Got a question about being your best in midlife? Need a little “shot of courage” to get something done? Here’s your chance…  

Q: I eat dinner late at night. Could this be part of why it’s hard to get up in the morning? 

A: Digestion is by far the body’s most labor-intensive process.  

Many people eat well into the evening, and that is why some folks have a hard time getting up in the morning. Instead of repairing tissue and resting, the body is working overtime to process a late-evening meal.  

So yes, a heavy dinner could be part of your morning challenges. A good rule of thumb is to stop eating entirely three full hours before your goal bedtime. So if you’re hoping for lights-out at 10:00 p.m., lock up the kitchen no later than 7:00. If your schedule will not accommodate a three-hour food moratorium, at least make your final meal light, such as a smoothie or small salad. Avoid meat or high-protein meals at night for the best rest. 

Q: I want to be an early riser, but I am not having any luck. What words of wisdom do you have? 

A: As basic as it sounds, first make sure you’re getting to bed early enough. If you are getting enough sleep, you should be able to awaken on time without a morning alarm.   

And speaking of alarms: 

  • If you wake up on your own shortly before your buzzer goes off, it can be tempting to close your eyes and savor a few more minutes of rest. But you’re better off just getting out of bed. When you wake spontaneously, you’re likely in a light sleep stage; Going back to sleep could send you into a deeper sleep cycle, making it harder to start your day.   
  • Finding the right alarm—and where to put it—can have a big impact on how you greet the morning. Try experimenting with the sound, timing and location of your alarm clock to help yourself get up when you need to. For example, some alarms wake you up gradually with pleasant sounds to make the transition into daytime less jarring and more relaxed. Features likes chimes or daylight simulators can make all the difference in the world, and in your day! 

Please remember that your health is your own responsibility. Nothing here is to be construed as medical advice. This information is not meant to replace the guidance offered by your health practitioner.