Do you hate getting up in the morning?
Does the sound of your alarm clock set you in panic, dry sweats, and almost bring you to tears each morning?
Do you hate people that are happy and chipper early in the morning?
Do you need to have at least two cups of coffee before you can even acknowledge the day each morning?
Do you wish there was a way to make getting up easier?
Do you wish you had more time to get things done during the day?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, this ‘ible is for you.
Please note, I’m not a doctor, I never played one on TV, I didn’t even stay in a Holiday Inn last night, so please use this only as a guide and seek professional help for any problems or issues you may have.
With that said, I have been in the US Army for over 20 years and been deployed all over. During my time, 0300 (3am) wakeups were the norm. I remember cheering once when we were told that we could “sleep in” to 0400!
Over time, I’ve learned plenty of tricks for dealing with early mornings. Some from trial and error, some from actual research I’ve done in the past.
So here goes…
Step 1: What You Need to Understand
The most important part of becoming a morning person is to understand why it’s so hard to wake up in the morning. With this simple understanding (and only a minute amount of discipline) you can find out how to enjoy the mornings more, and consequently get more time to live life!
Here is the secret. Your sleep is done in cycles. When you fall asleep, you start a cycle. As you sleep, you complete and start new sleep cycles. The duration of these cycles varies throughout the night. They can be as short as a few minutes, to a few hours.
If you wake up at the end of ANY of these cycles, you will feel fine and will be good to go all day long. The problem arises when one of these cycles is broken.
The problem with most people is that they use alarm clocks to wake them up. The alarm clock doesn’t know when your cycle ends. It just makes noise at a certain time. (Some gradually get louder, this is to reduce its abruptness, but it still isn’t ideal for waking up to.
Step 2: Stop Using the Alarm Clock
I know, many of you are saying, “How do I do that?” It’s simple.
Have you ever been sleeping, then waken up for no reason (no external noise or stimulus) and looked at the clock? Normally you say to yourself, “I’ve got 1 more hour left to sleep” then you go back to bed.
What you need to do when this happens, and this is where your discipline comes in, you need to get out of bed at THAT moment, and start your day. I don’t care if it is 3 hours before you need to wake up or just 3 minutes. Get out of bed and start your day.
As a “safety net” place your alarm clock out of your reach and set it to the absolute latest time you can get up. This way, if you don’t wake up one any particular night, the alarm will wake you up and you can’t just hit the snooze button.
Step 3: Keep It Up
Some days, you’ll wake up 4 hours before you need to, some days it might be only a few minutes before. What is important that you ALWAYS get out of bed when this happens. Each time you do, you body will be woken up at the end of a cycle. You body will tell you EXACTLY how much sleep it needs. Most people sleep LONGER than they need to. I have found that many nights; I need about 5 hours of sleep. Then maybe once every two weeks I’ll sleep about 7 hours. But I haven’t been woken up by an alarm clock in over a decade.
Don’t fret if it doesn’t work right away. Consistency is the key. Remember, you’ve been doing it WRONG all your life; it might take a while for your body to adjust to doing it right.
Step 4: Keep Regular Hours
Of course, you want to try and keep to a consistent time to go to bed. I understand that people have lives, so do your best. BUT, listen to your body. I try to go to bed by 2300 (11pm) each night. But on occasion, if I feel tried I’ll go to bed at 2000 (8pm,) if I can. (Note, on these nights, I may get up at 0100 (1am) and start my day.
The trick is to NOT lie in bed and try to go back to sleep after you wake up on your own.
Step 5: Kicking It Up a Notch!
OK, so if you really have tried this method and you still sleep until the alarm clock after 12 hours of sleep, you can kick it up.
Before you go to bed, drink two glasses of water. You will need to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Congratulations, your day just started!
Step 6: But I Don't Want to Wake Others
This is a valid point, and it’s important to be considerate of other people’s sleep needs. So here are a few things you can do in the early morning while they are sleeping…
- Read emails
- Pay bills
- Watch TV in another room with a “headset” on
- Walk the dog
- Go into your hobby room/garage and work on a project.
- Go for a run
- Learn to do needlepoint
- Write Instructables!
Do you see what just happened? You just GAINED hours to the day. Once you get into this routine, your body will be more refreshed, you will have more time to get things done.
Most importantly, you will have become a Morning Person!
Step 7: Some Additional Tips for Follow Up.
Here are a few other tips to keep in mind to help you be successful in your quest to become a morning person…
- First, don’t drink caffeine or other stimulants after 1500 (3pm) You need to wean yourself off of them anyway, you don’t need them anymore!
- Try not to eat heavy meals after 2000 (8pm)
- Do NOT use ANY sleeping aid.
- Try not to exercise 2 hours before you plan to go to sleep
- Don’t try to fight going to sleep because you are watching TV or reading. That is what TIVO is for.
- If you feel sleepy during the middle of the day, and you can, take a few minute nap. Again, you want to wake up on your own, not with an alarm.
After a while, this will all be second nature. Enjoy your new found time!