6 steps to becoming a morning person

Do you refuse to drag yourself out of bed until the you’ve hit the snooze button repeatedly? We spoke to the host of an early-morning talk show for some no-fail tips on becoming an early riser

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6 steps to becoming a morning person

Make mornings easier

As co-host of Citytv’s early-morning talk show, Breakfast Television Toronto, Dina Pugliese can be seen live on air every weekday at 5:30 a.m. “I usually go to bed at 7 p.m. and am up at 4 a.m.,” says Pugliese. “At the ‘crack of black,’ I call it!”

The energetic talk show host has a sassy sense of humour, but when it comes to her sleep schedule, she doesn’t kid around. “The one thing in my life I’m most disciplined about is my sleep. It’s priority number one.”

So, how does she manage to look so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed each morning? Pugliese lets us in on some of her “morning person” secrets – proven methods you can use to become an early riser too.

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Wind down at least one hour before bedtime

Pugliese says it’s important to not drink or do anything that’s stimulating when you’re preparing for sleep. A quiet setting will get your body ready for bed and will also mentally prepare you for sleep. It’s hard to do this if at 9 p.m. your surroundings are just as loud and bright as they are at 5 p.m., so keep lighting and volumes (of the stereo, television – and even voices) at a minimum.

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cereal in bed

Choose carbs for a bedtime snack

“I love carbs at night,” proclaims Pugliese. “I’ll usually have a bowl of cereal with milk because I find that carbs help put me in a good sleep mode.” And she’s right. Carbohydrates make tryptophan (an amino acid that causes sleepiness) more available to the brain, which is why carb-heavy meals can make you feel drowsy. Additionally, certain proteins are the building blocks of tryptophan, so if you’re looking for a sure-fire snooze snack, opt for one that contains both a carbohydrate and protein, such as Pugliese’s fave, cereal with milk – or try peanut butter on toast or cheese and crackers.

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Stay away from alcohol at bedtime

“I do occasionally like the vino at night,” says Pugliese, but she cautions against drinking alcohol before bedtime since it’s a culprit for shallow sleep. Indeed, she’s right yet again. Consuming alcohol may help you to relax and fall asleep in the short term; however, your overall sleep cycle will be disrupted. Alcohol prevents you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, which is why you may wake up still feeling tired even though you were in bed for a significant amount of time. Skip the glass of wine at dinner so you’re not robbed of a good night’s rest.

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Commit to a strict no-tech policy

We all know how stimulating it can be to be on our gadgets, so keeping the laptop, smartphone, and other tech devices out of the bedroom is a step in the right direction to get into sleep mode. Pugliese says the hour before she goes to sleep, she doesn’t take phone calls, watch TV, check emails or social media sites (that’s right, no Facebook updates or tweets allowed). Instead, Pugliese will cozy up in bed with a good read.

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Create a snooze-friendly environment

In addition to putting away the tech gadgets, Pugliese is a firm believer in creating a sleep sanctuary. “It’s like a little kid’s bedtime routine in the sense that it’s very regimented – I’ll get into my cool, dark bedroom, draw the black curtains closed and do some light reading with the lamp on.” As you may have guessed, a cool, dark room is best for promoting a long, deep sleep. The coolness of the room allows you to sleep comfortably. And keeping light out, whether it’s natural or artificial, is ideal, since light inhibits the secretion of sleep-inducing melatonin.

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Find a reason to love waking up early

Get motivated to get out of bed by choosing a morning hobby that means something to you.

“The thing that makes waking up so early a joy is getting to be on an incredible show with an extremely dedicated audience,” says Pugliese. “We have the best crew, everyone from the cameraman to the producers is in such a good mood. There’s a feeling of a pre-dawn community [and] it’s something I never experienced in my entire career working for three different networks.”

Okay – so you might not have a morning show to host at 5 a.m. every day, but your motivation doesn’t have to be anything big – it just has to be important enough to get you up and going. Read a favourite magazine or blog, get in an early-morning workout, watch a few minutes of the news, or listen to your favourite morning radio show. Even being able to relax and sip a cup of coffee instead of rushing out the door can be a great reward.

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