Learning to wake up early with ease can be life-changing, but it can also seem like an impossible challenge. We hear about the most successful people starting their day early. Richard Branson said, “Over my 50 years in business, I have learned that if I rise early I can achieve so much more in a day, and therefore in life.”
And who doesn’t want to achieve more in life, right?
At the same time, more and more studies show how not getting enough sleep can be highly detrimental to performance and overall health. A good night’s rest is crucial when following the 21-Day Clean Program.
With all of this seemingly contradictory information, how can we possibly balance getting enough sleep for our needs with the “early rise catches the worm” mentality?
How to wake up early: Plan and track your sleep
If getting up early is our goal, we need to plan out the exact time we want to wake up every morning. “Early” may take on different meanings from person to person. Is it 5 am? 7 am? Maybe it’s 4 am like Apple CEO Tim Cook. Whatever the time is, count backward eight hours before that so you have an approximate time that you should be hitting the hay each night.
We know — you think you can get by with less than eight hours of sleep, but a recent study suggests that those who routinely slept for only six hours or less performed at a level of someone who hadn’t slept for two days. Even worse, the participants in the study weren’t aware that they had been performing at less than ideal levels. This shows that even when we’re sluggish because of lack of sleep, we cannot clearly identify things.
If we plan on waking up at 6 am, striving to be under the sheets by 10 pm is a reasonable goal.
How to wake up early: Nighttime tips
Have you ever tried to get to bed early, but the sleep just doesn’t come? We lie there, tossing and turning, thinking of our to-do’s for the next day or conversations that we had earlier in the day. When nights like this hit us, we would often find ourselves giving up on rest and just getting out of bed to work on something that was on my mind.
By recreating my night-time routines (similar to my morning routine), I was able to fall asleep quicker than ever and stop waking up in the middle of the night.
Set a reminder for “me time,” starting about an hour before you want to go to bed. I have a daily reminder set on my phone that 9 pm is my “me time.” This is my chance to disconnect, drink chamomile tea, and read that book I’ve been meaning to catch up on.
If disconnecting an hour before bedtime isn’t an option for you, try downloading an app like F.Lux, which eliminates the blue light that glows from computer screens. Our eyes perceive this blue light as sunlight as it suppresses our bodies’ natural production of melatonin, a hormone that helps us feel sleepy. F.lux replaces the light that emanates from our computers and tablets with a warm light as the evening progresses, so you may find that it’s easier to ease into a restful sleep.
Watch what you drink
Drink a glass of warm water with a pinch of Himalayan salt before bed. The salt will help you have a deeper, more restful sleep. It is even said that the salt helps kick start your adrenals the following day.
Cutting down on caffeine during the day will also help you sleep and rise in the morning with ease. It is not an easy feat for most, but months ago, after completing the Clean Program, I decided to continue to give up coffee altogether. This decision had numerous positive benefits on my life, including reduced anxiety and consistent energy levels throughout the day. I also found that I have been sleeping so much better.
Those who cannot quit their daily java habit should only consume caffeine in the morning and eliminate their refined sugar intake. Simple steps like these can help you minimize those night-time jitters.
Don’t be a party animal
Most of the time, a Saturday night will drag on until 1 am, 2 am, or even 3 in the morning. If it’s a once in a while occurrence, we say enjoy yourself, but try and keep those nights to a minimum. Although you may want to party the night away on the weekend (or stay up late marathoning the latest series on Netflix), your body doesn’t know that Saturday is different than any other night of the week, so doing this can throw your system off.
By drastically changing your sleep routine even one day, you run the risk of throwing off your circadian rhythms and making it harder for your body to learn how to wake up early Monday through Friday.
Try and call it a night earlier than your friends do. Staying up until 3 am usually leads to poor late-night food decisions anyways, so this tip will help you keep your food choices in check to help you maintain your results.
How to wake up early: Morning tips
Create something for yourself that will make you get excited to hop out of bed, like preparing a fantastic breakfast the night before or putting together an outfit that you can’t wait to wear. Usually, on the days that we don’t feel like getting out of bed, the reason is that we’re dreading something we have to do after we wake up, like dealing with our hair (I have heaps of curls) or trying to decipher what to wear in a rush.
By creating moments that you’re excited to experience first thing in the morning, you’ll find that you’re jumping out of bed to start the day. Decrease the stress and decisions you have to make in the morning, and you’ll discover easing out of bed in the morning is so much easier.
Don’t press snooze
While learning how to wake up early can be tricky, the most important thing is to practice discipline. The first few days of starting a new habit are crucial.
By hopping out of bed as soon as you hear your alarm and getting moving, you’re training your body to wake up at the right time. Before you know it, you’ll be waking up before your alarm even rings.
Create a morning routine
Significant changes in our lifestyles don’t happen overnight, and good habits require finding a way to turn any significant shift we want to make in our lives into a routine.
Once we get in the habit, we won’t have to think twice about hopping out of bed as the birds chirp. We’ll be ahead of the curve on getting a head start on our days by heading to the gym or by including a healthy breakfast in our morning rituals.
Written by Reese Evans