Back in college, I could not force myself to get up before 9am, even 10am. I was a night owl – studying until the early hours of the morning, then sleeping through the next day. But once I started my internship and later on my 9-5, that had to change. Sure, at first I wondered how to wake up early, but soon found it was simpler than I thought. Even after I switched jobs (I’ve had a flexible one for more than a year now) I always get up around 6:30am, start early, and finish early.
Here are my secrets to getting up early, my dos and don’ts, and the benefits of it.
How to Wake Up Early
I don’t always feel energized when getting up in the morning, and I’d rather sleep in. But I never do – here’s how.
Remind Yourself of What Happens When You Sleep In
In my case, I have 40 hours I have to work every week – whenever I want. If I sleep in, it means I’ll either end up working late, or moving extra hours over to Saturday, and who wants that?
Besides, I am aware that I am much more productive in the morning, so I wouldn’t finish as much work as I’d like if I get up later.
So, what happens if you sleep in? Do you end up not having time to get breakfast? Or are you running around frantically? Being late for work?
Whatever it is, make sure that’s your first thought when you reach for that snooze button in the morning, and you’ll find early morning awakening a lot easier.
Have a Waking Up-Friendly Atmosphere
One of the answers to “how to get used to waking up early” is to have the right environment. The thing that gets me snoozing the most is when it’s cold in the morning. I just want to stay in my bed and be warm! So we made sure our heating system starts at 5am, and I also make sure I keep warm clothes right next to my bed. That way, when it’s time to get up, I can just grab something warm, cover myself with it, and get the party started.
Another thing is to keep your blinds lifted throughout the night. This has been a game changer for me. If I wake up to pitch darkness, I am not about to get up all happy and energized. But if the sun is in my room, it becomes much easier. If you struggle sleeping with blinds up (as I used to), simply get a sleeping mask.
Keep Your Phone Far Away
This is a classic, but it does work wonders. If all it takes for you to snooze is a touch of your finger, you’re very likely to do it. But if you have to get up to turn off that pesky alarm, you’re probably not going back to bed.
Have a Set Routine
When I wake up in the morning, I immediately go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, and wash my face. Then I’m in the kitchen, making my oatmeal and brewing coffee. Once all that’s done, I’m already well-awake and can start working.
I find that coffee helps me wake up, but if you’re more of a tea or light exercise person, add that to your routine instead!
The reason I’m adding this is the amount of “wake up at 5am easily” articles I come upon. But no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot force myself to wake up at 5am. I have, however, mastered how to wake up at 6am, and that’s good enough for me.
If you’re used to getting at 8am, start by setting your alarm to 7am. Then, once you’ve mastered that, move it back to 6:30am, 6am, and eventually, you may even be able to go for 5am if that’s your goal.
But planning to suddenly move your alarm 2 or 3 hours ahead is likely to end in falure. In turn, that will make you think you’re just not cut out to be waking up early every day, and you’ll easily give up.
Start Getting Up Early, Then Change Your Bedtime
This might sound counterintuitive but think about it. If you’re used to falling asleep at 1am, and you got up at 9am that morning, you’re not very likely to suddenly fall asleep at 11pm that evening. You’ll just start this quest frustrated. So go to sleep when you usually would, and use these tips to get up earlier the next day. When that evening comes, your body will naturally want to go to sleep earlier, and you’ll start waking up early more easily. So, the answer to how to go to bed and wake up early is – start the other way around. Do check out some tips on falling asleep more easily, though, just to set yourself up for success.
Why Wake Up Early?
Now we know how to wake up early. But you may be thinking – why though? If you sleep 8 hours, and I sleep 8 hours, what difference does it make when I get up? Don’t we have the same amount of hours to get things done?
Technically yeah… but not really. The thing is, our circadian rhythms are in line with the light and dark. So around the time the sun comes up, the wake-up hormones will start secreting. Meanwhile, a couple of hours after the sun goes down, the sleep hormone melatonin is being secreted.
What that means is – your sleep will be more unstable (and less useful) the longer you sleep in, so you’ll have less energy. And though coffee and energy drinks will seemingly keep you awake in the middle of the night, you won’t be working at your full capacity.
But if you do start waking up early:
- You’ll be more productive
- You’ll have more energy
- You’ll have a more quality sleep
- Your immune system and brain functions will be working better
So why not give it a go?