10 tips to wake up early in the morning
1. Move up your wake time slowly
The body likes consistency and it can take some time for it to get used to any changes to your sleeping schedule. Your sleep becomes progressively lighter as the time to wake up approaches. If you move it up too abruptly you will be disrupting your sleep pattern. This means that, even if you manage to wake up early in the morning, you will most likely feel tired, sleepy, and generally slow throughout the day.
The trick is to move up your wake time slowly, 15 to 30 minutes at a time if possible. If you are currently waking up at around 10 a.m. and want to change it to 7 a.m., for example, you should start with waking up at 9:45 or 9:30, the first day, then 9:30 or 8 a.m., and so on, until you reach your goal.
2. Move up your bedtime slowly too
A common mistake made by those who want to wake up early is to think that if they go to bed much earlier than usual they will be waking up earlier too. However, as mentioned before, the body likes consistency. Just as it will start slowly waking up when your regular wake-up time approaches, it will also begin to wind down and feel sleepy when bedtime is near.
If you go to bed much earlier than normal you will not be feeling sleepy yet. Instead, you are more likely to toss and turn and become stressed because you cannot fall asleep, which in turn can lead to insomnia.
As you adjust your wake-up time progressively, do the same with your bedtime. Move up your bedtime 15 to 30 minutes each day, if possible. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep to go through all the sleeping stages and fully rest, so you should take this interval into account too.
3. Stay away from social media and the TV before bedtime
You want to go to bed relaxed to fall asleep right away and have a resting sleep time. The better the quality of your sleep, the smoother your awakening will be.
As strange as it might seem to see the social media mentioned in an article on tips to wake up early in the morning, there is a good reason. Social media - and certain TV programs - can be a source of stress. You are very likely to see something that fires you up, right when you should be winding down. It can also be a positive arousal, like seeing that your favorite band is coming to town. Either way, if it makes you positively or negatively excited before bedtime, it is a no-no.
4. Stay away from blue lights
Electronic devices such as smartphones, TVs, tablets, computers, and laptops expose users to blue light. There are many pros and cons to this type of light technology, but for the purpose of this article, you only need to know that the brain interprets it as sunlight.
Our bodies follow a circadian rhythm, a natural process that responds to light. Thus, when the sun sets, it begins to produce melatonin, a hormone that signals the body to begin to sleep. Exposing the brain to blue light reverts the production of melatonin and tells the body that it should be awake and active.
5. Avoid snacking late at night
The digestion of food interferes with the body’s capacity to relax and to enter a deeper stage of sleep. It can also trigger acid reflux while you are laying down which in turn also affects your sleep.
If you cannot have a proper resting night, it will be harder for you to wake up early in the morning.
6. Coffee, alcohol, and energy drinks are a no-no
The ingestion of energy drinks, caffeine, and alcohol also interferes with the sleeping patterns and the ability of the body to reach all the needed sleeping stages.
Although they can help you stay active and alert during the day, you should restrict or avoid altogether their consumption at night. A good night of sleep is essential to be able to wake up early in the morning with enough energy to go through the day.
7. Wake up with natural light
Open your curtains and blinds right before going to bed. Following the circadian rhythm, the body begins to wake up when exposed to light. As the night gives way to dawn and then to morning, you will start to wake up very softly.
This progressive awakening means that you will either wake up naturally when the sun starts to rise or that, at least, you will be feeling more active when your alarm goes off.
8. Place your alarm far away from the bed
Hitting the snooze button or turning off the alarm when you are still comfortable wrapped on your blankets are both risky moves. You can either fall asleep again or your body can enter a mechanical state of keeping pressing snooze automatically while half-asleep. Waking up early in the morning will be impossible in both cases.
The trick is to place your alarm out of your direct reach. This way you will be forced to get out of bed to turn it off.
9. Try to be consistent even on weekends
As mentioned before, consistency is of extreme importance to create a pattern of falling asleep early and wake up early in the morning. That is why, while adapting your sleeping schedule, you need to do it little by little for it to be effective.
Unfortunately, all your efforts can be thrown out of the window on weekends. When you suddenly go to bed much later and sleep-in in the mornings, you break the sleeping pattern you have created in the previous days. Mondays tend to be particularly hard on everyone precisely because they represent an abrupt change in the sleeping schedule.
10. Have a clear reason to wake up early in the morning
Wanting to have more time to do things or saying that people that wake up early in the morning seem healthier is not enough. Changing your sleeping schedule can be hard and it might affect your productivity and clarity in the first couple of days.
You need to have a strong reason to justify this change so you can keep going even when it seems too hard. Otherwise, you might enter a loop of trying and giving up. Be detailed and precise in your reasoning.