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Rise and shine
Tips for becoming a morning person:
•Position your alarm clock away from your bed so you will be forced to get up to turn it off in the morning. Once you’re up, stay up!
•Ready your coffee pot the night before, so all you have to do is flip a switch in the morning.
•Let the light in. As soon as you wake up, throw open the blinds and let the sunlight flow in. If you can afford it, get a wake-up light box or Philips goLITE to help you wake up.
•Keep a regular bedtime and wake up at the same time each day. Maintain the schedule on weekends, too, to create a pattern that you will instinctively follow after a time.
•Feel free to bribe yourself.

You can train to become ‘morning person’

Chip Colonna of Collierville, Tenn., is a morning person. Awake and out of bed by 4:15 a.m. Workout at 4:30. Out the door by 6, and arrives to his office at 6:30 a.m.

As director of marketing at Terminix, he’s a firm believer in the old adage: the early bird gets the worm.

“Getting up allows me time to get organized, and that translates into a more efficient, productive day,” he explains. And that makes Colonna a happy man.

Indeed, according to new research conducted at the University of Toronto, morning people are not only markedly happier than their non-morning counterparts, but are also healthier and more positive in attitude. Other studies show that early risers are also more proactive, and as a result enjoy more success in life.

Self-help author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins, who has mentored millions on the how-tos of achieving success in life, begs to differ. He sees no correlation between being a morning people and success.

“I know people who are late-night people that are brilliant and incredibly successful, and I know morning people who are, too. I’m a nighttime person,” says Robbins, adding that he routinely goes to bed as late as 3 or 4 a.m.

Still other studies claim that a person’s tendency to “morning-ness” or “evening-ness” (i.e., whether one is a morning person or not) is genetically predetermined by a person’s chronotype and therefore difficult to change. Again, Robbins cries foul.

“This idea that you have a genetic structure that provides this unalterable blueprint,” he says, “is totally antiquated. It’s just not true.”

Instead, he points to cutting-edge research in the field of epigenetics that claims a person’s environment, not genetic makeup, determines one’s behavior.“If you think you were born to be a morning person or born to be a night person, you might have a pattern, but that pattern can be changed by conditioning, by changing your environment long enough,” says Robbins.

In simple terms: If you’re not a morning person and want to be one, there’s hope.

Time-management expert Laura Vanderkam, author of “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast,” says the secret to change is simple.

“The difference in being a morning person boils down to habits,” she explains. “And we can all train ourselves to have better morning habits.”

If you want to wake up early – and enjoy it – Vanderkam says you first need a good reason to get up in the morning.

“You want morning rituals that make you excited. Do something you love. Maybe you love to paint,” she explains. “Or read a book or the newspaper.” The point, she says, is to find something you want to do in the morning.

First, Perkins suggests working out a new bedtime, keeping in mind that we sleep in cycles of 90 minutes. Assuming your desired new wake-up time is 6 a.m., Jenkins explains, “allow 15 minutes to wake up (5:45 a.m.), subtract at least five cycles of 90 minutes (10:15 p.m.) and allow 15 minutes to fall asleep. Your new bedtime should be 10 p.m.”

Robbins suggests creating a list at bedtime of what you wish to accomplish the following day.

“I like to lay out what I think are going to be my top three to five things for the next day before I go to sleep. What are the three to five most importance outcomes you want to create?”