The following information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
Alisha D. wants to become a morning person. This Circle of Moms member has always been more alert at night than in the morning. Her oldest child will soon be starting school. "Problem is, I just don’t have the energy to wake so early," she worries.
How do life-long night owls finesse the early morning duties that go along with parenting — like crack-of-dawn feedings, racing to the sitter's before work, and getting kids to early morning sports practices?
Here, night owl moms share tips for coping with the early morning hours.
1. Resolve to Stick to a New Wake-Up Time
One of the keys to becoming a morning person is forcing yourself to stick with a new wake-up time until your body learns to expect it. As Laura W. suggests: “Don’t press the snooze button on your alarm clock."
Jennifer S. agrees: “You can’t give up too early on getting up early. Keep setting your alarm for the 5-5:30 a.m. whichever you prefer, and keep getting up at that time. When you hit the point that it is so hard in the morning to get up, get up anyway. . . .If you keep waking up at the same time every day your body will adjust. This includes weekends too. Until your body is fully adjusted (usually takes two to three weeks), you can't let yourself sleep in. even once."
2. Start the Day with Coffee
There’s nothing like coffee to give moms who aren’t used to welcoming the morning a jump start. Leslie says that her “magic cure” for transforming from late night mom to morning person is coffee. “I wish there was some great insight or magic cure, but the truth is, if we all admit it. . . coffee is the breath of fresh air every day.” She recommends using that cup of Joe as an excuse to ease into the day: “Since my children are usually up fairly early we have a little tradition. Mom gets her coffee and they get warm chocolate milk.”
3. Keep Fatigue at Bay by Staying Busy
Many moms say that fatigue's antidote is activity, not rest. As Leslie shares, "Keeping your kids busy with activities certainly helps." If your fatigue drags on as the day gets going, Jennifer suggests keeping yourself busy and avoiding naps. "By night you will be tired enough that you will go to bed early," she says, which will help your body adjust to an early morning start. She also suggests scheduling early morning activity: "talk a friend into an early morning walk/jog while your significant other is still home so you don't have to wake the kids. That way you get the blood moving early, and you know you have someone else counting on you to get up early."
4. Play During the Day, Not at Night
Though many moms use the late evening hours "to get on the computer and read" or to watch TV, these night owl habits becomes impractical when you have to rise early to be on duty for your kids. Katherine C. says that when she burns the candles at both ends like this, she winds up exhausted, and falls asleep with her daughter by 7pm. She now recommends shifting "me time" to the daytime whenever possible.
5. Try Melatonin
Some Circle of Moms member rely on sleep aids to get to bed early and wake up relaxed, and quite a few recommend melatonin. Amanda D. explains that "Melatonin is what our body produces to make us sleep," and Daisy R. says the supplements are "super easy," and don't cause next-day grogginess.
Camelia G. cautions that Melatonin knocks her out. "You may want to try half a tablet first and then adjust as needed. I keep the monitor on in my room and if my little one needs me during the night I wake up.”
6. Adjust Your Schedule Gradually
It’s unrealistic for night owl moms to turn into morning people overnight. Adjust your schedule gradually, suggests Belinda H. “Instead of going to bed so much earlier every night, try to do it gradually and push bedtime back about 15-30 minutes every few nights."
7. Take a Multi-Vitamin
If you don't have time to buoy your energy with a nutritious, well-balanced diet, Laura L. and Brenda M. both recommend a good vitamin supplement. “When I take a multi-vitamin every day I wake up feeling much more refreshed and ready to go, and can maintain more energy throughout the day,” says Laura. Brenda takes a vitamin vitality pack, and reports that it helps with "energy, focus, and endurance."
If you still struggle with early morning parenting duties, take comfort in the promise that your kids will not always need you to be up at the crack of dawn. In the meantime, as Leslie says, "Sometimes you just endure. Sometimes it is all about just surviving."
The preceding information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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