Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

December 16, 2019

RISE AND SHINE: How to Become a Morning Person from a Morning Show Host.

     I'm not a Kardashian fan, but I couldn't resist the Kylie Jenner reference for the title of this post haha! I'm just a week and a half shy of my one year anniversary of being a morning radio host. Work-wise it's been an incredible year full of learning, but the biggest challenge of the year has nothing to do with actually being on-air or relating to my co-host. The toughest part has definitely been my schedule. Over the past year, I've completely changed my lifestyle to accommodate my crazy work hours. I've gone from being the biggest night owl in the world back in college, to liking mornings in my first couple years after school, to training myself to wake up well before the sun for life as a morning show host! 

     I try to be a pretty humble person and there's not a lot of things that I'd say I'm an "expert" on, but I'd say I'm pretty well qualified to give advice about waking up early and becoming a morning person. Some of my Charlottesville girlfriends were recently asking my advice on this, and I figured it would make a great blog post topic!

{Photo originally from this post

My current work schedule / background with mornings:
     I am not joking when I tell you that I was the biggest night owl ever in college. I think I could count on one hand the number of times I went to bed before midnight in all four years. 8am classes were a literal nightmare for me (and unfortunately I had them my whole senior year!). The winter after I graduated college, I was able to get a three month long morning radio internship, which I knew would be a real wake up call (pun intended) with not being such a night owl. Fortunately it was only three days a week and not five, but it was still a shock for me to go from being big night owl to suddenly waking up at 3:30am and going to bed before 9pm. I was able to make it work though during those few months, and it gave me confidence that I could potentially make the schedule thing work if my dream of being a morning show host ever came true in the future.
     At my first radio job in Vermont, I was a midday and afternoon radio host, so I didn't have to be at work until 10am (and later some days). Even though I technically could've slept in quite late, I found I preferred to wake up by 7am weekday mornings! I loved that time to myself. I'd watch the TODAY show, cook full breakfasts, work on blog posts and emails, and work out 2-3 mornings a week as well- all of that before my workday even began!
    My morning radio host dream came true last year on December 26th, but the other thing that came true was the drastic change to my weekday schedule. I currently wake up weekdays at 3:30am for work, and I try to go to bed on work nights between 8-8:30pm, so I can hopefully get at least seven hours of sleep. Now I'm forced to be an extreme morning person!

Why to become a morning person:
     First and foremost- a disclaimer that in this blog post by "morning person" I don't mean waking up at 3:30! I realize that's too early for anyone to want to be up at, except for unique work situations like I currently have. By morning person I mean waking up weekdays sometime in the 5-7am range! I feel like that's much more normal for those with 9-5 type jobs.
      In college, I suffered from chronic migraines. They got so bad and so frequent that I eventually had to go on a prescription medication to help with them. Now that I've been on a strict bedtime and waking up schedule for the last year, I am 100% convinced if I had been as motivated with bedtimes in college I wouldn't have had such frequent migraines! Despite the fact that I wake up well before dawn, I rarely get headaches anymore. I also feel very awake and alert for most of the day! On Saturdays sometimes my sleep schedule does get a bit off (and sometimes I'm up pretty late on Friday nights), and I never feel quite my same weekday focused self. There's something about waking up early day after day that really does make you feel more awake and alert!
     There are so many other reasons it's fun to be a morning person too. You get to enjoy more daylight, even during the darkest points of the year like December. You can be very productive before your workday begins- if you work a traditional 9-5 and are awake by 6am every weekday, you can accomplish so much before the workday begins. If you have suffered from insomnia at night, it will most likely decrease the more you get into the routine of waking up early. So many more reasons that I could go on about! I wish I had become a morning person years earlier.

How to become a morning person: 

  • Start transitioning gradually: You're not going to go from waking up at the last possible second before being late for work to suddenly jumping awake at 5am each morning. That's just not possible! Set a goal for yourself over the course of a month: set your alarm 30 minutes earlier the first week, an hour later the second week... you get the point! This type of schedule change doesn't happen overnight. Do the same thing with bedtime! Gradually start getting into bed earlier each weeknight.
  • Say no to snooze: I've always hated the snooze button and now that I wake up so early I'm thankful for that! When the alarm goes off... it's off! You're awake! I know that probably sounds painful but it helps so much. I usually allow myself about 15 minutes on my phone in the mornings to fully wake up- the light from my phone screen helps with that. But never the snooze button! I shut it off on all my iPhone alarms.
  • Move at least one task a morning to do before work: If you're going to be getting up earlier, you need something to motivate you to do that! My challenge to you is find one thing each morning to look forward to doing before work with your extra time. That could be going to the gym, cooking something awesome to take with you for lunch, quiet time and bible reading, a chore around your house, catching up on a TV show or watching one of the morning ones... etc! 
  • Don't watch TV within an hour of bedtime: I find that it's so hard to turn it off- especially in the age of Netflix you always want to stay up for one more episode! And sometimes all of the light from the TV and getting invested in TV show plots can actually leave me feeling more awake. On weeknights I try never to watch it right before bed.
  • Read before bed: Instead of TV- try reading before bed! I am a huge bookworm so I love knocking out a few chapters of a novel. But if that's not your thing- even things like magazines or cookbooks can work! 
  • Lay out clothes the night before: I've been doing this since high school at least, but there is something about prepping this the night before that leaves me feeling ready for the next morning. 
  • Don't be afraid to say no to late weeknight events: This might be something I have to do more than you would since I go to bed really early, but if you're making sleep a priority on weeknights, don't be afraid to say no to certain social things if they're happening late at night! There's never any shame in prioritizing an early bedtime and sleep. 
  • Leave ample time to get ready in the mornings: People are often shocked to learn I do a full face of makeup and my hair around 4am each weekday. The truth is that on the rare days I oversleep a little and go to work in athleisure clothes and no makeup, I don't feel myself! I always feel super tired and unfocused. Taking that extra time to wake up earlier and make myself feel pretty and presentable not only helps me to wake up while doing it, but makes me feel ready to take on the day and more awake at work later on- it's true! 
  • Put a "pause" on things after a certain time of night: Since I have a strict bedtime now, I can't stay up late anymore on weeknights getting caught up in things. Whether that's cooking or blog work or cleaning or other random things, I have learned that after a certain time of night I have to put a pause on what I'm doing. Few things are ever too important to sacrifice sleep and the next morning for- most things can be finished another time.
  • Consider Melatonin: A true God-send of a medicine! Melatonin is a natural sleep aid that's available over the counter. I've been taking it for years (way before coming a morning show host) but now I really rely on it. I recommend it to so many people! It really works and it doesn't have the side effects of prescription medication. Important to note though that you need to ask your doctor before taking this for the long haul- any medicine changes, even all natural ones, should be run by them. But I do recommend it! 

     These are the things that have worked for me over the past year! Even on weekends now I rarely sleep past 8am since I truly do love mornings. It's such a special time of day, and I wish I'd started appreciating that earlier in life. If you're trying to switch to an earlier schedule, I hope these tips help you!! 

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 


  1. I get up at 4:30 every morning- and I thought that was early!! Dont know how you do it friend but these are really good tips!

  2. These are great tips, I'm a stay at home mom but need to be up at 6:45. I always push my snooze button a couple of times before getting out of bed. Such a bad habit! I'm also guilty on staying up past my bedtime. I always wanted to become a morning person, it hasn't happened yet, but will try again with these tips. Thanks for sharing!
    Ellibelle's Corner

  3. Awesome tips! I'm a morning person now, but wasn't always! It definitely takes practice...and melatonin! Haha!

  4. I am seriously amazed by your job and all that goes into it. We all definitely don't understand the life of a morning host.

  5. This is seriously sooo helpful! I really need to become a morning person with a baby on the way, but I struggle. My husband told me to stop being on my screen and watching tv an hour before bed. This does help a lot. Also melanin really does work great.


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