How I Adjusted to the Morning Shift

2017 has brought a lot of curveballs in my life, including my job. I’m currently working on a nine-month contract at a major tech company in Austin. And I need to be at work at 6:45  every morning, Friday-Tuesday. My weekends are Wednesday and Thursdays. One thing I can definitely tell you about my job is that in five months, I’ve had three different shifts including that 6:45 one. After starting out as 3:15pm-midnight, I had to adapt to the early start time. It wasn’t easy, but I adjusted to the morning shift.

During training, I was at work until midnight every night. The way training was arranged, I was doing group activities at 11-11:30 at night, which meant there was a big group of us hyped up and ready to go. Not a good combination that late at night. Because I was so hyper after work, it would be 3-3:30 in the morning before I’d be tired enough to go to sleep.

How I Adjusted to the Morning Shift

After training, my schedule was changed to 1-1o pm every day so I at least was able to go to bed by midnight. During the transitional phase where they switched me from the training schedule to my current schedule, I had one day off in between switches. That first week at 6:45 a.m. was brutal. Over time though, I found a few ways to adjust my sleeping and I want to share what I did to adjust to my early shift.

1. I Started with Nights

A few weeks ago, I talked about the importance of my evening routine. Having an evening routine that’s quiet helps me get to bed early. I usually aim to be in bed, asleep by 10:15 at the very latest. By 8:30, I’m already thinking about going to sleep and I make sure I’m keeping calm in some way.

My nature is to be a night-owl, kind of. I can stay up to midnight or 1 AM, no problem. Given that I wake up at 5:30 in the morning, staying up until 1 a.m. isn’t really an option. So a lot of times if I feel like I’m not quite ready to go to bed, I’ll take some melatonin to help me go to sleep.

Trying to become a morning person? Well, it doesn't happen overnight (pun intended). Click To Tweet

2. Use the Bedtime App, iOS Gals

If you have an iPhone, you have a really awesome feature in the clock app called Bedtime. You tell your phone what time you need to wake up, how many hours you want to sleep, and let your phone do the rest. You can even program your phone to give you a notification an hour or thirty minutes before you need to go to bed. I can also program the app for specific nights. So Tuesday and Wednesday night, I allow myself to stay up later so I don’t need the reminder to go to bed.

3. Set the Alarm Early

I know that I personally can’t have an alarm go off and then jump right out of bed. I need time to lay around and slowly wake up. So I set my alarm on my phone to go off about twenty minutes before I need to get out of bed. This gives me a little extra time to just snuggle in bed and wake up on my own terms. I’m a girl that loves to snuggle in bed in the morning so I give myself time to do that.

4. Realize that You Might Need Help

Not a lot of coffee shops are open at 6 a.m. when I drive to work (I like to get there early), but Starbucks is. More days than not, I’ll swing by and pick up coffee or a Starbucks refresher that has a lot of caffeine. I love caffeine.

5. I Gave Myself Time to Naturally Adapt

As with anything in life, if you give yourself enough time, you’ll see your body naturally adjust. Now, four months later, I naturally wake up a few minutes before my alarm goes off. It’s easier to go to bed at 9:30 (though it pains me to say that) than it used to be. While I definitely took steps to make that early wake-up time earlier, I allowed myself the time to adapt.

Adapting to things in life isn’t a fast process. Even after four months of waking up early most mornings, I still have those mornings where getting up is hard. I’m tired and I struggle to stay awake at first. That’s okay, because it’s not every morning.

Making a huge change to your daily process can be hard. Give yourself the time to adjust.

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  1. November 29, 2017 / 8:41 am

    I’m a person that needs about four alarms to get out of bed: three on my phone, and one regular alarm clock that I’ve had since my freshman year of college, that sits across the room. My dad keeps asking me why it takes so many to get me up, and I’m pretty sure it’s because I don’t like going to work. But I prefer snuggling in bed and waking up slowly, too.