How to Train Yourself to Wake Up Early
Looking to become a morning person? Here's our guide to getting your day started early.
Need to start getting up earlier for a new job? Want to experience higher levels of productivity throughout the day? If so, then learning about the benefits of rising early, and teaching yourself some simple techniques, will serve you well.
Many people’s morning routine begins in a frenzy after having hit the snooze button on their alarm clock multiple times. This can increase distraction, procrastination, and stress. While this is especially harmful if you work at a traditional job, even those who work from home are selling themselves short by failing to wake up early.
The Benefits of Rising Early
Getting up earlier than most other people will put you ahead of the game. Let’s look at a few advantages to making this change:
Peace and Quiet
If you get up early enough, you’ll be the only one awake. This means no television noises, no traffic sounds, and plenty of peace and quiet. By allowing yourself this silent space, you’ll be setting a calmer tone for the rest of your day. This is your chance to get a head start on your daily tasks. You can also use the time to journal and review your goals.
More Free Time
When you wake up late, it feels like you never have enough free time. Even the evenings seem to be invaded by work emails or thoughts of all the tasks you didn’t have time to complete earlier. You can fix this problem by rising earlier in the morning so that you’ll have more free time to spend with your family later on in the day.
While waking up earlier doesn’t automatically make you choose healthier habits, it gives you more space to make conscious decisions. When you’re rushing through your entire day, distracted, you aren’t in the best frame of mind to make good choices. When you wake up earlier, however, you may take the extra few minutes to prepare a healthy breakfast rather than hitting a drive-through.
Catching the Sunrise
Everyone loves sunrises, but so many of us miss them because we stay in bed for too long. By waking up early enough to catch the sunrise every morning, you might notice that you feel more motivated and inspired in the following hours.
Tips to Wake Up Early
As you can see, there are many reasons to train yourself to wake up early. But the question is, how? Follow these tips to become an earlier riser and take advantage of the benefits I just mentioned:
1. Go to Bed Earlier
You’re basically fighting an uphill battle if you set your alarm early but stay up late. Try adjusting your sleep cycle gradually.
If you’re accustomed to staying up until 1 every night, don’t expect to suddenly fall asleep at 10. Instead, try to go to bed 20 minutes earlier each night, until you reach your target time.
2. Ban Screens before Bed
Many people scroll through their Instagram or Facebook feed in bed before they go to sleep. But artificial light which can seriously disrupt your circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep early. Do your best to keep your phone and computer far away before bedtime. You can make the cutoff point 2 hours before you get into bed. If your phone has a blue light filter which activates at sunset, consider using it in the evening to reduce eyestrain in the hours before bed.
3. Don’t be Too Strict
While it’s good to develop self-discipline, don’t be too hard on yourself. Even small changes are victories that are getting you closer to your goals. Allow yourself to sleep in every once in a while and reward yourself in healthy ways when you do manage to get up early.
4. Use Your Time Well
If you successfully wake up 3 hours earlier than normal but don’t use the time wisely, you’ll soon feel like the new change is a total waste of time. Instead, make sure you’re using that extra morning time well. Then, the benefits will speak for themselves and you’ll want to continue rising early.
5. Put Your Alarm in Another Room
Most people use their phone as their wake-up alarm in the morning and keep it next to their bed. This is a bad idea for several reasons. First, you’ll be likelier to scroll through your social media feed and disrupt your body’s natural rhythm (as mentioned in point 2).
Also, you’ll make it too easy to hit the snooze button in the morning. Instead, keep your alarm far away from your bed (or better yet, in another room).
6. Start a Morning Exercise Routine
Getting exercise when you first get up will help you feel more awake for the rest of your day. Even if it’s something small like taking a quick walk around the block, this habit will make rising early much easier for you. You may even find yourself looking forward to your morning exercise routine!
7. Get Out of Bed Immediately
The first few seconds after your alarm wakes you up are crucial. If you stall for even a moment, you may lose the battle and end up falling back asleep.
When you’re attempting to form a new habit, it’s essential to remember that your mind is going to fight you at first. Your brain can and will come up with rationalizations for staying in bed “just a little longer.” So, the trick here is to jump out of bed before it has a chance to say anything.
8. Keep Your Room Dark
If you live in a city with streetlights near your window, get blackout curtains. If you get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, don’t turn on the light. Even small amounts of light in your house or apartment can interfere with your body’s melatonin production. Keep your room as dark as you can before and during sleep.
9. Set a Cut-Off Point for Caffeine
While caffeine can and does wake you up during the day, it can also interfere with your sleep patterns. Try to set a cut-off point during the day and have no more caffeine after that time. If you’re trying to get to sleep by 11 pm, for example, set the cut-off point for 3 pm.
10. Consider Cutting Out Alcohol
A lot of people think that alcohol helps them sleep, but in reality, it disrupts your brain chemicals and can prevent you from reaching deep REM sleep. And since REM sleep is essential for feeling rested when you wake up, drinking isn’t doing you any favors when it comes to your goal of rising earlier.
Like any other habit, forcing yourself to wake up earlier is going to be a challenge at first. Start small and follow my tips above, and soon it will become much easier.