WORKPLACE / JUL. 15, 2014
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How to Adjust to an Early-Morning Work Shift

Perhaps you’ve been working nights or maybe you’ve been unemployed, either way you’re used to staying up all night and rolling out of bed later than most people. While there are many examples of people living perfectly normal lives on that schedule, it’s certainly not conducive to the 9-5 workweek. If you landed a new job that requires you to become a morning person, there are a few tricks you can try to get you ready to embrace the a.m. by Monday.

Disconnect your bedroom. If you have the space available in your home, you may want to make yourself a fun little “media room”, just somewhere to keep your computer and any other gadgets you have. If you’re living in close quarters you should still remove all your electronic devices from the bedroom and put them anywhere else. You want your bedroom to have an aura of comfort and quiet not radiating with distractions at all hours. If this is impossible to pull off, make sure to shut everything down except your alarm clock. If you use your cellphone as an alarm, don’t forget to turn off your email and Facebook notifications.

Making sure you get adequate sleep is the most important step in making the “morning person” transition. If you’re used to being up all night, it’s going to take a few days to get yourself on track. Starting on the Thursday or Friday night prior to your new work schedule should be enough time to reset your inner clock. Get yourself to bed an hour earlier that usual on Thursday, then an hour earlier than that on Friday, and so forth.  As you train yourself to get to sleep earlier and earlier, you’ll also be setting your alarm earlier as well. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of shut-eye.

Oversleep-proof your bedroom by keeping your alarm clock out of reach, scheduling two more alarms in 6-minute increments and making sure you’ll be exposed to natural light. Don’t feel like you have to keep your bedroom curtains wide open, just leave them open enough to let the sun come hit you while your asleep. Also, try to catch some rays through your day, the natural light regulates chemicals in your body and sets your biological clock.

Have a pleasant morning ritual so you’ll actually look forward to getting up early. In most cases, mornings are the most peaceful times of day in family filled houses. Having that early morning peace to read the paper and sip coffee in is priceless. Maybe you have a great patio and would enjoy watching the sunrise. Maybe you never had time to workout until now so pop in that aerobics video or lace up and hit the road.  Sure you have to eat, shower and get dressed but having a little something extra for yourself first thing is uplifting and sets the tone for the day.

Taking at least a full weekend to make the necessary changes slowly is your method for success. It will feel strange for a bit but you can’t expect your body to literally adjust overnight. You have to ease into new routines but soon enough you’ll be starting your days earlier and feeling more productive.

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