Alerted by the beeping of my alarm clock, I groan slightly, knowing another day is just seconds from starting.
This has been my life for years. Every day. Every morning. The thought of waking up in the morning can be oh so dreadful.
Taking a break and just sleeping in is always the better option right? Probably not.
For the night owls who hate rolling out of bed early in the morning, there is hope on the horizon. I would know — I used to be one!
There are many compelling reasons to get up early, grab a coffee, and start the day like an average human being. Taking care of our family or ourselves by working at a job is an obvious reason, but the benefits of early rising can't be understated.
Early risers . . .
- Tend to be more successful in school and work.
- Sustain a healthier diet, as they don't generally skip breakfast.
- Are more productive, as they have more waking work hours and less interruptions early in the morning.
- Tend to be more confident and action-oriented.
- Experience less stress and morning anxiety since they aren't rushed.
- Have more time to exercise and stay fit.
- Have better sleep quality, as waking up early promotes a normal sleep schedule.
These are all excellent reasons to get up earlier, but rousing yourself from your warm, cozy bed is easier said than done. Even for the most disciplined, you need a solid strategy to shift your ingrained morning habit of lounging in bed until the last minute.
Here are 7 secrets on how to wake up early:
1. Alter Your Nighttime Routine
Who loves their nighttime routine?
We all love kicking off a Hulu binge session and ending it with a tub of ice cream. I would have never gone to bed before midnight if it were entirely up to my mood. But we all have to remember our inevitable responsibilities.
The first step I’ve found in loving to see the sun in your face early in the morning is to change your nighttime routine.
Since I adjusted my routine to just reading a little before bed, it not only helped me sleep better, but it also made getting up at the crack of dawn a little easier.
So here’s some changes you can make:
- Go to bed a little earlier .
- Limit screen time and put your phone away .
- Watch what you eat (see below).
- Read or meditate before sleep to relax your mind.
- Don't exercise less than three hours before bedtime.
Food is an especially important part of people’s nighttime routine. What you eat has a bigger effect on your sleep than you may realize.
Eating badly can leave you tossing and turning all night long and feeling groggy in the morning.
Before bed, try to avoid:
- Stimulants like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol
- Fatty foods
- Spicy foods
- Heavy meals
There some foods and beverages that will help you sleep. Try taking these for a better sleep:
- Herbal tea
- Foods that are rich in tryptophan, like honey and bananas
- Carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index, like many vegetables
2. Find Out What Motivates You
I had this problem when I first realized that I needed to change my morning habits.
What keeps you going on a day-to-day basis? That’s a hard question to answer, and it goes much deeper than you think.
Has life become a boring routine? Do you have something that gives you a sense of passion and purpose?
To help get yourself out of bed, find what motivates you on a daily basis.
I’ve found that getting out of bed is a lot easier when you know why you are doing it. That little bit of motivation not only gets you out of bed but also powers you all day with continuous productivity.
Focus on the positive. Maybe you are working on a fun project at work, or you are hanging out with someone that you haven't seen in a while.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What is my reason to get out of bed in the morning?
- What do I like most about mornings?
- What is my favorite part of being up early?
- How can I make my days more enjoyable?
For me, it’s about working towards my new goal. I get quite excited these days to get up and work on my blog.
Try to think of the benefits I listed earlier of waking up early.
Maybe being awake earlier gives you more time to do something you love, like reading.
Maybe you will have more time to spend with your family before work.
If you cannot think of any reasons on your own consider this: Research has shown that early risers are more proactive and better at problem-solving .
Another study found that people who wake up earlier are happier and more positive than those who do not.
3. Prime Your Bedroom for Optimal Sleep Conditions
Let me paint a picture for you of my bedroom before becoming an early riser — a “small” heap of washed clothes on the floor, take-out food bags crammed under the bed, and sheets in a messy tangle on the bed.
It was not a pretty sight, and it did nothing to help me get a good night's sleep.
Optimizing your room for a good sleep is a great way to help you wake up on time. You need a quiet room with a calm sense of serenity.
To help prep your room for optimal sleep conditions try these steps:
- Make your room as dark as possible .
- Avoid your TV and smartphone for at least an hour before bedtime .
- Listen to relaxing music or white noise .
- Keep temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even the slightest change can affect your sleep. A small temperature increase or a sliver of light sneaking into the room can be the difference between a restful night's sleep and tossing and turning.
4. Never Hit the Snooze Button
Don't skip over this one! Seriously, though, it's very important. This was my kryptonite.
It’s not just me. I know how we all start off our mornings — beep beep and slam! We nearly break that poor alarm clock every day. C’mon! It's just doing its job.
Here’s what I did and how you can stop the snoozing:
- Get up on the first ring, and don't stay in bed after you have shut it off .
- Resist the “just 5 more minutes” urge .
- Place your alarm clock across the room, so you have to get up to shut it off .
- Get an alarm clock without a snooze button.
This is a good habit to adopt, however difficult it may be.
Figure out what method works for you. To be honest, you will probably have to force yourself into it. But after a while, it will get easier.
5. Start Out Slowly
When I realized that I had a problem getting up, I looked it up and committed to change everything!
The first day it was good. The second day still fine. But after the fourth day, it became a nightmare (literally)!
I set myself up for failure because I tried to getup too early that first week. It discouraged me and prevented any other efforts at being happy in the morning. I basically sabotaged myself when I tried to improve.
If you don't want to overwhelm yourself and quit too soon, try to follow these helpful tips:
- Take it one small step at a time. It's hard to adjust your sleep routines, so start by waking up just ten to fifteen minutes earlier.
- Set manageable goals and keep it simple . Don't try to add another habit to your morning routine (like exercise) until you've mastered early waking.
- Set your wake-up time earlier and earlier each week. For example, set your alarm for 7:00 am the first week, then the next week, set it for 6:45 am.
Everything worthwhile takes time. Once a habit becomes more ingrained, it becomes easier to complete.
And do not forget to celebrate the small wins each week! I always got a nice little breakfast treat whenever the week worked out as I planned.
6. Prepare The Night Before
Preparing for the next morning is just as important as getting a good night's sleep.
This might be the smallest change you can make that will make the biggest difference. I did it, and I promise, it is the easiest way to have a better morning!
Most people arrive late for work mainly due to not being prepared the night before. And it's a simple task to do every night. It takes less than ten minutes.
Whenever I prepare, I wake up with my mind less cluttered, and I feel a lot less stress because I know that everything for the day is prepared.
Here are some things you can do the night before to be ready for the morning:
- Set out your clothes.
- Try a coffee maker with a timer , and have your breakfast planned.
- Set your goals for the morning, and write them down.
- Pack your things for work.
Developing a morning routine can give you something else to look forward to when you wake up.
It does not matter what you choose to do, so long as you love doing it enough to want to get up and out of bed.
Don’t you want to wake up excited to do something you look forward to? I know I do, and that’s exactly how I wake up these days.
Here are a few suggestions of what to do with your new, free morning time once you establish the habit:
- Make your bed
Do something simple that will put you in a better state of mind. I know it might seem like a chore but try it.
Once it becomes an enjoyable habit, you’ll love this feeling of morning productivity.
Starting the day off by doing one enjoyable thing will change your outlook on the entire day — especially doing something healthy and relaxing.
The positive effects can be life changing.
7. Keep Your Schedule Consistent
Consistency is key to everything.
I learned this the hard way. There were always exceptions for me.
The weekends are different.
The boys are asking me out for a drink, and its just one night.
I’m exhausted today.
I’ll binge watch a series just tonight.
I had excuses after excuse to break all my new habits. Sound familiar?
The important lesson here is to sleep at a consistent time. Through the process of trial and error, you will figure out your ideal sleep schedule.
Even more importantly, it will help you establish a balanced sleeping routine, finding the perfect time to go to bed and to wake up.
Following a fixed time for falling asleep and waking up will help to maintain your internal clock. Yes, even on the weekends. This will help your body to establish its necessary sleeping rhythm. This also allows you to get the most restful sleep you possibly can.
If you’re like me, it will be a tough battle to be a consistent early riser — but definitely worth it.
Once you practice these secrets to waking up earlier, you will genuinely enjoy being a morning person. Just like I am now, you will be a sunrise watching, coffee drinking morning person with a purpose.
The ability to wake up early and enjoy it is just seven short steps away. Remember, all you must do is make a plan, set yourself up for success, and take it slowly. With a little persistence and patience, you will be an early bird in no time at all.
Matthew Snider is a writer, a personal development junkie and a regular blogger at Self Development Secrets. Matt, with his one quarter Asian descent, did not start out as a writer, but he says, “The love for a subject is the most important aspect of writing. The readers want to read something written by someone who understands them.”