Breaking from a blissful sleep in a warm bed isn’t easy no matter how much you love spin class or matcha lattes. In fact, studies show genetics and biology determine whether we’re a night owl or an early riser.
But early birds aren’t just rewarded with a worm when they make that morning workout — growing research shows breaking a sweat before the sun is up is the most efficient way to fire up your metabolism throughout the entire day. Luckily, these life hacks can help even the most exhausted night owls maximize their morning routine. After all, quality rest is just as important to your overall health as how you spend your time awake.
Prep the night before
Before shuffling off to bed, lay out your workout clothes, tea and/or coffee, and work outfit. Make a plan for your morning workout that ensures you have enough travel time to get to your gym, ample time to change, and still make it into work on time. If that means 20 minutes on the treadmill instead of 30, make the swap. Some time is better than no time at all!
Fine-tune your alarm
If your alarm sounds just when you feel like you’re in your deepest slumber, the reason you have trouble waking could be because your body’s natural sleep cycle is out of whack. Instead of your usual alarm, try a sleep app instead. Sleep apps and calculators help calculate the best time for you to hit the hay if you want to get a recommended eight hours, as well as cue an alarm for the lightest part of your sleep phase.
Set multiple alarms
As many morning workout warriors can attest, we’ve all fallen victim to hitting snooze while we’re half-asleep. Setting at least two alarms, about five to 10 minutes apart, will keep you from tapping out before the day begins.
Eat (and drink) smarter
Guzzling a few glasses of water right before bed might ensure you wake up before your alarm — but chances are it’s way before you actually want to wake up. Press pause on your water intake at least 60 minutes before you plan on heading to bed.
Another important note for coffee-lovers: Swap your afternoon espresso for decaf. Drinking caffeinated beverages after 3 p.m. can make dozing off even more of a challenge.
Scrolling through Instagram might make you daydream, but double-tapping photos before bed won’t help you nod off. Research published by the National Academy of Sciences found that the blue light from cell phones and mobile devices throws off our circadian rhythms, making dozing off more difficult. Power down your cell phone at least an hour before bed and grab the print version of your favorite magazine or book to cure your pre-bed boredom.
Wake up and smell the java
Nothing says “good morning” like a warm cup of caffeinated goodness. In fact, studies published by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that even the smell of coffee was found to energize people in the a.m. Try setting a timer on your coffee machine so when your alarm sounds you’ll also be awakened by the smell of a freshly roasted pot of coffee.
There’s a reason it’s so easy to wake up on Christmas morning — you know presents are waiting for you at the bottom of the steps. Harness the spirit of Christmas by treating yourself to a delicious breakfast or a pit stop at your favorite coffee spot after you hit the gym. Rewarding yourself after your morning workouts not only gives you something to look forward to but, according to research from Iowa State University, it also makes it easier for you to develop that as part of your daily routine.