Earlier in my life, I hated the mornings. If you tried to talk to me before 9 a.m. I would snap back a halfhearted answer to whatever questions you asked. Now, in my later years of college, I have reversed my bad morning habits and found that mornings are the most valuable and productive time of day.

How did I change my way of life? For one thing, I have learned the value of sleep. I am in bed by 10:30 p.m., 11 at the latest and I wake up at 7:30 a.m.. This allows me more than eight hours of sleep so I wake up feeling refreshed!

I have stopped hitting snooze on my alarm. This is a big one. I used to have five alarms set every morning and would lie in my bed for extended periods before I started to think about moving. This prolonged wake-up habit had two negative effects. First, I dreaded mornings due to my sluggish behavior. Having multiple alarms made the morning feel like I was being nagged and led me to dread getting out of bed. Second, I lost valued sleep-time by having alarms go off but not getting me up. I later realized that I could add 30 minutes of sleep by having one alarm go off at the time I actually wanted to get up; this also forced me to wake up instead of having the option to stay in bed.

Now, my alarm goes off and I get out of bed and brush my teeth. This action of immediately moving helps my body realize it’s morning, and I’m okay with starting the day. When I get back from brushing my teeth I turn on upbeat music (the genre changes daily), and I finish getting ready for the day.

This morning routine has been ingrained into my body and mind. In fact, I have started waking up on my own about five minutes before to my alarm goes of, making me feel refreshed since I am waking up on my own terms and not being dictated to by technology and sound of an alarm.

I have also found that my brain is fresh and ready to function in the mornings. It is more productive for me to go to bed on time and complete work in the morning than to try and stay up late.

Eating a good breakfast is key to productive mornings. I have found locations throughout town that on certain mornings, especially when I am working on a paper, I will wake up and go straight to breakfast. I sit and work for about four hours-no break-and without straining myself. The breakfast spots I have found serve great brain food such as breakfast quesadillas and avocado toast. It helps me do my work.

What I love most about morning, beyond how productive I can be, is the feelings that the morning brings. A calm fills the air. On a nice sunny day the heat has yet to hit, but the sun is out and warms the earth. Birds sing. Walking with the sun reaching down and warming my skin, I feel rejuvenated and optimistic about what the day can bring.

Becoming a lover of morning has not only helped me increase my productivity and improve my sleep pattern, but has made me a happier person. Getting work done in the mornings leaves the evenings open for relaxation and doing what I want to do, rather than what I need to do, eliminating the anxieties of the “to-do’s” and allowing me to live my life.

Originally published at medium.com