My journey to becoming a morning person

Photo by Sara Schmitt

Over the course of the last year or so, I somehow managed to turn myself into a morning person.

I know, it makes no sense. College and high school students are notorious for staying up until the wee hours of the morning completing last minute assignments and studying for tests the next day. See, at some point last year, I realized that once I was up past 1 a.m., I was useless.

In my ripe old age of 21, I appear to have lost the ability to retain any knowledge gained past that time. A large part of that is probably the fact that I mainly study in my room, right next to my bed, so it is always just too easy to tell myself that I will “wake up in the morning and finish.”

In the early days of my transition to a morning person, I would go to bed early, around 1 a.m. and tell myself I would wake up at 6 a.m. and get a solid five hours of sleep! That sounds perfect right? Mornings are pretty hard though, and I would always end up snoozing until 7:30 a.m. and end up not getting as much as I should have done. That would transfer over to me skipping class, which led to more work piling up.

I realized that this system was not working, so I started taking some drastic measures. I started putting my phone on the other side of the room. I made my mom call me at 6 every morning and hoped I would resist the temptation to fall asleep afterwards. Those methods worked quite well. They were working pretty well for me, but of course that was right before summer break.

Two things happened over summer break that wrecked my morning person plan: going to India for two weeks and having a job. Visiting India was as always an amazing time, but I slept terribly. Between the heat, mosquitos and jet lag, I got maybe five to six hours of sleep per night if I was lucky.

My cousins and I would go to sleep at about midnight and wake up at 7 a.m., and I would unhappily lie awake for most of the night and end up napping at the worst times during the day. It was easy enough adjusting back to this time zone when I was back, but then work came into my life.

Being a morning person was entirely too easy this summer. I was commuting from home and had to up early, which meant that I was often in bed by 10:30 p.m. and got a solid eight or nine hours a night. The thing about that summer schedule was that it was incredibly stress-free. I had nothing keeping me up  too late and no tests constantly worrying me, just a few episodes of something on Netflix before going to bed.

School however, came crashing into my idealistic morning person goals with stress and deadlines, and suddenly I was constantly exhausted. I tried making smaller changes, like doing work during the day. I had already kickstarted my early mornings by making sure I
had all my classes starting about 9 a.m. So I have set some rules for myself. I go to bed by midnight most nights, and if I need to study more, I get up at 5:30 or 6 a.m.

Sure, I may not be up at 7 a.m. every day, but some mornings I try to have breakfast at a leisurely pace, and I really think that is what makes you a morning person in college.