Waking up early can be a great way to make a positive change in your life if you do it right.
If you do it wrong, waking up early could make you sick, sleep deprived, and mess up your life.
Here’s how to find out if waking up earlier is a good move for you, and how to make it work.
Why Sleep Matters
Most folks who talk about waking up early have little to no understanding of the science behind sleep. Getting enough sleep is crucial to maintaining good health, reducing your risk for almost every mental disorder and chronic disease, maintaining healthy emotional regulation, feeling good, and being productive at work.
Different folks have different biological blueprints for their sleep cycles. Some of us are night owls and some of us are morning larks, and these differences are biological and genetic in origin, so you can change when you wake up, but you can’t change which sleep schedule is most healthy for your personal genetic makeup.
Night owls often do best when waking up between 8am and 11am.
Morning larks often do best when waking up between 4am and 8am.
There are also folks who are a mix between the two, and there are big differences in the time of day on the clock and the actual biological time clock our bodies follow based on the sun’s daily cycle. So, in some geographic areas, 4am might be the perfect time for you to wake up, while in other areas 5 or 6 am would be more appropriate, for example.
We all have our own circadian rhythm, which is our body’s internal biological time clock. By following your own circadian rhythm’s pattern, you’ll sleep better at night and feel better when you wake up.
How to Wake Up Early
Now that you know how to protect your health and get enough sleep, let’s help you wake up earlier if that makes sense for you.
1. Go to Bed Earlier
The first step to waking up earlier and feeling good is to actually go to bed earlier. The vast majority of people are actually sleep deprived, so you should find yourself able to go to bed 30-60 minutes earlier at night without any extra effort.
2. Set Up a Good Sleep Routine
Next, you need to make sure you set up a good sleep routine.
Laying in bed browsing Facebook may feel like a good idea at the time, but it can ruin your sleep and sabotage your efforts to wake up earlier and change your life for the better.
Read our guide on setting up a good sleep routine and follow it.
3. Set Your Alarm Clock 15 Minutes Earlier Each Day
Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach your goal time of waking up.
By slowly adjusting your waking and sleeping schedule, your body will be able to adapt much more easily to your new sleep cycle.
It might sound like a great idea to just set your alarm clock 2 hours earlier tomorrow, but you’ll end up feeling like crap and regretting it. So make your change slowly if you want to create a new habit and stick to it.
4. Change Your Morning Routine
Waking up earlier every day won’t help you if you don’t also change your morning routine.
If you want to feel better in the morning, be more productive, and get more done, you need a great morning routine to help you start the day off right.
Here are some ideas for things you can do to start your day off with a great morning routine:
- Workout. Go for a run, walk, do burpees, or watch a workout video on YouTube.
- Listen to motivational videos or podcasts
- Jump on a trampoline or rebounder
- Journal, write out your thoughts, and/or write out your to-do list for the day
- Meditate or listen to a guided meditation
5. Take Naps
If you’re feeling extra tired after changing your waking time, set aside some time in the afternoon for a quick nap.
Even laying down for just 10 minutes with your eyes closed can be a great way to relax and help your body recover from the change.
6. Set a Goal
One of the reasons folks often give up trying to wake up earlier is because they don’t have strong enough reasons to stick to the new schedule.
Set a goal, whether it’s to get more fit by working out in the morning, be more productive at work, or finally find that time to write your novel.
By having a purpose behind waking up earlier, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it when things get tough.
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