Whenever I have clients who are engaged, something that I make sure to say to them, almost every session, is it's important to understand that oftentimes, what causes the end of a marital union isn't anything "big". Nah, it's more about the little irritants that, after a few years of them happening over and over again, it starts to drive one or both partners so completely up the wall that they would rather be alone than have to continue to endure what is basically the equivalent of listening to fingernails on the chalkboard.
And what does this have to do with the title of today's post? Well, a "chalkboard issue" can actually be if you are a morning person while your partner is a night owl. It can affect sleeping patterns. It can affect pillow talk (i.e., quality time) moments. It can affect your sex life. So yeah, if you're contemplating sharing your bedroom, every day with someone, for years to come, definitely discuss who gets up at 5 a.m. and is thrilled about it vs. who can stay up until 2 a.m. with no problem at all.
Speaking of morning people, if you've ever wondered just what causes someone to be all bright-eyed and bushy tailed before the sun even thinks about rising or if you're someone who would like to become more of a morning person, I thought you would find some of this intel interesting. Because, apparently, morning people don't "just happen". It goes so much deeper than that.
OK, so before we get into what the personality traits of a morning person appear to be, let's first touch on what chronotypes are.
If you're unfamiliar, what they basically boil down to is being the kind of things that cause our body to naturally want to fall asleep at certain times of the day. Chronotypes also help you to gain a better understanding of what causes you to be more alert at certain times of the day too.
As far as chronotypes go, they basically break down into four different categories that have the names of animals:
BEARS: They like to go to bed around 11 p.m., wake up at 7 a.m. and are most productive between 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
WOLVES: They like to go to bed around midnight, wake up at 7:30 a.m. and are most productive between 5 p.m.-12 a.m.
LIONS: They like to go to bed around 10 p.m., wake up at 6 a.m. and are most productive between 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
DOLPHINS: They like to go to bed around 11:30 p.m., wake up at 6:30 a.m. and are most productive between 3 p.m.-9 p.m.
In order to learn more about chronotypes and what they entail, the blog Casper has a great read on it here (also, if you want to take a quiz to find out what type you are, click here). The reason why it can be a good idea to get to know that your personal chronotype is, is because it can give you greater insight into why your days naturally go the way that they do. It can also help you to better understand what kind of "tweaking" you would need to implement if you happen to want to be more productive during your early morning hours (even if it's just temporarily).
OK, so now that you get why you may naturally or naturally not be a morning type of person, let's explore what the personality of a morning person is like.
What’s the Personality of a Morning Person Like?
Aight, so with that ah-ha moment (for some) being out of the way, what are the traits of a morning kind of individual? I mean, really — what is it about a person who can jump out of bed singing, having a burst of energy and being so optimistic before the day even officially begins that roosters are even giving them a perpetual side-eye?
Well, according to some research that I recently checked out, personality types definitely play a role on if someone is a morning person or not and it would appear that some traits of a morning person include that they are more conscientious and self-disciplined while also being less direct, open-minded and thrill-seeking.
When I thought about this from the angle of some of the married clients that I work with, I can definitely cosign on this. One couple, in particular, that I've worked with before, the husband is an engineer and the wife is in the entertainment industry. He is definitely an early morning person while she is a night owl and when I think about how they approach life, he is so Type A (conscientious and self-disciplined) that it can almost be suffocating. Meanwhile, for example, he's not even a good flyer (he's pretty close to being afraid to fly) while his wife travels for a living and doesn't give it much of a second thought (open-minded, thrill-seeking). If it wasn't for him being so over-the-top with his disciplined lifestyle (especially financially), I'm pretty sure she'd be close to flat broke; meanwhile, if it wasn't for her "hey, let's try it" outlook on life, he would be boring — and limited — as hell.
Bottom line, there is nothing wrong with being a morning person — or not being one. There are benefits and advantages to both. Now what I will say about morning people is it's a lot easier to get a lot more done when you're up in the wee hours of the day and knocking out a lot of what needs to be done. Not only that but a lot of the morning folks who I personally know tend to be less stressed because they oftentimes get so much done before noon. That's why, even if you're not a morning person, I am in full support of you at least considering getting up earlier, a couple of days a week, in order to make the most of your time. And just how do you do that?
6 Tips for Becoming More of a Morning Person
Again, there's nothing wrong with not being a morning person. Still, if there is a part of you that knows you would be better off being more conscientious and self-disciplined so that you can get more out of your own morning time, here are some ways to make that happen.
1. Get on a sleep schedule. How crazy is it that a lot of us think kids should be on a sleep schedule, but we shouldn't? Chile. Because the CDC even says that grown folks should get no less than seven hours of sleep every night, so that you can be more alert and refreshed come sunrise, and because that is so much easier to do when you have your own nighttime routine, you definitely should put yourself on a sleep schedule. An article that can help you do that is "These Sleep Hacks Will Make Getting A Good Night's Rest So Much Easier".
2. Sleep earlier. Awaken earlier. Out of all of the hacks to help you become more of a morning person, this one might be my favorite because it's so easy to implement. Basically, if you want to wake up 30 minutes earlier, it's probably best to go to bed 30 minutes earlier as well. That way, the extra zzz's that you're missing on the back end, you can get on the front.
3. Nix the naps. I'm actually kinda laughing about recommending this because if there is someone who will take a nap in a heartbeat, it's Shellie Reneè Warren. However, I'm also someone who enjoys sleeping like it's Six Flags or something. That said, if you know that more than a cat nap (around 25 minutes or so) will make it hard for you to sleep at night and/or will have you groggy in the morning, it's probably best to go without naps altogether.
4. Watch what you eat and drink. Have mercy, Lawd. Why am I finally at that age where drinking something an hour before bed will get me up twice in the middle of the night, making it harder to go to sleep?
Yeah, it really is common sense that if you don't want to wake up at night, you should drink no later than a couple of hours before turning in. Also, try and keep sugar (including carbs) and caffeine at bay. Instead, opt for foods that are high in magnesium (it helps your neurotransmitter GABA at a healthy level so that you can sleep more soundly) instead. Some of those include almonds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, dark chocolate and mineral water.
5. Have sex. I'm not sure what can make you sleep better and harder than having some (good) sex before turning in. From a scientific standpoint, orgasms have the ability to reduce your stress levels while also producing the hormones oxytocin and prolactin in your system. Both of these work together in order to mellow you out, put you in a good mood and also make you feel safe and secure with your partner —and all of these are the foundation of a great night's rest. That's why sex before going to sleep can improve your quality of sleep. And morning sex can inspire you to set your alarm clock 30 minutes earlier so that you can get out of bed with a big smile on your face. Hell, who said it had to be either or? Why not both?
6. Give yourself something to look forward to every morning. Let me tell it, what I just said in the point above this should count as something to look forward to; however, if sex isn't on the docket (for whatever the reason), still try and give yourself a reason to want to wake up earlier — a favorite breakfast food, time to read a chapter of a book or listen to your favorite podcast, a few minutes to catch up with a friend…anything that can make raising your head off of your pillow not the top thing on your list to do the following morning.
I know we kinda covered a lot of ground here — what are chronotypes of sleepers, what are the traits of morning people and how to become more of a morning person yourself. Yet I hope that the greatest takeaway is 1) morning people are oftentimes born more than made; 2) their ability to be morning people resonates in more than their sleeping patterns (because I don't know about you but most of the morning people that I know are extremely self-disciplined) and 3) you can create ways to enjoy the morning more than you might think. It's all about choosing to not view the early hours as your "enemy" but as a way to make the most of your time — from sunrise to sunset. Literally.
For more inspiration, self-care, and healing tips, check out xoNecole's Wellness section here.
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