In a society designed for the early bird; night-owls can be left in the dark, pun intended.
Is there a way to wake up feeling rested and energized, instead of mashing the snooze button for hours?
HOW TO WAKE UP EARLY IN THE MORNING
1. Ease into it
Sleep is such a vital part of your wellbeing, that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to jump in at the deep end as with other habits. If you’re used to waking up after 9 am and then start attempting 6 am or even 4 am, you’re likely to find yourself in a world of pain.
Instead of making a huge jump, you should adjust your waking time by 30 minutes per week. Doing this your body will adapt, in the same way that it does to changing time zones.
Depending on your goals, it will only be a few months until you’re easing into your early-bird hours.
2. Mentally Prepare The Night Before
Long before the sound of your alarm jolts you awake, you need to become very clear about these two things:
- That you WILL get straight out of bed when you hear your alarm.
- That you know WHAT you will do in the first few minutes when you’re out of bed.
How you gain this clarity depends on you. Visualizing yourself doing your wake-up tasks can be powerful. Making a written plan with tick-boxes works well. Or, get an accountability partner; a morning exercise buddy, or someone that already wakes up early that will check in with you each morning.
3. Physically Prepare The Night Before
It’s important that you let your full-awake, before bedtime self take control. Do not leave organisation and decision making up to your groggy, sleep-addled morning self.
Take everything you need to start your morning, and place them somewhere out of sight of your bed. You don’t want any excuse to fall back into its comforting embrace.
This may include setting out:
- Workout clothes and gear
- book to read
- a gym bag
- Breakfast cereal box and bowl
- work bag
- glass of water
Regardless of your plans, it’s important to just focus on getting out of bed, and starting your morning routine. This will teach your brain that you’re awake now, it’s time to get active.
4. Stick To Your Bedtime
Make sure you have a cut-off time for any evening activities 30-60 minutes before you need to be asleep, and ideally be in bed, without electronics, 30 minutes before you need to be asleep.
Without getting at least 7-8 hours sleep you start to encounter a range of negative side-effects, hormonal problems, weight gain, even increased risk of health conditions like dementia and cancer.
Sleep is REALLY important. If you need someone to convince you, I suggest reading “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker.
By going to bed at the same time each night, your body will start to adapt to waking up at the same time each morning. .
5. Focus On Quality Sleep
I’m sure that nights awake with a racing mind have shown you that just getting into bed isn’t the full solution. Actually getting quality, undisturbed sleep is essential to feeling energized and rested.
A great way to avoid the monkey-mind is to create a relaxing wind-down routine to do before bed. Here are some great components:
- Shut off screens at least and hour before bedtime
- Take a bath or shower. Cooling your body temperature down is a sign to your brain that it’s sleep time.
6. Set Smart Alarms
A lifetime of night-owling may have trained you to snooze that alarm without a second thought. Here are some great ways to get around that:
- ALARM ACROSS THE ROOM: As your alarm is likely on your phone, this has the dual purpose or keeping blue-light away from your be, and forcing you to actually get out of bed to stop it.
- ALARM ACROSS THE ROOM & PHONE BY YOUR BED: This is a great option if you have a partner that is on a different sleep schedule. A gentle alarm can wake you up, and then set a loud alarm up across the room to go off 3-minutes later. This will encourage you to get out of bed to turn off the loud alarm to stop it waking your partner.
- STEP OUT APP: This app is amazing for chronic snoozers. It sets up an alarm, and to turn it off you need to go through 10-20 steps. By that point, you’re awake.
I would suggest you get an alarm that isn’t going to wake you in a bad mood. Something quiet and gentle can help you wake up gently, instead of waking in a cloud of stress and adrenaline. Remember, someone that wakes up happy is more likely to keep up a habit, than someone that hates their alarm screaming them into the morning.
7. Practice Waking With A Smile!
In the same way that our emotions affect our bodies (hunching over when fearful), our bodies actually affect our emotions.
A great big smile makes you really FEEL happier. And again, a happy you is far more likely to stick to a habit.
8. Construct Barriers Between You And Your Bed.
When building a new habit, avoiding negative temptation is just, if not more, important that chasing positive reinforcement.
As soon as you’re awake, you need to put barriers between you and going back to sleep.
Brushing your teeth. Leaving your bedroom. Getting dressed.
Each of these tasks constructs a hurdle preventing you from falling back into bed.
This is why a morning run can be a great addition to your routine. Not only are you out of the bedroom, but you’re even out of the house. It’s very difficult to slide back into bed if you’re a few miles away from it.
With these 8 steps, you CAN wake up early in the morning.
It’s a tough habit, but if you stick to these strategies you can make compulsive snoozing a thing of the past!