Numerous studies have shown the positive health effects of being a morning person (a “lark” as they say, opposed to a “night owl), including a University of Toronto publication on the ways that morning people tend to be happier. Those who find mornings challenging may shrug and dismiss the benefits, believing that they can’t change their natural rhythm.

There are, however, several proactive steps one can take to re-set the biological clock and reap the benefits of early rising. This article offers five suggestions for reclaiming the morning as a productive and positive part of one’s day. 

1. Get Enough Sleep. Since most people miscalculate how much sleep they are actually getting, the first step here is to take a careful inventory of sleep patterns for a week to assess the starting point. By getting enough sleep, the body begins to exit the stress-hormone cycle and one can begin shifting the times of wakefulness and slumber.

2. Allow Enough Time. Often part of the problem in developing positive morning habits is the long-standing negative associations with rushing around, feeling stressed, and being late. By giving enough time to accomplish tasks calmly, it re-wires the brain’s associations with mornings and helps create a more positive experience and motivation to get out of bed instead of hit the snooze button.

3. Create Rituals. Another way to re-wire the brain for positive morning associations is to give oneself something to anticipate in the morning. Whether a bath or shower or carefully brewed cup of tea or time with one’s pet or child, having something to look forward to will help with the motivation, creating a positive-association feedback loop.

4. Keep the Pattern. Resist the temptation to sleep in on the weekends and alter the weekday schedule being established. Two days of significantly changing the routine can unravel the good habit-forming work of the weekdays. Keeping a relatively similar schedule will help imprint it as manageable and even enjoyable.

5. Electronic Curfew and Wind-Down. Creating a quiet space at the end of the day can include dimming lights, keeping electronic devices turned off and away from the bedroom sleeping area, and creating quiet rituals for the wind-down part of the day. This will help create associations of quiet and sleep, rather than rushing headlong into bedtime. Allowing the body and mind to unwind at the end of a day will allow for easier, deeper sleep as well as positive associations with bedtime.

Review this article for more details on how to support a morning-friendly lifestyle!