The world is divided into early risers and night owls, right?
We’re all either one or the other.
Although that’s a common belief, it’s not one I subscribe to.
I’ve decided that I can be whatever I want to be, and if that means switching my night owl tendencies for those of the early bird who catches the worm, then so be it. (I’m going to stop with these cliches now, they’re annoying even me).
Why Should You Learn How To Wake Up Early?
Why would you want to figure out how to wake up early?
Well, for me it’s an attempt at getting a little bit of quiet in my day. A snippet of time to spend on whatever is important to me.
(Yes, sometimes it’s important to me to lie on the sofa reading a book.)
When you’ve got children, especially smallish ones, it can be hard to get any peace and quiet during the day. If you’ve got work you need to give your full attention to, then an hour at the beginning of the day could be just the productive bubble you need to get things moving.
Even if you don’t have a specific project you’re working on, I’m a great believer in the idea that how you start is how you continue. If you can start the say in a peaceful bubble where everything’s under your control, then so much the better.
(Basically this just means getting up before anyone else realises they can’t find their school tie, or needs you to fix the printer now so that they can print the homework they should have finished last night).
Getting up early can also be a powerful self-care tactic, especially if, like me, you’re an introvert.
I love my family. I love the big craziness of it all. But boy is it full on! I need silence to recharge my batteries, and I have at least one child who needs to be able to bounce their every waking thought off someone else.
It’s hard work, and it’s exhausting.
If I can start my day in silence, able to think a thought from beginning to end without interruption, I find everything feels easier. I’m a happier mama.
So, that’s the why part. At least as far as my own reasons go.
Maybe you’ve got another reason for getting up early? Squeezing in marathon training, or finding time to learn a new language.
When you’re already exhausted, adding something else to your plate feels like the last thing you’d want to do. But, if you’re serious about staying productive even when you’re exhausted, getting up early might be the answer you’re looking for.
Whatever your reason for wanting to become an early riser, let’s move on to the how side of things.
How To Wake Up Early.
1. No Snoozing.
Move the alarm away from the bed if you have to (or have two alarms, one right by the bed, and one across the room).
2. Choose Your Alarm Wisely.
Take some time to pick a good sound for your alarm. You need something that’s going to wake you properly, but not send you into an adrenaline-fuelled panic every time you hear it.
(Also, if you’re playing the game of trying to get child-free time to yourself in the morning, you don’t want anything too loud!)
3. Make It A Treat.
Have something to look forward to first thing in the morning.
– Really good coffee.
– The luxury of reading a chapter in blissful silence.
– Journalling without distractions.
Whatever would make you really feel like it’s a treat to have this precious time to yourself.
Even if you’ve found this post because you need to set a crazy-early alarm for work, you can still spare a minute to do something that’s just for you. (Check out my post on micro self-care activities if you need some ideas.)
4. Set Yourself Up For Success.
Or at least for a smooth and easy morning.
Get as much ready the night before as you can.
The aim is to make it easy to just hop out of bed and dive into your first activity of the day.
If you’re waking up early to practice yoga, then have your mat ready in the room you’ll use, and lay out your clothes so that you can get dressed without waking anyone else.
Get the coffee machine ready to go.
Put your journalling supplies in a basket ready to pick up and carry with you.
5. A Gradual Transition.
Yes, you could just go cold turkey and set your alarm two hours earlier than normal and hope for the best.
I’ve done it that way before.
It worked, kind of, but I found the tiredness at the end of the day was no fun at all.
Instead, I prefer to shift my alarm by ten or fifteen minutes every few days.
Move gradually towards your desired wake-up time, and you’ll find your sleep pattern adjusts easily.
6. Get Enough Sleep.
Full disclosure, it’s 11 p.m. here, and I’m still typing, and my alarm is set for 5:30 a.m.
I don’t always take my own advice.
If you want to learn how to wake up early and how to keep getting up early, then you’ll want to pay attention to how much sleep you’re getting.
You know better than I do how much sleep you need to keep functioning. That figure will vary depending on a whole host of factors.
You might need to play around with bedtime and wake up time for a while to find the sweet spot.
(Hal Elrod talks about this in The Miracle Morning [tk afflink and chapter reference] – a book that’s well worth a read if you’re serious about waking up early).
7. Have A Consistent Bedtime.
This is related to the point above, but I wanted to talk a little bit about sleep cycles here.
You probably know already that you cycle through different types of sleep during the night.
If you have a reasonably consistent bedtime and waking-up time, then your body gets used to that.
The advantage of this is that you’ll naturally come into a lighter sleep shortly before your alarm is due to go off, making the whole process of getting up that little bit easier.
You might also want to experiment with apps that monitor your sleep cycles and wake you at the optimal time.
8. Have A Consistent Wake-Up Time.
I can practically feel the resistance to this one.
Sticking to the same alarm time even on the weekends is a good way to really cement this new habit.
If you spend Monday to Friday training your brain to wake you at five, and then sleep in until eleven on the weekends, then you’re probably going to feel pretty crappy.
9. Have A Plan.
Have a good reason for waking early, and figure out ahead of time what you’re going to do.
Again, Hal Elrod has plenty to say on this subject, and his SAVERS routine (Silence, Affirmations, Visualisation, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing) is a really good place to start if you’re hoping to really make the early morning thing work for you.
Let the sunshine work its magic.
Assuming it’s daylight when you get up, step outside for a few moments and turn your face to the sun.
We’re conditioned to wake up with the sun, so this is just one more way of telling your body it’s time to get up.
You might also try a daylight lamp, particularly if it’s dark in the mornings.
Turn Yourself Into An Early Riser.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to know how to wake up early, I hope you’ve found some useful suggestions in this post.
There’s something magical about being the only person up and about in the morning, and it’s definitely a time that I savour.
I’d love you to have the chance to experience that magic too.
Give it a try, even if you only beat your kids out of bed by ten minutes, that’s enough time for a quick coffee at your clean and tidy table, before the craziness kicks off for the day.
Inspired to become an early riser? Pin this post so others can join in too.