Working as a substitute teacher or paraprofessional, you are often required to wake up early to find jobs. Most positions open up late at night or early in the morning due to last minute sicknesses or emergencies. But if you’re not awake and checking Aesop for these openings, you may be missing out on some great opportunities.
In a previous blog post, The Benefits of Structure and Routine, we stressed the importance of rising early to accept assignments, prepare for your day, and arrive at the school ahead of schedule in order to be successful as a substitute. But if you’re not naturally a morning person, it can be difficult to adjust to this lifestyle.
Most studies recommend the same tips for becoming a morning person:
- Go to bed earlier
- Schedule a set bedtime
- Wake up at the same time every day
- Don’t hit the snooze button
- Create a nighttime routine
- Reduce your screen time before bed
- Remove electronics from your bedroom
- Allow natural light in
- Workout in the mornings
- Create a positive morning routine
Rather than rehash this advice, and in order to give you more incentive to make a change, we’re going to discuss the other reasons for why it’s beneficial to become a morning person.
You’ll exercise more.
If you’re also looking to improve your workout habits, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone by becoming a morning person. Data from fitness tracker users demonstrates that people who exercise between 5 and 6 AM are more consistent with their workouts than those who exercise later in the day. It’s often easier to schedule exercise time in the mornings because there are fewer distractions and conflicting plans. Your willpower also tends to be stronger in the morning, so you can make those hours count!
You’ll feel happier.
According to a 2012 study from the University of Toronto, those who self-identified as morning people were also likely to report greater positive emotion than night owls. Early risers felt happier overall not only in the mornings, but also throughout the entire day. The report attributed this discrepancy to “social jet lag,” which occurs when people who stay up late then develop sleep patterns that don’t coincide with the typical 9-to-5 work or school schedule.
You’ll always have time for breakfast.
You know the drill. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It’s also tends to be the most skipped. What you eat in the morning establishes your energy levels for the rest of the day. Also, eating breakfast has been connected to many health benefits such as weight loss, lowered risk for diabetes and heart disease, and improved cognitive function. When you wake up early and allow yourself time for breakfast, you’ll notice the awesome health benefits!
You’ll experience less stress and procrastinate less.
It stands to reason that those who have time to prepare in the morning will experience less stress than someone who wakes up ten minutes before they need to leave. Your morning can often set the tone for the rest of your day, and if you’re rushing around trying to get dressed, eat breakfast, and find your keys, that stress is going to extend into your day after you leave the house. By being an early riser, you give yourself time to get everything done that you need to do, and you’ll be more prepared to meet your day with a positive attitude.
A 2008 study also found that night owls are more likely to procrastinate than early birds. Referring again to the concept of willpower, people tend to put off something they need to do at the end of the day when their energy levels are depleted. However, when you wake up early to complete a task, you can take advantage of higher energy and willpower levels to cross some errands off your to-do list.
You’ll look better and feel healthier.
It’s never a good feeling to have someone tell you, “You look tired.” A sleep laboratory in Sweden found that participants who were sleep deprived were also perceived as less attractive than those participants who had a good night’s sleep. Not that being attractive is the most important thing in the world, but your appearance can often be an important factor during first impressions. If you’re getting a full night’s sleep (recommended 7-9 hours) and waking up early, you’ll also be happier which can go a long way in making a good first impression on your class and any of the school administration with whom you may interact.
But more importantly, you’ll feel healthier as an early riser. A lack of sleep can severely weaken your immune system, which is never a good thing when you work with children in schools. And as mentioned before, waking up early allows you to exercise and eat breakfast, giving you the energy and strength to continue to make healthy choices throughout your day.
A Kaizen Approach for Night Owls
No matter your reason for making the change, becoming an early riser can create an incredible impact on your life. If you’re reading this article and thinking, “I could never be a morning person,” try making the transition with a kaizen approach. In Japanese, kaizen simply means, “change for the better” and hundreds of companies have adopted this philosophy in creating a work culture of continuous improvement.
With a kaizen approach, you don’t make drastic changes in your behavior, but rather you make small, incremental shifts that add up to big changes down the road. So, wake up five minutes earlier each week until you reach your goal or try reading before bed instead of watching television. In time, you’ll find it easier to wake up earlier, and as a substitute, you’ll have more chances to snatch up those prime opportunities in Aesop!
Contact Insight at (856) 406-6015 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the best times to look for jobs as a substitute teacher or paraprofessional.
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