I'm so excited to share this information with you because parents often ask me how to make their babies or little kids wake up later in the morning. Most of the time, the answer is that they have to live with it for a few years because babies and kids' sleep cycles are regulated with day and night, which means, they wake up with the sunrise and start getting sleepy with the sunset.
I am a morning person; I enjoy getting up early to start my day, and I've always been like that. I have no problem waking up at 5:30 am every day. But... waking up at 6 am AND being ready to take care of a baby and a 5-year-old is a whole different story; make breakfast and bottles, change diapers, deal with meltdowns... it might be too much.
And that is why I found this article very interesting; all the information I'm sharing I took from here and my personal experience. There are two types of people, night owls, and morning persons; the type of person you are is your chronotype, you can read more about it here.
If you are interested in shifting your schedule and being more aware and active in the mornings (that is when the fun of being a parent happens hahaha), here are some tips:
Yes, the same way you do it with your kids, developing a nighttime routine is helpful to signal your body that it is time to sleep. You can light a candle, dim the lights, put on your pj's, wash your face, do your skincare routine, read a book, etc. Whatever works for you, the key is to be consistent.
Create a schedule
Again, as you do for your kids; you don't have to schedule your whole day but at least bedtime and wake-up time. Going to bed at the same time every day and waking up at the same time every day are the foundation for building healthy sleep habits. And yes, this means putting an alarm even on weekends; once you have established an schedule, you can start making exceptions when you want to.
Shift your bedtime gradually
If you have a later bedtime, start with 15 minutes increments. For example, if you regularly turn off the lights at 11:00 pm, start by doing it at 10:45 pm for a few days, then do 10:30, and so on. You might also have to shift your wake-up time or keep it the same and you will be sleeping more! And I know some of you will say, yeah I have tried it and it doesn't work with me, but it is the combination of all these tips that will make it work and consistent. It might be challenging in the first weeks, but eventually, you will get there.
Establish a morning routine
As you do it during the night, having a consistent wake-up routine helps your body get ready to start the day. Again, it doesn't have to be very complicated, just wake up a few minutes before your kids, grab a glass of water and wash your face (that's as much as I get to do before my kids wake up). Some ways you can do it when you have early birds (kids that wake up super early like me):
Wake up 10 to 15 minutes before them (for me it's 5:30 am).
Make your kids part of the routine, explain to them that every morning you are both doing this or that, and just keep doing it until it's part of waking up. For example, you can tell them you are drinking your coffee and they can get some milk and play, or watch 1 episode of their favorite show. I have been telling my daughter since she was 3 that I need to read 10 pages of my book when I wake up, and that she has 10 minutes of free play. At some point, she would just grab her toys and sit on our living room floor to play; it was hard the first weeks because she kept wanting me to play with her.
This is a no-brainer, lots of studies support the idea that exercise improves sleep. Here is one article you can read if you want to know more. Yes, it gets hard with kids, but you don't have to do a long workout or go to the gym, a 20 to 25-minute walk with your kids might do the trick.
Use light strategically
Natural light helps night owls to shift their circadian rhythm; try to get some sunlight early in the morning. You don't have to go outside, you can just sit near a window or even use a light therapy lamp. (I didn't know this existed! But I found some options here).
Shift your mealtimes
If you are going to change your bedtime and waketime, keep in mind to also change your meals. If you are waking up earlier, have breakfast early, also, have an early dinner.
Keep your caffeine in mind
If you are a coffee lover, keep in mind that caffeine can affect your sleep; try to keep away from caffeine fro at least 6 hours before your bedtime.
I hope you find all this information useful, you can read the full article here. Remember it is nor something that will change from one day to another, you got to stay consistent.
“Change is hard at first,Messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” -Robin Sharma
For the Spanish version of this article, click here