Would you like to add a few extra hours to your day, just for you?
If so, it pays to become an early riser.
But perhaps you’ve tried before and failed.
You’ve fantasized about all those tasks you’d strike off your to-do list. You’ll start a new workout routine. You’ll finally write that novel. Maybe you’ll just eat a healthy, unrushed breakfast and appreciate the sunrise.
But the alarm goes off at 5 am.
And you hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.
If this describes you, it may not be your fault. After all, changing sleep habits is tricky, and willpower is seldom enough to make a lasting change.
Of course, you could force yourself to get up early on occasion, but how can you achieve that elusive dream of being a truly consistent early riser?
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Turn off the Tech
The light emitted by your smartphone, television, iPad, and other electronic devices keep your brain stimulated and inhibits the natural production of melatonin.
Some of these devices come with ‘blue light filters’ which can help, but it’s still wise to cut out tech use a few hours before bed. By doing so, your brain can enter a relaxed state that promotes healthy sleep.
2. Control Your Room Temperature
If your room is too hot or too cold, you’ll feel restless or uncomfortable, and it’ll interfere with your sleep quality. In general, it’s best to have a room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees for a comfortable night’s sleep.
3. Take a Warm Shower
Having a warm shower before bed is an excellent way to induce relaxation.
The metabolic response that kicks in after leaving a warm shower triggers a drowsy feeling and makes it easier to relax.
4. Use 4-7-8 Breathing
One of the most troublesome parts of changing your sleep routine is falling asleep earlier than you’re used to. However, using the 4-7-8 breathing technique could help to relax your mind and body.
Interestingly, some people claim they’re able to fall asleep within just a few minutes after applying this method.
Here’s how it works:
- Lie down comfortably in bed.
- Exhale completely through your mouth.
- Inhale through your nose for four seconds.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.
- Repeat this cycle four times.
5. Change Your Lighting
Use warm lighting to ensure your melatonin levels aren’t being inhibited.
Excessive exposure to blue light before you sleep can disrupt your natural melatonin levels. Consider investing in bulbs that are under 450 Lumens and 3000 Kelvins, as these allow for better sleep quality.
6. Shift Your Alarm Settings Gradually
Making a drastic change to your sleep pattern and maintaining it isn’t easy.
In most cases, it’s better to adjust your alarm by 15-minute increments each day until you’re waking up at your new preferred time.
7. Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol
Avoid alcohol intake during the two hours before bedtime.
Even if alcohol makes you tired, it also interferes with your sleep quality, causing restlessness and difficulty entering natural REM cycles.
Caffeine also has a damaging effect on your sleep cycle by keeping you awake and unnaturally stimulated.
8. Keep Your Bedroom Dark
A dark room supports higher levels of melatonin, allows for better sleep quality, and leaves you alert and refreshed by morning.
Use curtains to keep street light to a minimum, and remove tech gadgets from your bedroom (so those pesky standby lights don’t disturb you).
9. Take an Afternoon Nap
When you make a change to your sleep routine, you may feel a little tired the next day. But resist the urge to oversleep the next morning.
Instead, take an afternoon nap for 15-20 minutes to offset this tiredness without slipping off-track.
10. Create A Plan
Write down three things you want to achieve the next day. Keep these notes next to your alarm clock as reminders when you’re tempted to hit snooze.
Having a daily plan increases your motivation for getting out of bed.
Early rising isn’t essential for living a productive life. But many people who adopt this lifestyle find they’re more productive, motivated, and happier.
And if you want to achieve your goals and lead a fulfilling life, mastering time management is vital.
Fortunately, one of the best time management hacks available is simply becoming an early riser, so making this change could have a real impact on your future.
Once you get past the initial struggles, you could be thrilled with the results.