How to wake up early is a hot topic once again with all the “successful” people apparently waking up at 5 am every day. I have seen countless YouTubers making videos where they’re trying to wake up at 5 am for a month or something similar.
Look, you’re obviously here because you want to give it a try. And that is great. You really should get up (really) early. I am not going to lie to you that I wake up at 5 am every morning.
Sometimes it’s 4.
Kidding aside, you don’t have to wake up at 5 am to be productive. Your wake up time can be 6, 7 or even 8 o’clock depending on when your first official responsibilities start (aka the rat race).
You see, it’s all relative. You can wake up 4 hours before work, but if you spend these 4 hours watching YouTube videos or exploring your Instagram feed, instead of doing something constructive, you’re better off staying in bed. I’m writing this out of my own experience.
Waking up early for waking up’s sake makes no sense.
Just because a famous CEO or a YouTuber does it, doesn’t mean it will miraculously change your life. You will have to have a damn good reason to beat the alarm clock more than 2 days in a row. Especially in wintertime when it’s dark outside and sooooo warm and cozy in the bed.
I’ll show you some of the benefits of waking up early and you decide if that makes it worth it to you.
But first, watch this short and to the point motivational video by Arnie. You might love him or hate him but his words are true.
Benefits Of Waking Up Early
One major benefit of waking up early is that almost everyone else is still asleep, including your family members. And you know what that means – dead silence and peace. You’ll especially appreciate this if you have kids. Waking up a few hours before them makes a great difference.
Everyone else is sleeping also means there are no notifications or emails to disturb you. This is great if you plan on meditating or working after you wake up. You can do your stuff, whatever it is, without interruptions.
Time To Focus
We often live just for the weekends because that’s the only time in the whole week we have some time off for ourselves. But what if you had an extra few hours EVERY DAY?
By getting extra hour(s) before your day starts officially, you’ll have more time to focus. More time to focus on your (side) work, your mindfulness, your reading, your workout or your hobbies. You can implement all of these great things in the course of a day (or week).
DO NOT waste these precious extra hours to watch TV or browse social media. Leave that for the evening time. Morning hours, in general, are the most productive hours of your day so make them count.
I won’t lie to you, getting into the habit of waking up early is going to be tough. It will require discipline. But once you gain this discipline, it will make for all the difference in the world. Apply it to every facet of your life.
You know who wakes up early every morning? Garbage disposal people and bakers. But also CEOs. Once you settle into your routine of waking up early, meaning you have conquered this challenging task, you will gain confidence that you can do anything. By completing hard tasks we get more confidence for work in the future.
If you have in the back of your mind that you conquered something really hard before, bring it into your conscious thought when you’re faced with new difficulties.How To Wake Up Early And Not Feel Miserable
15 Actionable Tips To Help You Wake Up Early
Some of these tips are more important than the others but I would suggest implementing all of these to make a bulletproof plan to wake up early and stick to it. These are in no particular order except the first tip which is the be-all-end-all of this list.
You have to have a strong mother-effing why.
Have A Strong Why
This is your reason for getting up early. It has to be a damn good one. This is the mantra you will have in the back of your head on the days when you will want to sleep in. It will motivate you to get up from the bed and not hit the snooze button.
If you ask me for one single piece of advice on how to get up early – it would be this one – make your why bulletproof.
Make your why bulletproof.
If you’re going to wake up to workout because you want to lose weight and feel healthy again your why has to reflect that and more so. It would have to look something like this:
I am doing this because I am sick of being fat and I want to feel great and turn people’s heads. This badass is me and I deserve to be one. I am never going to my old life again!Throw in some profanities for good measure
This will be your personal mission statement. It should reflect your goals, who you are and want to be and give you positive affirmations. Read some examples of personal mission statements from successful people and how to easily craft yours here.
Without a strong driving force behind your goals, you are in danger of easily failing at your first few hurdles.
Avoid Naps In The Afternoon
Naps are great! I love to nap for 15 to 20 minutes with my two cats. Does it help? Not in particular, no. I feel even more wrecked afterward. That’s the reason I’m avoiding my cat naps even though they bring me great pleasure. I’ve even tried the coffee trick where you drink a cup of coffee before you take a nap because for coffee it takes 15-30 minutes to kick in. That should supposedly make you jump up from the couch and ready to go after your nap.
If you have to nap, make them really short, 10-20 minutes max. Set the alarm or just hold something in your hand that will wake you up when it falls on the floor when you fall asleep.
Napping can also have a negative effect on other sleeping periods. A long nap or a nap taken too late in the day may adversely affect the length and quality of nighttime sleep. If you have trouble sleeping at night, a nap will only amplify problems.www.sleepfoundation.org
Keep Your Bedroom Cooler
There are many benefits to keeping your bedroom cooler, at least at night.
- Cooler temperatures are more conducive to sleep
- It will help you fall asleep faster
- A lower temperature will improve your sleep quality
- Rooms between 60 and 68 degrees encourage the body to produce melatonin. In addition to promoting sleep, melatonin is also a powerful anti-aging hormone.
- Helps prevent insomnia
You will also sweat less, and your probably hug your partner more to use that body temperature to warm up during the night making your relationship stronger.
Use Your Bed For Two Things Only
Speaking of body warmth and sweating, you should use your bedroom for only two things – watching football and eating chicken wings. Nooooo. Wrong answer!
I am talking about sleeping and sex of course. Everything else can happen in other rooms in the apartment.
No need to pig out in front of the TV in the bedroom.
No TV In The Bedroom/Limit Screen Time
Once again – don’t watch TV in the bedroom before sleeping. Not only is it bad for your relationship but the last thing you think about matters as well. Also, the blue screen light can hinder melatonin production in your brain and can delay the onset of REM sleep and lead to morning drowsiness. And as our goal is to wake up early to be productive, TV is only going to make it worse.
The same goes for using your smartphone for anything but reading books or blinks. And you should do that with the dark mode on.
Avoid Stimulants Late In The Afternoon
Caffeine, taurine, Red Bull, Monster and even tea should be a big no-no after 2 pm if you want to have a good night’s sleep and wake up fresh. Not only do they hold you from falling asleep easily but also make the sleep quality worse. Limiting your stimulants to morning and early afternoon will give you plenty of time to get them out of your system before bedtime.
Excessive caffeine consumption, on the order of 400 milligrams or more per day, can significantly disrupt sleep patternsHow To Wake Up Early And Not Feel Miserable
The result is generally tiredness and sluggishness the next day, which will likely cause you to increase your caffeine intake.
Follow A Pre-Bedtime Routine
Routine is your sleep’s best friend. Following a good bedtime routine in the evening will make it so much easier for you to wake up in the morning.
You might consider taking a warm shower before bed as it does wonders to help your body and mind relax. Meditation and writing down your lingering thoughts will help you calm your racing mind and prepare it for sleep. If you’re suffering from the Restless legs syndrome, you will certainly benefit from this routine.
You should follow the same routine every evening before going to sleep as it will liberate your mind from making decisions right before bedtime.
Make A Plan For The Next Day
Make an easy to follow plan for the next day or even the next week if you can. You won’t have to make decisions every single day for what you have to or want to do. You will feel liberated.
Of course shit can hit the fan at any time. But you know what – most of the time though it doesn’t and you will be able to stick to your plan(s).
If your schedule is really hectic, put up a wall planner or at least a whiteboard. You don’t have to have everything in your head. Write things down and you’ll feel lighter already.
I write stuff in Google Keep all the time when things pop up in my mind or a light bulb goes off. Without it, 90% of ideas I have would get lost on me. There’s nothing worse than trying to recollect a thought you had several hours ago and you know it was an important one.
Follow A Post-Bedtime Routine
Make a routine that is easy to follow when you get out of bed. It should be the same for every day so you don’t have to even think about it. By starting your day in the same fashion, you will develop a habit in no-time.
It can look something like this:
- 5 am get up
- 5-5:10 bathroom
- 5:10-5:25 meditation, stretching or reading your daily Blink
- 5:25-5:50 HIIT workout
- 5:50-6:20 shower + protein drink
- 6:20-8:20 time for your hobby, side hustle, writing or anything else you find important
- 8:20 get ready for work
This is obviously just a suggestion and will have to be personalized. You can mix it up, make the times longer or shorter, etc. Your main slot doesn’t have to be the same every day. Monday can be reserved for hobby time, Tuesday for writing, Wednesday for developing a new business idea, etc.
Just make sure you stick to it.
Hack The Sleep Cycles
The folks over at Psychology Today explain that “A sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, and during that time we move through five stages of sleep. The first four stages make up our non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and the fifth stage is when rapid eye movement (REM) sleep occurs.
There are a few things in life worse than getting waken up from our deep sleep (REM) by the alarm clock. Your whole day seems to go downhill from there because you are groggy and irritated for the rest of the day.
What I do is, I use a sleep cycle calculator like this one from Nectar or this other one. You can choose either the time you need to wake up or the time you want to go to bed. As I’ve already recommended that you wake up at the same time every day, you should choose the time you need to get up.
In this example, I’ve chosen 5 am as a wake-up time and the resulting time to sleep was calculated. You get 4 results.
As you can see it’s pretty straightforward. It simply calculates the number of sleep cycles and gives you the optimal time to set up your alarm clock.
See if the time to go sleep based on the calculator works out for you. If it doesn’t, a manual method of trial and error should work as well. Experiment with your time to go to bed and see which one is optimal for you.
Do Not Hit The Snooze Button
The fan-favorite snooze button. We’ve all pressed it a gazillion times. 10 more minutes, 10 more minutes, 10 more minutes and soon you lose a whole hour and you don’t feel any more rested.
If you really think about it, hitting the snooze button in the morning doesn’t even make sense. It’s like saying, ‘I hate getting up in the morning-so I do it over… and over… and over again.’Demetri Martin
According to Dr. Reena Mehra, Director of Sleep Disorders Research at Cleveland Clinic, all of that snoozing isn’t helping our bodies get the restorative sleep that we need. She continues, “much of the latter part of our sleep cycle is comprised of REM sleep, or dream sleep, which is a restorative sleep state. And so, if you’re hitting the snooze button, then you’re disrupting that REM sleep or dream sleep.”
Dr. Mehra said we have different arousal thresholds during different stages of sleep, and if we’re disrupting late-stage REM sleep, it can cause a ‘fight or flight’ response – which increases our blood pressure and heartbeat.
Plus, she said, the short period of sleep that we get in between hitting the snooze button – five, ten minutes at a time – is not restorative sleep.
Having someone holding you accountable, like a coach or a mentor or even a friend, will increase your chances of achieving a goal or sticking to a habit much more.
If there’s a person in your life that will ask you every week what your progress was the past week and even point out from a different perspective how you can improve it, you are already way ahead of 95% of people out there.
If having someone who is a family member or a friend holding you accountable feels a little bit too close to home, you can always hire a habit coach. Sometimes you just need that extra push from a third person to keep you going.
Wake Up At The Same Time
If you want to develop a habit of waking up early, waking up at the same time (even on the weekends!) will go a long way.
Why not sleep in on weekends? Because you will be breaking an established habit and waking up early on Monday will make Monday feel like, well – Monday.
By continuously waking up early, your body and mind will get used to it and the dreaded Monday will feel like any other day. Especially if you reserve the main slot on Monday morning for a more enjoyable activity like a hobby.
Also, by waking up early on weekends, your weekends will last longer, giving you more time for your family, friends and enjoyable activities.
If you’re doing shift work, getting up every day at the same time does not work for obvious reasons. You can still get extra hours from your day though, it might just be a little more difficult. You can make a blank plan of getting up 2 or 3 hours earlier than you normally would that day. Or maybe you can work out an agreement with your boss to let you work the same shift consecutively all the time or at least a whole week or a whole month. That will give you a chance to wake up every day at the same time.
Get Up Quickly
Once you hear that alarm bell, or later on, you wake up by yourself before the alarm clock, get out of bed straight away. Don’t give the snooze button a glimpse of a chance.
Go through your mantra if you have to and get up and get going. Your morning schedule is waiting. Your life is improving every day because of your morning activities.
There are plenty of online courses that can help you improve your life, and you can take them anytime, including early in the morning. Some of the ones I have used are Masterclass, Udemy, and Skillshare.
Make It Count
Just because someone more successful than you is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s a silver bullet for success. Waking up early and not doing or making something constructive is not worth it. In that case, just stay in bed and sleep. Otherwise, get up and make every morning count!
Should You Wake Up Early?
Yes! Not only will you have more hours in a day than you would if you slept in till the last moment, but it can open a whole new world of productivity, creativity, and joy in life.
If you only wake up an hour earlier than usual that is 365 hours a year or more than 15 whole days! If you wake up TWO hours earlier that is a whole month you can use to learn a new skill or improve your existing one.
If that is not a great deal then I don’t know what is.
I find myself going to that analogy of me lying on my deathbed and reminiscing how I spent my time. Would sleeping be on my list of good things I’ve done? Probably not.
“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.”
Richard WhatelyHow to wake up early and not feel miserable
Find more quotes on waking up early here!