In years past, I have never, ever considered myself a morning person. Since a really young age, I've always found it somewhat difficult to wake up, and have favored late nights over early mornings. I accepted this as a part of who I am, and basically did my best to arrange my schedule in a way that allowed for sleeping in.
As rooted in this identity of a "night owl" as I was, in the last year or so I began noticing how productive, energized, and centered I felt in the morning, versus the late afternoon or evening (which I always deemed my more productive hours). If I could just get myself out of the bed, I felt really incredible and ended up accomplishing so much more that day in a way that didn't leave me feeling drained + depleted.
I gradually began shifting my appointments, sessions, and classes from the afternoon + evening to mornings with a great deal of success, and just recently committed to teaching a 7 am yoga class twice each week (!). This feels monumental, because for many years I could never make it to a workout prior to 9:30 am (yes, really), let alone teach the class.
Because I know there are so many others who feel that same soul-deep struggle to make mornings work for them, I felt inspired to share the practices that helped to shift this cycle for me.
EARLY BEDTIME | This alone has made the biggest impact on my ability to wake up with mor ease. It's incredibly commonsense, but weirdly didn't really 'click' with me for awhile. No one can go to sleep at midnight and wake up at 5 feeling refreshed + energized. Once you've accepted this fact, it makes the idea of becoming an early riser a lot easier to grasp. Everyone I know that wakes up at 5 with seemingly little agony is going to bed way early. It's really the only way to make the shift work long-term. We all require different amounts of sleep, so experiment with what makes you feel best. Personally, I know I need a full nine hours at this point in my life, so sometimes that means going to bed at 8:30.
BALANCED HORMONES | After being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, I discovered that a large part of what made it so excruciatingly hard for me to wake up in the a.m. was my imbalanced hormonal system. If you experience this same chronic low-energy, it may be an indication of an abnormality within your endocrine (hormonal) system. There are many dietary and lifestyle practices to support the endocrine system and ease the body into adrenal fatigue recovery, but one tool in particular that totally transformed the quality and duration of my sleep and returned my energy levels to normal was the addition of adaptogenic herbs + mushrooms into my daily diet. I've posted a general overview of these medicinal supplements and which ones I personally use here, but I encourage you to experiment with what herbs work + feel best for your body.
RITUALIZE BEDTIME | Ritualizing sleep puts you in a really mindful, centered space mentally, which I believe carries through to how you feel the next morning. I spend the last 30-60 minutes of each evening indulging in a handful of wellness practices that prepare my body, mind, and heart for sacred + sound sleep. In my personal toolbox: hydrotherapy, a cup of warmed nut milk, meditation, reading, sex, aromatherapy, and a few deep forward folds / legs up the wall for a calmed nervous system.
BE INTENTIONAL | Personally, I find it much easier to wake up if I feel strongly connected to the reason behind the early wake up call. The night before, I spend a few moments setting an intention for what is I want to do and accomplish the next morning. This ranges from allowing myself to meditate for my ideal 40 minutes, fitting a workout in because it's the only opportunity I've have for movement that day, working on a passion project for 30 minutes, beginning my day at the beach for sunrise, or just giving myself the luxury of an hour of peace + silence before sh*t hits the fan for the following 12 hours. Whatever the reason, it has to be good enough to get me up - if not, I'll sleep in until the last possible moment before leaving for work. It doesn't have to be anything particularly special, just as long as you feel connected and committed to the intention behind it.
HYDRATE | No matter how much water you drank the day and night before, we all wake up in a state of dehydration. When the body + mind are dehydrated, we are way more apt to experiencing fatigue and lack of energy, so it's especially important to drink water upon waking. And I mean like, a lot of water. I'm in the habit of drinking a full liter every morning and you can literally feel your cells coming back to life and energizing the mind and body. Water always before coffee + tea, as caffeine will just further dehydrate + fatigue the body.
MINDFUL INTERNAL DIALOGUE | Once I stopped the really pessimistic + dramatic conversation happening internally each morning (f*** this, you're not a morning person, this feels unnatural, why the hell is it still dark out, I feel like I'm dying, etc etc.), I was able to relax into my new routine with so much more ease. It's one thing for the body to need time to adjust, but having to deal with my mind fighting my every move made the entire experience feel like a complete uphill battle. What we say + repeat to ourselves matters, so make sure the conversation inside is supporting your growth (or at the very least, not sabotaging it).
PRACTICE | Like all things in life, waking up early gets easier with time + practice. The body will begin to shift into the new routine, and day-by-day it will feel more natural and easeful.