We can all rejoice in the fact that studies say sleeping in on the weekend is a good thing, but if you want to avoid napping at work, taking steps to become an early bird can help make your weekday extra productive. When hitting the snooze button (over and over) is easier than waking up for an a.m. HIIT workout, where do you start? We called up Denise Limongello, a licensed psychotherapist and wellness expert, to help get you out of bed and on your feet before your alarm goes off for the third (or fourth or fifth) time. Night owls, it’s as easy as the five steps below.
1. Make breakfast bigger than lunch. Studies show that people who say it’s difficult to wake up in the morning often skip breakfast and have a large lunch as their first meal of the day. Well, turns out that’s not a great order of events. Denise says, “Reversing the order and making breakfast your larger meal can have health benefits, as well as help you get into the routine of waking up earlier. Prepping food the night before will make it easy and enticing to start nibbling right when you wake up.” You’ll definitely want to get out of bed for these make-ahead breakfasts.
2. Reward yourself. “Choosing a reward for yourself in advance to treat yourself with after you’ve succeeded at waking up earlier can actually help you to succeed as you’re trying to create this new habit,” says Denise. “Rewards can also lead to elevated mood and increased productivity,” she says. Bonus. We’re thinking a glass of wine at the end of the day, a pedicure or a nice long bubble bath sound like pretty good rewards to us.
3. Pump up the jams. Throwing on some tunes can get you through the toughest workouts and the latest Saturday nights. And it turns out that music is also a great way to get yourself up and moving in the a.m. too. Denise adds, “Music can have tremendous value for improving mood and increasing energy. Cuing up your alarm clock to blast your favorite tunes may help you to get out of bed earlier. Prepare a playlist of songs that you particularly associate with good times to help with the chore of pulling yourself out of bed early.”
4. Eat more salmon. “Salmon, according to research, might be an excellent idea for gaining energy quickly in the morning. Salmon is high in essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are often associated with increased brain activity and improved circulation,” notes Denise. Try swapping out your cereal for a salmon omelet or adding lox and bagels to your morning menu.
5. Embrace your guilty pleasures. Research shows that many people often enjoy the rituals associated with a guilty pleasure, such as a favorite TV show at night (looking at you Bachelor empire). Denise suggests using that feeling to your advantage. “Moving your enjoyed ritual to the morning, instead of at night, can be a great incentive to try to wake up earlier and make your mornings last longer. Who says your indulgences have to happen at the end of the day? Moving your personal routines to the morning may be enormously valuable for getting you up earlier and making your days more productive.”
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(Photos via Getty)