You have probably heard the success stories about people who wake up early. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey, and Olympic medalist Caroline Burckle all talk about the positive impact of waking up early on their lives. Even though many assign a portion of their success to waking up early, many find it difficult to make the switch. While most people know what needs to happen to change their life, they find then difficult to implement consistently. To understand how to wake up early, you need to tap into the wisdom of those already doing it.
Before we discuss the methods early risers use, it is important to know about the advantages and disadvantages of waking up early.
Advantages of Waking Up Early
Still on the rocks about setting your alarm clock early? Here are some reasons why it may be worth it.
There’s no need to rush yourself
When you wake up early in the morning, you can decrease your stress level because there is no need to rush yourself to work out or leave the house to go to the office. Starting your day on this note can truly make a difference.
It improves sleep quality
Early risers don’t stay up late. This allows them to enjoy better sleep equality because their body clock has adapted to a healthier sleeping routine.
It enhances productivity
The brain is more alert in the morning. Therefore, waking up early will help you focus on work without having to deal with interruptions. When you know how to wake up early, you’ll get more work done and your mind can make better decisions.
It enables you to have quiet time
One of the most amazing benefits waking up early can give you is quiet time. It’s always surprising how quiet everything is in the morning. This will allow you to enjoy peace especially if you live with others or you have children.
Disadvantages of Waking Up Early
In this section, we round up why waking up early is not worth it.
It can leave you feeling tired
If you want to get up early in the morning, you may feel tired during the day especially if you are not used to this routine. Getting up may cause you to want to take a nap in the afternoon and lose work hours.
You’ll miss out on socializing
If you want to find out how to wake up early, you need to make some sacrifices. If your friends invite you for drinks or a late dinner after work, you may not be able to tag along because you have to wake up early. Therefore, some of your friends and family may feel neglected.
You can end up sleep deprived
A lot of people sacrifice their sleep hours just so they can wake up early. When you do this, you may suffer from the negative consequences of sleep deprivation such as weight gain, poor concentration, and moodiness.
Here are the 6 things early risers do:
1. Stop Procrastinating
The first thing you need to do when you want to learn how to wake up early is to go to sleep earlier. Stop procrastinating. You will find it much easier to wake up when you are getting the proper amount of sleep. Set a bedtime that allows you to get 8-hours of sleep and hold yourself accountable.
The problem most of you will have at first is how tired you will feel. If you are someone who goes to sleep after midnight, waking up by 6 a.m. will not be easy. The reason you need to push through that initial difficulty is that you are going to be very tired at the end of the day. Realistically, you probably would fall asleep at your desk or doze off on your lunch break. Either way, waking up early no matter how you feel will motivate you to go sleep at the proper time that night. Think of it as someone who procrastinated until the night before their project was due. Having done this myself, you do what you need to do to complete the project, whether that means working all night or cutting some corners because you don’t have time to triple-check your work.
After you turn in your project, you feel both exhaustion and jubilation. After you make it through the workday and crash at home, you promise yourself you’ll never wait until the last minute again. This same feeling will happen when you force yourself to wake up early no matter what time you went to sleep. You are going to promise yourself you will go to bed at the right time.
Most people don’t go to bed when they should because they know they will ultimately make it up in the morning.
2. Pace Yourself
If you want to start waking up a couple of hours earlier each day, you may not be able to make that change all at once. It stands to reason the more drastic the shift, the more difficult it will be.
So, instead of trying to adjust your sleep pattern by several hours, start in 15-minute or 30-minute intervals. If you wake up 30 minutes earlier each week, you will be a morning person by the end of the month. This may feel like you are drawing out your goal but in reality, you are accomplishing it much quicker than most. Most people who are naturally night owls find it difficult to completely change their sleep habits overnight.
Think of it as someone who is trying to quit drinking coffee. Outside of the fact you may enjoy the taste of coffee, your body is used to operating with a certain amount of caffeine and sugar. Some will be able to quit overnight and their body will adjust accordingly. And if you are one of those people, then do what works for you.
However, if you were to take an incremental approach, then you may first start drinking your coffee black. Then, you could switch to decaf before slowly lowering the amount of coffee you drink each day. As you can see, this approach will help minimize the feeling of withdrawal while getting the results you want.
3. Watch Your Lighting
Light reduces your body’s production of the sleep-inducing melatonin hormone. In practical terms, your body naturally wants to be awake when the sun is up and go to sleep when the sun is down. This is called your circadian rhythm.
In the technology-driven world we currently live in, you likely look at a screen or two before bed. Studies show television and phone screens trick your body into thinking the sun is up. As a result, your body starts producing less melatonin. To help you fall asleep, you should stop looking at screens at least an hour before bed.
This can also mean that if you want to wake up before the sun, looking at your screen when you wake up can help you to stay awake.
Peter Balyta, the President of Education Technology for Texas Instruments says he wakes up at 5:20 a.m. and scans his emails before starting his day. This is also true for M.I.T. president L. Rafael Rief. He wakes up around 5 or 5:30 a.m. and checks his phone for anything urgent.
4. Make It Worth Your Time
Have you ever woken up early but went back to sleep because you didn’t have a reason to stay up? To put it another way, have you ever fallen asleep because you didn’t have anything better to do?
If you want to be excited about going to sleep and waking up early, then you need to give yourself a reason to be excited. You can accomplish this by listing the three things you want to accomplish the next morning. Notice I said “want” and not “need” to accomplish. You don’t want to be dragging yourself into the next morning kicking and screaming.
Your list should not only include what you want to accomplish but also why you want to accomplish it. If you want to take it a step further, list the consequences of not waking up early.
People who have figured out how to wake up early know the importance of making use of the extra time. This is your opportunity to work on your goals, your vision, and your ambitions. Therefore, what you do with this time is quite important.
5. Find an Accountability Partner
An accountability partner is someone who checks in on you to make sure you are staying on track. This can be a friend, a family member, or a spouse. You can agree to hold each other accountable for waking up early.
The reason this works is that it creates a sense of obligation. You are more likely to do something if you know someone else is depending on you. In short, it gives you the motivation to stay committed.
6. Give Yourself Time to Adjust
Waking up early is not something that happens overnight. It is a habit that needs to be cultivated over time. Give yourself at least two weeks to adjust to your new sleep schedule.
During this time, be gentle with yourself. Expect a few hiccups along the way. You may slip up and hit the snooze button. That’s okay. The moment you realize you made a mistake, get back up and try again.
Waking up early is a life-changing habit that can make a difference in your personal and professional life. It can help you to be more productive, improve your sleep quality, and give you quiet time.
While it may be hard to make the switch at first, there are things you can do to make it easier. Stop procrastinating, pace yourself, be mindful of your lighting, make it worth your time, find an accountability partner, and give yourself time to adjust.
Ultimately, waking up early takes a significant amount of discipline, but the rewards are well worth the effort.