You’re probably tired (pun intended) of hearing the discussion around how great waking up early is. The problem is, your bed is a pretty nice place to be too, so it’s often a struggle to get out of it. However, we can’t deny there are undeniable benefits to seizing the day, and you’re missing out on them by hitting the Snooze button.
The earlier you wake up, the more time you’ll have to get stuff done – it’s that simple. Learning how to wake up early and sticking to it can make for a drastic change in your life. In this article, we’ll go over four tips to help you catch the worm.
Let’s roll out of bed!
Why It Pays to Be an Early Riser
Let’s face it, given the choice, most people would prefer to lounge around in bed for a while before getting up in the morning. However, this isn’t a productive use of your time. The math is simple – the earlier you wake up, the more time you’ll have to do stuff, like the following:
- You’ll be able to dedicate the time to cooking and eating a healthy breakfast.
- You can sip your coffee or tea in peace before you have to rush to work, maybe while catching up on personal emails.
- There’s an opportunity to get a head start on your daily work.
- If you’re one of those people, you can get some exercise done in the morning to start your day off with a burst of endorphins.
Not only does waking up early come with a whole heap of benefits, it’s also a great way to exercise a bit of discipline. If you can find the strength to wake up early every day, you’re probably a force to be reckoned with.
You might argue that you can still do all of those things without waking up early. For example, you might decide to exercise in the evenings or keep working late into the night. While this approach works for some people, chances are you’re not at your most productive after a long day (unless your name is Bruce Wayne).
For example, developers and designers have a reputation for being night owls. However, you can make your efforts stretch much further by deciding to start your day earlier. Plus, if you habituate yourself to work during the evenings, communicating with other members of your team becomes a lot harder. You don’t want to be the guy stuck sending emails at three in the morning, so do yourself a favor and set your alarm clock to a nice, respectable hour.
How to Wake Up Early and Increase Your Productivity (4 Tips)
Quite simply, anyone can wake up early. The trick is to stick with it over the long term and not give up after a couple of days. To do this, you’ll need to make some underlying changes to your routine, which is where these tips come in.
1. Establish Healthy Sleeping Habits
Setting your alarm clock for sunrise won’t be ‘doable’ if you went to bed in the wee small hours. The first step for cementing your new waking routine is to establish healthy sleeping habits. By this, we mean making changes to the way you approach sleep. You’ll feel well-rested in the mornings, even if you wake up at an ungodly hour.
Historically and empirically, this is the lifestyle change people struggle with the most. However, healthier sleeping habits come with their own set of benefits:
- You’ll have more energy in the mornings and throughout the rest of the day.
- Once your body gets accustomed to the change, you may have an easier time falling asleep.
- If you exercise throughout the week, getting more sleep will help you recover faster.
As far as what constitutes ‘healthier’ sleeping habits, it’s not a ‘dark art.’ First, you’ll need to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night, based on the 90-minute cycles our bodies go through. This means you may have to start going to sleep earlier depending on when you want to wake up. To be fair, some people can do just fine with less sleepy time. However, anything fewer than seven hours usually won’t cut it.
Second, you’ll want to develop a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve digital screens, as they disrupt your brain’s behavior when it comes to sleep. This is because the blue light they emit tells your body it shouldn’t produce melatonin, which is the hormone that causes you to fall asleep.
Given this, look to restrict your use of devices to at least half an hour before you plan on going to bed. Instead, try reading a book, or maybe listening to a podcast while you try and fall asleep in the dark.
Finally, if you have a tough time falling asleep when you’re supposed to, exercise before going to bed is usually a great idea. Combine this with a hot shower, and you’ll probably fall asleep before your head hits the pillow.
2. Give Yourself a ‘Wake-Up Range’
Usually, people will tell you to just set your alarm clock at the time you want to wake and ‘man up’. However, it’s sometimes better to ease into the routine of waking up early by setting a range during which you can get out of bed. For example, if your goal is to start getting out of bed before seven o’clock, you might set your wake-up range between 6:30–7:00. As long as you get up within this range, you’ll be good to go.
Giving yourself a wake-up range can be a great idea because it puts less pressure on yourself. If you end up falling asleep a bit later than usual, you’ll welcome twenty more minutes of sleep. Then, on those days you slept well, you can enjoy a bit more rest.
However, to pull this off, you might need to set more than one alarm in the morning. This can be somewhat jarring though, so another excellent approach is to place your bed in an area of your room that gets a bit of sunlight in the morning.
If don’t have this, investing in a wake-up light can be a great idea. These devices slowly increase their brightness in the mornings, simulating a sunrise. This makes them the perfect tools if you want to give yourself a wake-up range.
3. Don’t Lie in Bed Once You’re Awake
Regardless of how you decide to wake up in the morning, there’s one thing you should always do: Get completely out of bed as soon as possible. Of course, many people hate getting out from under the covers in the morning. If this rings true, you’ll likely need all of your willpower to get out of bed.
If you put off the moment too long, you’re more likely to succumb to the temptation of staying in bed five minutes longer. Those five minutes become ten, and by the time you realize it, you’ve lost half an hour or more.
There’s no trick to convince yourself to get out of bed immediately in the mornings. It’s a habit you have to exercise continuously until it becomes second nature. However, some approaches work for different people:
- Keep a glass of water next to the bed so you can take a sip as soon as you wake up.
- Use some fun music as your alarm instead of the same classic noises everyone uses.
- Roll out of bed to do a few pushups or some other form of light exercise after waking up, to get the blood flowing.
To be fair, this last one is unlikely to happen unless you used to be in the military or your name happens to be Rambo. Even so, you have nothing to lose by trying it out!
4. Put Together a (Productive) Morning Ritual
If you follow the three previous tips, you should be able to adjust your body to wake up earlier. However, for the routine to stick, we recommend you try and make good use of your extra morning time.
Let’s hark back to your previous routine. You may have woke up, brushed your teeth, hopped into the shower, grabbed a quick bite, and downed some coffee – all in a hurry. Of course, it’s no fun to always be under the gun, especially first thing in the morning. With the extra time, you can go through your morning routine more calmly and ‘luxuriate’ a bit.
The answer here is to find a routine you enjoy that works for you. This way, waking up early won’t be something you dread, but look forward to. Here’s an example of what this writer’s ideal morning routine looks like:
- Wake up at 6-7 AM and get a coffee pot going.
- Brush your teeth and take a shower.
- Enjoy your first cup of coffee while you read the news or watch random videos on YouTube.
- Cook a hearty breakfast and eat it without hurry.
- Sit down to work or head to the office.
If you love exercise, you can also throw a quick workout in there, given that you’ve afforded yourself more time. Then, by the time the rest of the city rolls out of bed, you’ll already be at 100%.
There’s something pleasurable about going to bed and waking whenever you please, and it’s impossible to deny. However, the sheer number of benefits you get from waking up a bit earlier each day are overwhelming. You’re actually missing out on a lot of benefits by sticking to your current routine.
If you’re ready to get up with the roosters, here are five tips to help you seize the day:
- Establish healthy sleeping habits.
- Give yourself a wake-up range.
- Don’t lie in bed once you’re awake.
- Put together a productive morning ritual.
Do you have any questions about how to wake up early in the morning? Let’s discuss them in the comments section below!
Article thumbnail image by tynyuk / shutterstock.com.
In the book My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired, some of the entrepreneurs reccomend taking a shower at night instead of morning because showers are supposed to relax you which is good for bedtime. Also, if you are super productive in the morning, you could be spending that time working instead of showering. Just another perspective, thanks for the article!