Up Before the Roosters: Becoming an Early Riser
One of the goals I contemplate for myself on a near weekly basis is rising earlier every day. As a person who works from home and knows what damage slumps can do to motivation and productivity, I’ve wanted to create a better way to do things. The few times I’ve found myself up before the sun turned out to be very good days where I truly felt accomplished.
But saying I’ll wake up earlier when I go to bed at night only leads to my snoozing through several alarms the next morning. Surely many people experience the same defeat. But I am still motivated to try and change my undisciplined ways, and I was happy to discover that waking up earlier actually has many benefits. (See also: How to Naturally Reset Your Sleep Cycle in One Night)
Advantages of an Early Wake Up Call
As a writer with a family, a lot of my evenings are filled with constant interruptions that leave me frustrated and unproductive. At one time I was a night person who preferred to sleep all day, but the older I get, the earlier I find myself dropping into bed exhausted. Getting up earlier in the day has distinct benefits and can change the direction of your entire day.
Consider how many days you wake up in a rush, trying to get everyone out the door and getting yourself to work on time, which leaves you irritated and exhausted before lunch. By getting up earlier, you give yourself the pleasure of a more relaxed start. You can grab some time alone to fully wake up and get a grip on your day before rushing into life with everyone else.
In line with having more time for you, early risers also tend to be more productive. Even with just 30 extra minutes a day, a lot can be done. The dishwasher can be loaded, laundry folded, dinner ingredients prepared.
My grandmother used to say certain people in the family would be late to their own funerals because they were habitually late for everything else. By rising earlier, you can be more accomplished before leaving home and arrive at your destination without the rush. You may see better opportunities at work and become known as a reliable, dependable person rather than a harried, stressed-out mess.
Waking up earlier allows you to finally have the time to eat a healthy breakfast and fuel your body for the day. Giving your body time to wake up and digest your food properly is necessary for good health. The chugging-coffee-shoving-a-bagel-down-your-throat breakfast you’re used to can become a thing of the past.
5 Ways to Roll Out of Bed Earlier
You can make it happen. Here's what to do.
1. Start Incrementally
If you want to wake an hour earlier than you usually do moving forward, don’t try to do it all at once. Start with just five minutes and build up from there. When you go to bed each night, think about what you can accomplish in that first 5-10 minutes. It will get easier to reach your hour-earlier goal within a few weeks, and eventually it will become a habit.
2. Adopt a Bedtime Routine
You may find it hard to wake up earlier because you find it so hard to go to bed at night. You’ll need to start cutting out the distractions in the hour leading up to bedtime, including television and caffeine. Try reading a book before bed rather than watching cable or sitting with a to-do list for the next day. By implementing a bedtime routine in your life to ensure you get enough sleep, you will find it easier to rise earlier.
3. Don’t Snooze
Most people put their alarms conveniently right next to their beds at night, making it too easy to slam the snooze button every five minutes. Try moving your clock to a table on the other side of the room. Or get a more annoying alarm clock that doesn’t have a snooze option.
4. Prepare the Night Before
Even with extra time in the morning, it can make you crazy to face a thousand things to do each time you wake up. Start preparing the night before for an easier morning. Have your clothing selected, your lunch packed, and your car keys in a safe location. This way you can get up with your coffee and quiet time to look forward to each day.
5. Reward Yourself
While the extra time in the day can be rewarding enough, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for achieving your goal. Pick a morning or two a week that is all for you. Rather than getting household chores done, use your early morning time to dive into that book you’ve wanted to read, take a long soak in the tub, or watch your favorite show on the DVR without interruption. It will give you something to look forward to each week and remind you of your success.
Much of adopting a new way of life is mind over matter. Continue to realize the positives your changes are bringing about and find the motivation to keep moving forward with positive changes in your life.
Did you switch from being a night owl to an early riser? How did you do it?