I’m a night owl who works morning shifts. Here are 7 tips that helped me become a morning person.

I have never been a morning person. I've always accepted that fact. 

In high school, I watched as my twin sister would leap out of bed with a spring in her step and hum a song as she drew back the curtains and flooded the room with light. *Shudder*

I, on the other hand, would creep out of my dark room with messy hair and general disdain for the world around me, remaining incapable of human conversation until caffeine was in my body.

It's fine, I'd tell myself. It's just who I am.

A visual representation, if you will:


As I grew up and started university, I became even more sure of my identity; I was a night owl through and through.

This is why working night shifts at Mamamia for two years worked pretty well for me. I could knock off around 10pm, stay up until 2am catching up on shows and life admin, and then spend the mornings sleeping in before work. 

But when I was asked if I wanted to move to the morning shift to write our live news feed - something I was incredibly excited about - I knew I had to jump on the opportunity. 

I’d just have to change my... entire existence first. No biggie. 

(Narrator: It was in fact, a biggie)

What followed were months of 4:30am alarms, brain fog and co-workers telling me I looked like a corpse by 2pm (they used kinder words, but based on the look of concern on their faces, I could tell it wasn't pretty).


Watch: How long should you nap for? Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia. 

But eventually, the unbelievable happened. 

With every alarm, I found myself slowly getting used to the early starts and somehow feeling more switched on in the mornings. 

Almost a year on, I have never, and will never be one to spring out of bed singing a tune in the morning (probably for the best). But dare I say I’ve come a long way, and can confidently say I've been converted to a morning person. 

So whether you're looking to get up early for work, uni or to hit the gym, here are seven tips and tricks I picked up along the way.

1. Gradually shift your bedtime earlier.

When you're trying to wake up earlier in the morning, everyone will tell you to immediately start going to bed early.

But if you're a fellow night owl like me, that's a lot easier said than done. 

When I started on the morning shift, my goal was to go to bed at 9:30pm for a 4:30am wake up. But as someone who was used to going to bed around 1am, 9:30pm seemed like the late afternoon. 


So I decided to ease into it. For the first week, I set my bedtime to 11:00pm. When that worked, I shifted it earlier to 10:00pm and eventually found myself in bed by 9:30pm. 

Yes, it meant I was extremely tired at the beginning, but my body eventually got used to the idea that my night ends at 9:30pm.

2. Write out a morning to-do list with timings.

It sounds stupidly simple, but it works. 

If you're anything like me, your brain is annoyingly slow to 'wake up' in the morning and you'll usually waste a good chunk of time forgetting how to function. Or just... staring... into... space.... before you actually get anything done.

To help me get moving in the mornings, I wrote out a list on my phone with everything  - and I mean EVERYTHING - I needed to get done from the moment I woke up to the moment I walked out the door. I even jotted down 'grabbing lunch out of the fridge' and 'choosing a podcast to listen to' (I will get to that later).

As someone who is used to working to a deadline, I then assigned every task a timing.

Not only did this help me calculate exactly when I needed to set my alarm to preserve every moment of precious sleep, but it gave me a reality check when I caught myself drifting off into my cereal. 

Here's what mine looked like at the beginning.


Image: Supplied. 

After two weeks, I had my new morning routine down pat and I was able to ditch the list completely, (and give myself a few extra minutes of sleep.)

3. Avoid leaving any decisions to the morning.

It's annoying to hear, but I learnt the hard way that the key to a smooth morning is prepping the night before.

If I can, I try to avoid making any decisions in the morning so I can simply get up and get going. 


Every night, right before bed, I'll lay out my entire outfit for the next day (including a jacket or cold-weather option if Sydney decides to throw a curve ball like it so often does), pack my bag, fill up my water bottle (a must for helping me stay awake in the morning) and pack some leftovers in the fridge for lunch the next day. 

4. Blast the music or listen to a podcast. 

Music really boosts my mood in the morning, especially when I'm putting on makeup in a cold bathroom at 5am. 

Some mornings I listen to a new favourite song of the week on repeat and other days (usually after listening to my new favourite song on repeat), I get bored and opt for a podcast. One of my favourites is Mamamia's well-being podcast Fill My Cup, which always helps me feel relaxed in the morning if I wake up over-thinking about the big day ahead. 

Listen to Fill My Cup, a well-being podcast that will give you practical tools to make your week that little bit better. Post continues below.

5. Exercise during the day. I promise, it's worth it. 

If there's one thing that helps me feel tired by 9:30pm, it's exercise. 

I'll easily notice the difference on the days I work out and the days I don't, come bedtime. 

If you're trying to wake up early for work, uni or another commitment, try to sneak in exercise somewhere in your day even if it's just a 20-minute walk, or an at home work-out.


By bedtime, you'll find yourself drifting off faster when your head hits the pillow. 

6. Turn on 'night shift' on your phone.

This is one I recently started doing. 

To help get you ready for bed, set up 'night shift' on your iPhone (if you have one), to turn on a couple of hours before you go to sleep. This will change the display of your phone to appear warmer which well help you get a better night's rest.

Just go into 'display and brightness' in your phone's settings and select 'night shift'. I usually set mine to switch on at 7pm.

For the Android users among us, many devices have a 'blue-light filter', which performs the same function.

Image: Supplied.


7. Get off your phone (or at least social media) 30 minutes before bed. 

I know, I know, you've heard it before. But avoiding your phone before bed will mean you'll get a better night sleep and prevents you from falling into the dreaded 1am TikTok trap. 

My boyfriend has been swapping phone time for 30 minutes of reading before bed for the past few months and it's helped him fall asleep a lot quicker.

I've tried it a few times myself, but as a TikTok addict I always struggle to put my phone down. 

Instead, I try and avoid looking at any social media 30 minutes before bed. That means no TikTok, no one-last Instagram scroll or responding to someone on Facebook messenger... which leaves me with not a lot of options other than listening to a podcast. 

If that's the case, I'll set my podcast to time out after 30 minutes so it doesn't wake me up during the night. 

If you’re a fellow night owl, give this tip and the others a go and you never know - you might find yourself not completely hating the early morning life. 

Feature Image: Supplied.