening leads to a peaceful morning
Waking up after a restful seven to nine hours of sleep is far more pleasant than waking up after a fitful three or four hours of sleep punctuated by insomnia. Before bed, unplug from electronics, dim your room, and unwind by reading a book, writing in a journal or listening to soft music. Melatonin supplements can help you fall asleep more easily if you take them about a half hour before you're ready to sleep. The ideal dosage for adults ranges from 0.2 to 20 milligrams, so consult your doctor about dosage and brand before taking it.
Let there be light
You'll find it easier to fall asleep if you set the mood, dim the lights and unplug before bedtime, and the opposite holds true for waking up. Exposure to bright lights right after you wake up jump-starts your body clock and helps you get going. Open your shades before you go to sleep so your room will be flooded with light in the morning. Sipping your coffee on the back porch or even turning on your TV can also help to energize you in the morning.
Rethink your alarm clock
If your alarm clock is on your nightstand, you're more likely to hit snooze. Place it across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Once you're upright, you're far more likely to stay that way and begin your morning.
Speaking of alarm clocks, instead of using one that hits you with a loud, jarring buzz, use a progressive alarm clock. These clocks (and apps) begin with a low-volume chime that repeats in progressively more frequent intervals at increasingly louder volumes, usually over a 10-minute period. When you gradually wake up, you're more likely to get up on the right side of the bed.
Keep a routine
Awaken at the same time each day, even on weekends, even when you're on vacation. A predictable morning routine will make waking up more tolerable. Deviating from your schedule can disrupt your sleep pattern for weeks.
You may be a card-carrying night owl, but with a few tweaks to your routine, you can learn to rise and shine. Practice makes perfect, and your efforts will definitely pay off. Your mood as you wake up sets the tone for your entire day, so vow to make each day great from the get-go!
Web MD: Sleep Disorders Health Center, Melatonin Overview
National Institue of General Medical Sciences: Circadian Rythms Fact Sheet
Everyday Health: 11 Tricks to Waking Up in the Morning
Newsweek: Nine Ways Night Owls Can Become Morning People