I'm not exactly described as a "morning person." Waking up, bleary-eyed and cozy, and remembering I have to eventually get up out of my warm bed and somehow make it to the coffee machine is a daily occurrence. I'm a night owl—nighttime is when I get my best work done, when I have my most creative thoughts, and it's the time of day I look forward to most. The morning, however, is the exact opposite.
I recently found myself at a crossroads, so to speak. Either continue along at my usual pace, hating mornings and cursing getting out of bed, or make a change. I decided to do the latter. So, I came up with a plan. I'd wake up two hours earlier for two weeks and record my progress. Then, and only then, would I decide if opening my eyes before dawn was worth it. Does an early bird actually catch a better worm? Keep reading to find out.
I knew I needed a plan—something to incentivize my getting out of bed earlier than ever before. I decided to use technology to my advantage. Our iPhones have alarm clocks, but the available sounds are wretched. Each time I hear my alarm, I want to cry. So, I needed to come up with a better sound, one that would cradle me awake instead of scaring me half to death. There's a new feature that allows you to clock the amount of time you'd like to sleep each night. You add what time you're likely to go to sleep, and then the time you want to wake up. Through research, I learned going to bed and opening your eyes at the same time each day helps the transition. I set the alarm to 6 a.m. and moved on to the sound portion. The alarms they offered were, shockingly, a delight. I'm telling you, it makes all the difference.
I woke up the first morning feeling refreshed. The new alarm felt nice and not at all startling. Excited about the new challenge, I got out of bed and made myself some coffee. Then, I made my first mistake. Rather than sitting in the living room like a person who won't fall back asleep, I drank my coffee in bed. I even closed my eyes for a few minutes and balanced my AyaZen Silk Lavender Eye Pillow ($13) on my face for a few minutes. It wasn't terrible, it was pretty lovely actually, but it made it all the more difficult to get up and out the second time around.
On morning two I knew better. I woke up at 6 a.m. on the dot and stayed out of bed—scrolling through Instagram and emails as usual. Only this time, I was done with my stalking and work corresponding by 7 a.m. Usually, spending an hour on my phone and computer leaves me in an exhausting tizzy as I try to get dressed and out the door. Now, I had two more full hours before I had to leave for work.
After that, I was shocked at how leisurely mornings became. I started to book a yoga class in the morning once a week (something I never understood beforehand). I got more work done before leaving for the office than ever before. It set me up for an easier, more thoughtful work schedule and, frankly, better-written stories.
After a week, I couldn't believe how easy it had become to fall seamlessly into a morning routine. I was making breakfast (which is unprecedented), working out (unheard of), and getting my work done on time if not early. This is the life, I thought each night as I drifted off the sleep.
Then, as I rounded out my blissful two weeks, I spent a few nights out late for work events and catching up with friends. That threw my entire schedule out of whack. Because I couldn't go to sleep on time, I had a terrible time waking up. So, the next trick? Give yourself a break every once in a while. I let myself sleep in an extra half an hour and continued on the next day.
In the end, yes, this experiment did work. The best part? It became so much easier with practice. The more you train your body to wake up at a certain time, the easier it is to do so. Now, I'm officially a convert. Would I call myself a morning person? No—I sleep in whenever I get the chance. But, can I attribute a lot of my recent successes as a full-grown adult woman to my new sleeping schedule? Absolutely. It's worth it, give it a shot.
To help you out, I asked my co-workers about their bedtime habits as well. Peep the six tricks beauty editors use to wake up on time.