This topic is very close to my heart. I used to be a night person throughout my student life and during early professional life as well. However, being a banker, I am supposed to be alert during day time, with long working hours and uncertainty in the length of working day. So, being a night person started taking a toll on my efficiency during the day and my workout schedule went haywire.
To correct this, my wife advised shifting the routine to an early to rise and early to bed. First you really need to want to become a mornings person. That means understanding the trade off.
Positives of early morning schedule:
1. You get to start your day peacefully and plan properly.
2. Your exercise/fitness schedule is more certain as it is not dependent on how long you had to work in office or you get pulled into an evening event.
3. Since your workout or fitness regime is over in the morning, you are not under tension whole day about doing it in the evening.
4.You are more energised during the day.
5. You can spend more quality time with your spouse, kids, family or girlfriend in the evening.
6. If you are a person with spiritual bent of mind, morning is the best time to pray or to meditate.
Negatives (frankly, all these negatives don’t matter at all)
1. You don’t get to enjoy the morning sleep
2. You will feel sleepy earlier than usual which means that you need to hit the bed early and say good buy to late night parties, TV, social media, browsing, sports on TV, movie shows in the night, heavy boozing etc.
If you think about it, the second item above is actually a huge positive but seems like a negative to the habituated person.
Now, coming to the point. How to do this? The answer is – slow and steady wins the race. Work on gradual shifts in your schedule. Avoid drastic changes. Drastic changes tend to be short lived. If you are used to waking up at 7am, try for 6.45 for a week, then 6.30 for a week and so on. Parallelly, start hitting the bed earlier than usual. The body clock works in a manner that your body will start signalling sleep earlier than usual. If you were sleeping at 1am, you will feel sleepy at 12.30 and gradually earlier. In my case this change took about three-four months but it has stuck with me for many years now.
Another advice – don’t be extra harsh on yourself. Exceptions are fine. If you had a late night due to some unavoidable reason, it is ok to sleep to complete the sleeping requirement of the body. If I do have a late night due to travel or a party, I don’t unnecessarily push myself for a workout in the morning. Take that as your rest day and bounce back the next day. Do not allow the break to become bigger.
Only problem happens when these exceptions start becoming the routine. So, do not have any planned exceptions like once a week etc. The rule is – if it happens due to unforeseen circumstances, it is fine. Otherwise, pls avoid. It is also a matter of self-discipline at the end.
A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.