How I became a (kinda) morning person

Yes, it’s me. You’re still reading my blog and seeing words you’d probably never thought you’d see. Also, you may be new here and like, “Who cares?” but I tell ya, this is a big deal.

My OG friends here (thank you!!) know that I’m a night owl and have been for most of my life. It’s gotten more intense since we had kids. I LOVED the silence and alone time at night, so I started staying up later to enjoy a couple of shows and a glass of wine after the girls went to sleep. It’s gotten exponentially worse over the past year when the pandemic hit. Since the Pilot was been traveling constantly and I’d often be here solo with the girls all day, nighttime was my only chance to accomplish work-related stuff. (I can work in spurts during the day while they’re home but am so much more productive with a solid chunk of time.) I’d easily stay up until 1-2am each night to finish a blog post or work on behind-the-scenes stuff, and when I woke up (as late as possible), I felt groggy and tired.

Over the past 2ish weeks, I’ve woken up BEFORE my alarm and have felt rested and energized. It’s so weird, and so incredibly amazing, I thought I’d share the changes I made in today’s blog post. Some of these may seem super obvious, but like many things, the *simple* things are not always easy.

Here are some of the things I’ve done to wake up earlier each day and not hate the world:

1) Go to bed earlier. You may be like, “Well duh, Gina” but this has been hard for me to do. Once I started making it a priority, this has made waking up early so much easier and I’m still able to get 8ish hours of sleep each night. In the past, when I’ve tried to wake up earlier, I didn’t bring my bedtime down at all… which made it impossible to stick to for the long haul. Going to bed earlier has cut into my work time each day, but I find that I’m more productive and focused during the daytime work blocks.

2) No more TV or checking my phone before bed. 9pm, and I’m done with the phone. With my monthly book goal, I also haven’t been watching TV. There isn’t anything on that I really want to watch right now – this will prob change when the next great Netflix series comes out, but it’s currently a drought – and reading helps me wind down before bed.

3) Exercise earlier in the day. I try to exercise in the morning now, whether the girls are at home or at school. Sometimes they’ll hang out with me while I lift weights in the garage or ride the Peloton, and sometimes they’ll hang out and watch a show. Working out earlier energizes me for the day and when I used to work out at night, I’d sometimes have a hard time relaxing into sleep mode.

4) Not eating after 7pm and no late-night alcohol. When I have wine or a cocktail later in the evening, my Oura ring lets me know. It’s basically like, “DO NOTHING, your sleep quality was horrible.” The same thing goes for late-night food. Your heart rate elevates as your body works to metabolize the food, which can disrupt sleep. I’ve been really focusing on eating more protein and veggies over the past couple of weeks and I think it’s given me extra energy in the morning.

5) My usual sleep helpers: the Oranifi gold power mixed with warm almond milk (code FITNESSISTA), Equilibria mint drops (code FITNESSISTA), the best sauna blanket, and this magnesium oil. All of these things help to make sleep more restorative, even when the Pilot is traveling.

6) Resetting my circadian rhythm: throwing the curtains open as soon as I’m awake and stepping into the sunshine, moving my body as soon as I’m awake, time outdoors every single day, and focusing on winding down as soon as the sun goes down. More of my tips for better sleep are in this post. 

My goal is to get to the point where I can have coffee and get some work done or a workout in before the girls are awake. 🙂

So tell me friends: are you a night owl or an early bird?



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  1. Allison D on March 22, 2021 at 7:30 am

    We are such earlier rises at my house but go to bed so, so early. The pandemic has made it more extreme since there are no social outings in the evening or late kid sports practices, etc. It works for us but we are are on a different schedule from most people!

    • NSH on March 22, 2021 at 7:40 am

      It sounds like our family schedule is similar to yours, Allison D! I sometimes joke that we could milk cows if we had them in our backyard in Boston;) My daughter is 6.5yo and sleeps by 7pm and the adults go to bed by 9pm. We all wake by 5:45am! I feel like our family has a different rhythm than most especially with very little socializing during the pandemic and how dark it gets here in the winter months.

      Like Gina suggests, the TV is off in our home by 6:00pm and I read a book on the kindle before bed (no phones etc). I feel less stressed with less digital stimuli and sleep easier.

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2021 at 11:18 am

      yes, exactly! we very rarely do anything in the evenings anymore, so it’s much easier to crash out at a reasonable time

  2. Emily on March 22, 2021 at 8:14 am

    I’m a night owl who wishes I could be an early riser. I go through phases where I’ll start waking up early and having some “‘me time” but it doesn’t take much to throw me back into my old ways. I’m pregnant now and love sleep and I know when I get back into the newborn phase I’ll be a walking zombie again, but maybe one day! Haha

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2021 at 11:19 am

      hahah oh man. i used to scoff at people who said, “sleep while you can!!” when i was pregnant, but i get it now. i’m excited for you!! the newborn squishy phase is so sweet

  3. Jessie on March 22, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    I’m definitely a morning person. I like going to bed before 10 and waking up at 6 in this pandemic world. Back when I actually had to drive to work I would wake up at 5 to work out, walk the dog, and read before work. Now I sleep in a bit and read and walk before work, and save my workout for lunchtime. I like to read before bed as well and try to enforce a “don’t press play after 8:30 pm” rule 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2021 at 1:38 pm

      i love the idea of walking before work! i’m definitely going to try and do that as the weather warms up and the pilot is here more often in the mornings 🙂

  4. Angie on March 22, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    I’ve started getting up early to have my quiet time in the morning before the kids get up rather than at night. I approach them and the day with a much more positive attitude that way. I also approach bedtime more positively when it’s not the only thing in the way of my “quiet time.” Thanks for the tips!

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2021 at 1:39 pm

      YES. bed time used to get in the way off quiet time and it doesn’t feel like that any more. i feel much happier when i wake up a bit before the kiddos and can start the day on my terms, instead of the alarm’s 😉

  5. Charlene on March 22, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    I am a morning person but caffeine helps

  6. Amanda on March 22, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    This is so timely for me. I’m trying to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier but my sleep isn’t that good or I can’t fall asleep if I go to bed earlier. Hoping some of these tips can help me. Thanks for sharing!!

  7. Josie on March 23, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Night owl because that’s my quiet time after the kids are in bed! I attempt to watch TV and pretend I’m going to fold laundry while I watch, but just fall asleep on the couch… Last week I made a rule that I needed to be in my bedroom before 12. I did pretty good and I really noticed a difference the next morning. 2 days in to this week and not so good! Especially with an early bird of a 6 yr old and 2 year old!

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