My Night Owl 5-Step Recovery Program

mininal bedroom
Photo by Sarah E. Elliott


I am, and always have been, a night owl. Every year I make a New Year’s Resolution to change that, but this year it’s actually working. Let’s call it a 5-step recovery program of sorts.

Does it work? Well today I finally hit my big personal milestone, a 6:30am cardio class. Yes, I’m one of those people.

Here’s why that’s a big deal.

After 11pm I get all of my most creative blog post ideas, I get the inspiration and energy to rearrange all of my furniture, I suddenly feel like emptying my dishwasher, I have dance parties in my bathroom, and if it weren’t rude to my neighbors it would be when I do my least favorite chore: vacuuming.

Ever since I was a young child I remember wandering around my house wide awake after everyone had gone to sleep. “Cristina, go back to bed” was a common refrain in my house.

I truly believe this is my biological cycle, so the fact that I’ve been able to alter that is an incredible feat of will power – but this has been surprisingly. Here’s how I did it.

1. Do not disturb

I just discovered this handy setting on my phone this year, but you can set your phone to “do not disturb” so that you don’t receive any text messages, calls or notifications between certain hours. Mine is from 10pm-7am. If you accidentally lose hours on your phone at night, this can help keep you off of it.

2. Night shift

This is another tool you already have on your phone. Looking at your phone (or laptop) is guaranteed to make it harder for you to fall asleep, and when you do fall asleep you will have worse sleep due to the blue light that disrupts our brain’s ability to generate melatonin. You probably already knew that, but do you still look at your phone at night? Yea, that’s what I thought.

If you’re going to look at your phone, then you might as well turn your nightshift mode on. It minimizes the blue light so that your phone displays a warmer, yellow light that is less disruptive. Go ahead and set this to automatically come on at 10pm too.

3. Set a nighttime routine

For the last month I’ve been getting into bed each night and pulling out a Law of Attraction card, doing a writing exercise, and then reading my book. It might sound a little woo woo, but it’s the same routine every night and it is the first time I’ve consistently kept one. At this point it’s easy and I look forward to it. Cuddling cute pups always helps too.

breakfast vignette
Photo by Sarah E. Elliott

4. Set a morning routine

See where I’m going with this now? My morning routine is hopping out of bed, changing clothes and going to yoga. At night I put my clothes and mat by the door so that I can sleepwalk my way out of the house – just like my mom used to do for me when I was a kid. I used to exercise at night but exercising releases endorphins and keeps you up later. Exercising in the morning makes me a little more likely to feel tired at night.

5. Move your alarm

If you’re a snooze button addict, move your phone across the room so that you have to get up to turn it off. I do this, and it works. Better yet, get an alarm clock and put it across the room so that you remove the urge to grab your phone on your nightstand and scroll through IG for an hour before bed and again when you wake up.

I know none of these tips are earth-shattering, but from a lifelong night owl these small changes have been life-changing. 6:30am cardio is my new reality.


If you’re a night owl, do you fight it or do you embrace it? I’ve been discussing this with friends and it’s something I’m really interested in.


Cristina V. Cleveland

Cristina V. Cleveland is a senior beauty editor based in Austin, TX. She has been exploring personal style and decor on Fuji Files since 2009. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, To&From Magazine, Coco+Kelley, CamilleStyles and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.

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Rather than pushing up-to-the-minute trends and products, Fuji Files is about discovering a lasting, personal aesthetic and the journey to feeling your personal best. 

Fuji Files was started by Cristina Cleveland, the Managing Editor of NaturallyCurly, the largest hair and beauty content platform. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Teen Vogue, CamilleStyles, Blavity, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, Coco+Kelley, and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.