People who are early to bed and early to rise are healthy, wealthy and wise, Ben Franklin once famously said. And now you can add "happy" to that list: Morning people are more likely to feel chipper and energetic than night owls, according to new research from the University of Toronto. For those of us who consistently get up on the wrong side of the bed when it comes to early rising, here's how to become a morning person:
1. Shut down
Reduce your evening screen time. TVs, iPads, computers and some smartphones emit a type of light that limits your body's natural production of melatonin. This prevents you from feeling tired, leading to unhealthy night-owl tendencies.
2. Let the sunshine in
Harness the sun's power to reset your body's sleep rhythms. Start by getting up at your usual hour, but spend the first 15 minutes of your day sitting or walking in direct sunlight. Continue to do this every morning, but start getting out of bed 20 minutes earlier each day. Eventually, you'll naturally want to go to bed earlier too, and rising early won't feel like a struggle.
3. Strategize your daylight hours
Save your "awake" activities — things like working, exercising, watching TV or meeting up with friends — for the daylight hours. When the sun goes down, you should be winding down, too. Reserve your evenings for quiet activities such as reading, meditating or listening to mellow music.
4. Plan for late nights
If your schedule occasionally demands that you stay up late, buy light-blocking window shades. This will prevent the morning rays from disrupting your last few hours of ZZZs. Also, make sure your bedroom is cool and quiet to promote middle-of-the-night-quality rest.