Waking up early in the morning, before anyone else is hard. In my early twenties, my day didn’t start until 10 or 11am sometimes. It felt like the day just escaped, and that feeling alone prompted me to reset my clock and become a morning person. Since I made that change 10 years ago, I never looked back.
Why wake up early?
Before starting anything you need to have a reason ‘Why’ you’re doing it. Because you ‘want to’ or ‘feel like it’ is not good enough to sustain a habit. Eventually you’ll just change your mind and do something else because you ‘feel like it’.
Start a with a simple reason. As I mentioned earlier, for me it was because I felt that the day just slipped away. By the time I got going it was half-way through. Once you dig deeper, you’ll quickly realize that for me it was all about productivity.
Time is a commodity that no one has, so changing my wake up call from 10 am to 5am just bought me 5 hours. But it felt like more than that as my productivity in the wee hours of the morning just shot up through the roof. Between 5am and 7am. I’d catch up on the news. Do a little bit of online learning. Sometimes I’d write a blog post. Get a a head start on email or other work, and everyday during the week I’d get a good workout in. Realizing and experiencing how much I can actually get done in the morning without any interruptions allowed me to focus on myself and it was enough for me to keep going and sustain this habit for a decade now.
You may have a completely different reason to wanting to become a morning person. Perhaps it’s to do some creative work? Perhaps you need that time to read? Go to the gym?Or even catch up on your favorite TV shows? It doesn’t matter what it is, but what everyone benefits from is the distraction-free time you gain for yourself.
How to become a morning person?
There are many ways to reset your internal alarm and adjust to waking up early, but the one method that worked for me was gradually moving up my wake up time to an earlier time slot.
Step 1: set a target wake up time. For me it was 5am.
Step 2: starting today set you alarm clock to wake you up 15 minute earlier.
Step 3: follow step 2 for the next several days to get to your target wake up time. Everyday, wake up 15 minutes earlier. When I switched my wake up time from 10am to 5am, mathematically it would have taken me 20 days to get to my goal, but in reality my body adjusted quickly and it took me just two weeks. So I skipped ahead.
15 minute interval worked for me because of the distance between my starting wake up time and my goal. If you have a shorter distance, I recommend trying a shorter interval of 10 minutes or even 5.
It’s a fairly simple wake up strategy, but it will cut into your total sleep hours – in the beginning at least. During your first 2 days you’ll still be going to bed at your usual time. Meaning, if you’re waking up early but going to sleep at the same time as before you’re losing sleep. Lost sleep will catch up to you. Go to sleep when you feel tired. Don’t fight it.
Be sure to get your 7-8 hours of sleep. Check out this video for a clear explanation why we need proper sleep:
How to stick with it?
One, adjusting your alarm by 15 minutes doesn’t seem much. First morning will be bearable. Second, might get a little tough. By the third or forth mornings you’ll be really feeling it. You’ll ask yourself, why am doing this? You’ll be tempted to hit snooze. Duck under the pillow or just give up. Whatever you do, you cannot give up. Because the next time you’ll be starting from scratch. Don’t throw away your efforts that easily.
Two, remind yourself why you’re doing this. Write it out. Keep your goals and motivation right on your night stand.
Three, it’s only for a few days. Stick it out. If it doesn’t work. try another method. Remind yourself, that this is temporary.
And finally, try a Sleep Cycle app. Using your smartphone, the app tracks your sleeping pattern and will wake you up when you’re out of deep sleep during an alarm window that you can preset. Be sure to move that into a earlier time slot every day until you get to your target wake up time.
Without a doubt drastically moving up your wake up time to an earlier timeslot is hard. But the benefits far outweigh the short term pain. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish during the early hours of the morning while everyone else is cuddling their pillows.
Have you tried the method above? Have a different strategy? Or a recent morning person convert? Let me know in the comments below.