Check out the video from the Art of Manliness website. It's nicely done, quick, and very informative. (Yes it applies to women, as well.) ;)

As a lifelong night owl, early mornings and I haven't always played well together...well, at least not since college. Even then, I did my best to avoid classes that started before 9 a.m. Even better? No classes before 10 a.m. I did feel brave one semester and took a particularly challenging math class at 8 a.m. THAT didn't go very well. Then again, even if I'd been an early bird back then, I'm not sure it would've gone much better. However, I digress.

Even now, if I had my druthers, I'd start the workday around 10 a.m. and work through about 7 or 8 p.m. However, that's not the schedule our world runs on in many professions and/or for anyone with kids who attend school. Thus, we are compelled to face the truth that mornings are going to go much more smoothly if we just do our best to embrace them.  Obviously, there are many who work at night, so one could create something similar by flipping the schedule to fit their needs. 

So, I've found that the mornings when I rise early enough to have a bit of quiet time before the mad rush of the day begins, the entire day flows more smoothly. It's a great time to meditate, if that's something you do. Even just sitting outside with your morning beverage of choice and watching the sun come up can set a nice tone. Trying to find more time to get that always-intentioned exercise in? You just found it.

So, the thing is: I still love the nighttime. I love the quieter pace of those hours, the hushed tones, relaxed conversation, and having time to spend on something I just genuinely enjoy doing that I don't have time for in the main thrust of the day. But you know what? Most of those things I listed above can almost be copied and pasted to the early morning hours.

I have had to begrudgingly admit to myself that the opposite isn't exactly true. Many things I love to do at night can be done in the early morning. But, by the time the evening rolls around I simply don't have the same amount of energy--both physical and mental--that I do earlier in the day. (One of the perks of getting a bit older, eh?) ;)

Usually when I stay up too late, I tend to waste those hours doing things that don't always move me toward my goals and then go to bed too late to wake up early. Then you know how it goes: you wake up at the last possible minute, fling yourself into getting ready, and maybe or maybe not having breakfast before heading to work or (for parents) the "OMG the kids are going to be late for school" panic kicks in and so on. That's not the best way to start the next day feeling on top of things.

Something I've found to be very helpful is to create a morning ritual--and to make sure it's something I can look forward to when I get up. Here's a super abbreviated look at what I would consider to be a nice morning routine:

Arise when the alarm goes off (without hitting snooze, as this can just make you more tired if you fall back asleep and wake up again.)

Do basic morning grooming so I don't frighten anyone, including myself, if I happen to check a mirror.

Make the bed and meditate for 5-10 minutes (More if I can)

Coffee outside on the porch, followed by breakfast (unless I'm exercising, then just a snack and breakfast after)

Get ready for the day and whatever that entails 

Yours could look completely different. The point is the routine and creating a new morning habit. Trust me, it can give you have more focus when you feel groggy and help curb the temptation crawl back into bed and say to heck with it all.

Try waking up just fifteen minutes earlier than you normally would for a week. Then keep moving it back until you reach the time you ultimately want to awaken on a daily basis. There's also many more helpful tips from the National Sleep Foundation here. Also, I invite you to check out the video from The Art of Manliness website--it's a fun and quick watch.

I'm working on it. If you are too, I wish you sweet dreams and bright mornings. Let's end with a little reminder from a fellow who definitely accomplished much in his life:

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
~Benjamin Franklin

I guess we'll find out, Ben. ;)

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