How to Actually Wake Up Early for People Who Aren't Early Birds
Waking up early might seem like an impossible dream, but it's not if you make some adjustments to your sleep routine.
Not planning to catch worms tomorrow morning? You'll still want to wake up early.
According to Molecular Psychiatry published findings, people who get up with the sun may enjoy a mental health advantage. The recent research from the UK showed a correlation between getting up early and lower levels of depression and anxiety. In other words, if you're struggling to adjust your mood, your sleep habits might be your problem.
Psychological benefits aren't the only upside to stopping the endless snooze-alarm dance. Morning people often report high levels of productivity. This could be for any number of reasons, including a distraction-less a.m.
Here's the problem, though: What if you're pre-programmed to be a night owl? If your circadian rhythm is fine-tuned to give you a jolt of energy at 11:00 p.m., you may naturally resist getting up. After all, you want your full nine hours of sleep, even if it means you get up at noon.
Though shifting your brain's gears toward waking up at the crack of dawn takes time, it can happen. You just might need to make several changes and stick to them until they become habits.
1. Design a personalized sleep hygiene routine.
Sleep hygiene remains one of the most underrated daily behaviors that can make your life easier. When you adopt a customized sleep hygiene regimen, your body adjusts to an expected schedule. Ironically, even if you get less than your recommended nightly amount of sleep, you could see a health boost.
Why is this? As explained in a Washington Post piece, sleep consistency may play a bigger role than the hours you're at rest. Citing a study released by NPJ Digital Medicine, the authors posit that unpredictable sleep is a huge pitfall. It throws you off-balance psychologically and physically, making you more prone to everything from the hangries to work errors.
A good way to develop a sleep hygiene map is to think about your responsibilities. Create a protocol that's reasonable and doable. For instance, you might want to go to bed at 10:30 p.m., read a book for 30 minutes, then go to sleep until 6:00 a.m. The routine might seem strange for the first few weeks. Stick with it, though. You're likely to see major positive changes.
2. Do something you love when you get up. (Bonus points for going outside.)
Many of us fall into a trap of promising ourselves a nightly "treat." Maybe it's binge-watching some Netflix or playing a musical instrument. We look forward to the anticipated activity all day. And we're reluctant to stop it just to go to bed. As a result, the time ticks away — and getting up early becomes less and less likely.
Sound familiar? You can reverse this process by doing some of your favorite things in the morning. That way, you'll want to get up rather than stay in the sack. If possible try to walk outside first thing, even if you have to throw on a coat, hat, and gloves.
Being in the fresh air and first daylight can start your body and mind on a good note. In fact, you may find yourself getting a boost from some natural light therapy. As explained in a news story from NBC, the rays of the sun can trigger your body to halt melatonin production. In other words, you lose your desire to climb back under the covers.
3. Anchor yourself to a buddy or adopt a morning-specific side gig.
Waking up the first time your alarm goes off is much easier when you know you'll be held accountable for getting up. Consequently, find someone to help you become a proficient early bird. This could be someone in your household, like a spouse or child. Or, it could be a friend or neighbor who's also trying to get better about waking up sooner.
When you buddy up, you pull someone else into your picture. Additionally, you have a reason and purpose to rise. After all, if you don't get out of bed, you're letting someone else down.
Need a more compelling reason to peel yourself off the mattress? Enter into a side hustle that requires you to get up. For instance, you could teach a wakeup workout class at the gym if you're into fitness and qualified. Or, you could volunteer for early-morning duty at a soup kitchen or shelter. Knowing you have to be somewhere will help keep you focused on your goal.
Related: "How to Wake up Early"
It might feel like a unicorn task to get yourself up before 8:00 a.m. — or later. Rest assured that it's doable. You just have to outwit your late-night tendencies with pragmatism and persistence.
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