There are two types of people in this world: those who are up with the sun and finish all of their tasks before the day has really started, and those who stay up into the wee hours of the night working because it’s the time they feel the most alive. In other words: morning birds and night owls.
Most people know if they’re a morning bird or a night owl, but something they don’t know is how to customize their morning and nighttime routines to cater to their sleeping patterns.
The Importance of Routines
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In general, the morning birds (or larks) are praised more in today’s society because their natural rhythm and routines fit into the mold society and hustle culture has laid out for us. Right now, people are getting praised for joining the 5 am club and getting all their tasks checked off before they stumble into work at 8 in the morning.
But there is a way to cater to your individual sleep pattern without making it a checklist.
Alex Glover, a nutritionist, explains, “Around 30% of us have the ‘Early Bird’ rhythm, 40% of us sit somewhere in the middle [also known as hummingbirds] and the remaining 30% are known as ‘Night Owls.’
So how do we cater to each type of ‘bird’ in each stage?
The Early Bird Morning Routine
Glover describes early birds as those “who tend to have an earlier sleeping pattern — typically waking before 7 am, they usually feel most energetic at the start of the day, but can begin to lack energy as the day goes on, feeling very tired by the evening.”
If this description fits you, it might be best to get all of your hard hitters for the day out of the way first.
Alice Liveing, a fitness expert and early bird herself, suggests that this routine should start with a workout.
She says, “Physical exercise is important for both our physical and mental health and is a great way to ensure we’re using the energy we consume during the day, so we feel restful in the evening.” While she doesn’t suggest that early birds get up and do a HIIT first thing, yoga, pilates, barre, and walking are great options to get the earliest risers going.
Right after working out, larks need to properly fuel their bodies. Their breakfasts should consist of oats, fiber, and protein. Overnight oats are always a great breakfast staple for these fast-movers.
By the time the early birds’ morning is over and the afternoon slump creeps in, instead of running to caffeine, Alex suggests opting for a natural energy booster like B12, so your energy isn’t doubly zapped when the caffeine crash comes.
The Night Owl Morning Routine
While an early to bed and early to rise routine is praised more frequently in today’s culture, Alex warns against night owls changing their routines. He says the biggest mistake people make “is trying too hard to go against their own sleep cycle… Our sleep is hard-wired into our genes, and unfortunately, there is very little we can do to change this.”
He suggests that night owls not start their day by jumping out of bed and onto their yoga mats. Instead, they need to ease into a lifestyle that allows them to wake up earlier without ruining their natural sleep cycles.
Alex says, “Natural light is one of the main signals to our internal clocks that it’s time to wake up.” He also notes that many night owls tend to skip breakfast or delay their lunches, but eating a healthy and balanced meal first thing might provide them the energy they need for their mornings. He suggests “something light and simple but packed full of slow-release carbohydrates to maintain energy levels throughout the day until lunch, such as a wholegrain-based muffin or snack bar.”
He also suggests that night owls work out after work, but not too late in the evening, or else they’ll have high energy right before bed.
Alex warns night owls not to just stick to this routine during the weekdays, but also the weekends. He says “Your body will ultimately thank you for going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, because consistency is something your body needs.”
Are you a morning bird or a night owl? Comment below!
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