How to Become an Early Riser

Broga || .M.O.R.N.I.N.G.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Biys || .S.Y.I.B.L.I.

I used to be the person least likely to become an early riser. I liked to stay up late.  I loved that cozy morning sleep.  And boy did I love extra snoozing.  Does that sound familiar to you? Well if you are reading this you may have had a change in your life (like I did – having a child) that has prompted you to become more of a morning person.

Being a morning person is not necessary for everyone, but if it’s right for your life now, there are many benefits to being an early riser. The transition doesn’t have to be painful either, believe it or not. And let me tell you, if I could do it then YOU CAN TOO! Here’s how:

Benefits of Being an Early Riser

Having a clear vision of the benefits you will experience is always the best way to embark on any change. If there weren’t benefits why would you make the change? Even if you are being forced to become an early riser, the benefit of not being tired is likely a powerful one. So in light of that let’s start with the benefits of becoming an early riser.

Imagine how your life would be improved with these benefits from early rising:

  • be able to get up without feeling tired.
  • be awake, alert and happy for your small children who wake early and need you to
  • start an exercising routine that you didn’t have time for before.
  • have a schedule that allows for more quality time with your spouse who also rises early.
  • enjoy the peaceful feeling of early morning quiet when the world is just coming alive.
  • get more done during the day, particularly in the morning.
  • be the early bird for events so you can avoid crowds and long lines.
  • feel more in control of how you are living your life.
  • increased productivity: start work earlier when there are less distractions and be able to leave work earlier for quality leisure time.
  • enjoy less stress because of all these benefits.
There are probably additional benefits that you will experience, some of which will likely be pleasant surprises. Ok! So let’s get a changing then, shall we?

How to Become an Early Riser

There are many ways to make this transition. This is how I did it and it was surprisingly easy.
  1. Choose your desired “get-up time”. Let’s say 6:30 is the time you want to be getting out of bed.
  2. Choose your desired “wake slowly” time. You might be able to skip this part, but for me this is what makes getting up early easy and enjoyable. This is the time during which you lie in bed with your eyes open allowing yourself a little time to fully wake before getting up. For me this is about 10-15 minutes. It replaced hitting the snooze button which I finally learned only makes you more groggy. Choose an amount of time that works for you.
  3. Calculate your Alarm Set Time. So in this example, my alarm set time would be 6:30am minus 15 minutes,  or 6:15 am.
  4. Calculate your SleepTime. This is the time when the lights are out, your head is on the pillow, and you’re ready to go to sleep. To find this time subtract 7-8 hours before your Alarm Time. I used to think I needed between 8-9 hours of sleep, but I have found that I actually wake naturally now after 7 hours. And I feel good all day when I get that amount of sleep. When I was getting 9 hours, I often felt groggy. That’s because of entering a new sleep cycle and not finishing it. It’s best to awaken right at the end of your natural sleep cycle. We all have about 2 sleep cycles during the night that are each between 3-4 hours long. In this example, if we shoot for sleeping 7 hours then sleep time would be 11:15pm.
  5. Calculate your Bed Time. The is the time you start getting ready for bed.  Figure out how long your bedtime routine usually is. And add in any other activities you do before sleep such as reading.  Ideally you should refrain from “screen time” during this time (TV, Computer) as the light and stimulation from these media will interrupt your brain’s natural transition to sleep and you may find yourself having trouble sleeping. Let’s say that all that takes about 1 hour. Then your bed time would 10:15pm. Most of us discount this transition time and therefore lose out on as much as an extra hour of sleep.
Only the first few days may be difficult as your body adjusts to a new waking time. Follow these times as closely as you can each day. Getting up at the same time each day is the best way to ensure good sleep.

Listen to Your Body

At night don’t fight the urge to go to sleep. Even if you are watching your favorite show or really enjoying a good book. If your body is ready for sleep, then ride that wave! If you “power through” your body’s natural “falling asleep cycle” then you will find yourself wide awake again. It’s much easier to fall asleep when your body is ready for it than tossing and turning later on.
In the morning, don’t worry what time the clock reads when your body wakes on its own. This used to be my problem. I would see 5am or 6am on the clock and say to myself “Oh it’s too early to get up!” And then I would almost force myself to go back to sleep.
Instead, what I do these days is when I wake and I feel pretty alert, I calmly begin waking. I keep my eyes open and enjoy just lying in bed. I allow myself to “wake up slowly.” I reassure myself that since my body is ready to be awake that means I’ve gotten enough sleep. Then after a brief time, usually 10-15 minutes, I get up and start my day. And it’s easy and it’s wonderful.
I hope it is the same for you!

Please Share!

What has prompted you to become an early riser? How’s it going for you? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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