The Secrets of a Morning Person (BONUS: My Morning Routine)

If you want to read some back story, keep reading. If you prefer to get right to the nitty gritty details, skip down to my list of tips. If you're really short on time and just want product recommendations, head to the very bottom of the blog to shop any products mentioned in this post. 

After my son was born, my routines changed and I no longer woke up early because I wanted to. I woke up early because I had to. He was not naturally a good sleeper and because he was so tiny, he would wake up to eat every hour and a half for a long time. We gently sleep trained at six months and it was the best thing I could have done for myself in that season. He didn’t seem ready before six months honestly, because we had sort of tried a few times leading up to that and I do think every little thing we did leading up to this point helped, because babies are smarter than we think. But it eventually got to the point where I desperately needed sleep and my husband was about to leave for three months for army training and I decided to just go for it. Long story short within a couple days, Remi started sleeping through the night. Suddenly I felt like a new woman. Getting six or seven hours of sleep was total euphoria. 

But I lost something after becoming a mama that I used to love. Early mornings. I would have definitely described myself as a morning person before Remi was born. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I also love sleep and naps. But at some point in my life I discovered the secret of early mornings and I never wanted to go back. But I couldn’t seem to wake up early anymore. I was sleeping until Remi’s morning coos and cries dragged me out of bed. I had lost my dark, quiet, peaceful mornings and it didn’t seem like my body wanted them back, even after getting eight hours of sleep at night. I just wasn’t a morning person anymore.

A couple weeks ago I decided I wanted to try and wake up early again even though I also didn’t really want to because I had gotten so used to sleeping in. I made some small tweaks in my bedtime and morning routines and I’m happy to report, I’m a morning person again! I think I’ve got some helpful tips for anyone who wants to wake up earlier or enjoy coffee before their kids get up and discover what makes mornings so great. 

Tips for Becoming a Morning Person

1. The Philips Wake Up Light Alarm Clock
It probably doesn’t matter what brand you get, but try to find a nice gradual light alarm clock on Amazon. Philips makes this more affordable version as well. This is my number one tip. Imagine waking up to a gently lit, sunrise right in your bedroom. It gradually wakes you so that by the time your alarm goes off, your brain has already started to sense that it’s daytime and makes getting out of bed so much easier. Don’t get me wrong, you can totally fall back asleep if you’re determined enough but it’s much harder to tell your brain to go back to sleep when the room is all lit up. Most mornings I don’t even need the alarm portion of the clock and the light just wakes me up. 

2. Go to bed earlier. I know this one is hard. And it totally depends on your schedule but if you want to wake up earlier and feel good, you have to do this. I try to be in my bed by 9:30 or 10. And asleep by 10:30 if not earlier. Trouble falling asleep? Try the app, Pulse Breathing. It’s this breathing trick that acts as “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system and eases the body into a state of calmness and relaxation” (read more here

3. Make the coffee before bed. I set it to go off a few minutes before I want to wake up so that I don’t have to wait on it. If you don’t have an automatic coffee maker with a delay setting, make the investment. You can get them as cheap as $15-$30. My husband and I can sometimes be coffee snobs and we love grinding Intelligenstia, Tom’s Coffee, and Stumptown beans but we’re pretty basic when it comes to our coffee maker, mostly because we love the settings and the fact that there can be a big, hot pot of coffee waiting for us when we come downstairs. We used to use a Chemex and we also have a Nespresso. But nothing beats a good old fashioned Mr. Coffee

4. Drink your first cup of coffee in bed. Tell yourself you get to get back in bed with your coffee as a treat for waking up before everyone else. It makes getting out of bed much easier. I do this every single morning and it’s just part of my routine now. 

5. If you are worried about your kids hearing your alarm and waking up (Remi does this) you can use a combo of the wake up light without the alarm portion on and set your phone alarm to vibrate only. This might not be enough for you but it works for us. Remi would wake up without fail every single time one of our alarms would go off, even if we had the volume turned down, and it would defeat the purpose of waking up early in the first place.

6. Make the bed right after you get out of it. My secret? And this is going to sound weird... but Reid and I don’t use a top sheet. We have a fitted sheet and a really comfy white comforter from Target and that’s it. Call it minimalism, call it weird, whatever you want, but it makes making the bed way easier. Making the bed seems like a silly thing but for me it makes my bedroom a haven to come to at the end of the day. And for some reason it seems to set the tone for the rest of my day. It takes 60 seconds and I just started doing it first thing every morning until it became a habit.  

7. Still having trouble waking up? Try the app, Wakeout. It's got a bunch of super easy-to-do-in-bed workouts that help fight fatigue. You can literally do the moves while lying down with your eyes closed and it helps get your blood pumping just enough to ward off the sleepiness that keeps us cuddled under the sheets. 

Bonus tip: delete Instagram before bed — redownloading it the next day is a little bit of a hassle but it's worth it for me because then I can’t look at instagram first thing in the morning or scroll in the middle of the night if I wake up. And some days I redownload it and some days I don’t. It gives me a choice each day and it helps fight against mindless scrolling. Doing this has really changed my relationship with Instagram and helped me achieve more balance with my social media life. 

Bonus bonus tip: I've been spritzing Mario Badescu Lavender Facial Spray on right before bed and it smells so divine and instantly relaxes me! 

BONUS: My Morning Routine

  • 5:45 Wake up, grab a cup of coffee downstairs, back in bed to drink it

  • 6:00 Write/read and listen to worship music in my headphones (current favorite album: Blackout by Steffany Gretzinger)

  • 6:30 Reid wakes up and we spend 15-20 minutes drinking coffee together and talking

  • 7:00 Remi wakes up and we go downstairs to make breakfast

Obviously every morning doesn’t go like this, but this would be my typical ideal morning. For example, it’s currently 6:30am and I can hear Remi already waking up. But this routine isn’t rigid and having it actually makes me more willing to be okay if things don’t go as planned.  

I’ve learned that mornings work for me to do my most creative work because the day hasn’t had a chance to overwhelm me yet. Instagram hasn’t tempted me with consumerism or comparison yet. I've not heard or read or watched any news. I'm not stressing over my to-do list or burying my head in my email inbox yet. For me, it's my best time of day. I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea... being a morning person. But you’re here and you took the time to read this so I hope this serves as a helpful guide for anyone who wants to discover the beauty of early mornings. And maybe all you really want is 15 minutes to drink your coffee alone in peace. Start there. 

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