By Kelly Laffey
I straddle the line between being a night owl and an early bird. Although you won’t find me sleeping through the day, I have a tough time jumping out of bed each morning.
But sometimes I wonder if not taking advantage of the mornings could be hampering my success. It’s well-documented that some of the most successful people, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck, are early risers, beginning their respective days at or before 4 a.m., according to The Wall Street Journal.
I’ve found that the key to reaping the benefits of being a morning person is to plan ahead. Once I developed a morning routine, I was able to have a stress-free start that in turn mentally set me up for success as the day progressed.
Read on for tips for an ideal morning routine for someone who hates mornings:
Before you go to bed, think about why waking up early is difficult, and which parts of your morning are the most stressful. Consider how to mitigate those instances by preparing for each day the previous evening.
Do you spend time staring into your closet figuring out what to wear? Try laying out your clothes in the evening. Is breakfast a constant struggle? Stock your fridge with healthy, no-prep foods like yogurt and fruit. Streamlining my morning routine means that I spend less time thinking about how to start each day and more time on what I actually need to get done.
A 2015 study published by the National Academy of Sciences revealed that screen time before bed can have a variety of negative effects on sleep. The researchers found that looking at light-emitting devices right before bed “prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep, delays the circadian clock, suppresses levels of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, reduces the amount and delays the timing of REM sleep, and reduces alertness the following morning.”
Invest in a clock that isn’t your phone. This will also prevent you from looking at it first thing in the morning because a phone, with its plethora of entertainment options, can distract you from your morning routine. If you’re not a morning person, it’s all too tempting to stay in bed and scroll through a smartphone, as opposed to getting up and starting your the day.
After hours of sleep, most people wake up slightly dehydrated. Because the brain needs water to create hormones and neurotransmitters, starting the day with a tall glass could help to jumpstart your energy and mental capacity.
A lot of my morning stress comes from the time constraint of getting everything ready before leaving. While taking time to make your bed may seem like another task to complete before heading out for the day, the benefits of making your bed can set you up to be productive.
I’ve found that making my bed feels like an accomplishment. First, it’s a goal I set for myself each morning that I get to check off before my day even really begins. Secondly, a neat bed also creates the perception of a clean room, which in turn can lower stress levels, according Shape magazine.
Making your bed also sets you up for a well-rested tomorrow. A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that people who made their bed every day were more likely to report getting a good night’s sleep.
If all else fails and you still find yourself snoozing, motivate yourself to get out of bed with the advice that Steve Jobs gave to the Stanford graduating class of 2005:
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remind yourself of your goals and what you hope to achieve that day, and you’ll have an easier time mentally getting through even the roughest of mornings.
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Originally published at www.businessinsider.com