Winter – it’s cold and dark, so where the hell does waking up at the crack of dawn fit in?
Some of us have early classes… early meaning before 10 AM! I had to wake up early 3 days a week last fall and I’m not going to pretend it was easy.
The first few days I had to physically throw myself out of bed. I cursed myself for having responsibilities and stumbled around my apartment like a wounded animal. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
Despite this rocky start, it wasn’t long before I began to recognize the many benefits of rising at a decent hour:
Many people argue that waking up early is neither good nor bad; it’s all about getting enough quality sleep. While that is definitely true, getting up early is also very good for you. I don’t know if any official studies have been done on it, but I do know from experience that waking up early just plain makes you feel good, especially once you’ve started moving around and getting your blood pumping.
But how exactly does that make it good for us?
Well, I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “mind over matter”. In this case because we start off our day proud and happy that we got up early, the rest of the day will have a tendency to fall into place.
We will more than likely eat breakfast since we have the time now, and in turn that will make us feel more energetic. Because we feel more energetic perhaps we’ll take a quick run around the block and get some exercise. Since we got some exercise maybe we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves and have more confidence so we decide to finally talk to the person we’ve had a bit of a crush on lately.
Do you see how just because of waking up early we can change the climate of our entire day? With more time to do things, we have more time to take care of ourselves properly.
Mind and body are so connected and yet we forget that a lot of times. We forget that if we feel good about ourselves we can often accomplish much more in every aspect of our lives than when we feel outright crappy because we crawled out of bed at the last minute only to be forced to rush through our morning routine, which then makes us start out the day irritable.
Sure, waking up early may not have any direct proven health benefits, or maybe it does but I’ve just not heard of them. Either way it’s good for you because it causes a positive domino effect on your entire mind, body, and day.
Tips to Help You Wake Up Early
1) Go to Bed Early
Taking on the goal to wake up early while you keep going to bed after midnight is the fastest way to failure. Not only do you become frustrated soon, but it may seriously damage your health.
Remember, your body needs time to rest!
Going to bed early can be a problem in the beginning, but after you actually start waking up early, then falling asleep in the evening will become easier. Many people who have trouble waking up have solved their wake up problems with this simple technique.
2) Use multiple alarm clocks
It’s not an easy thing to get up right after the wake-up alarm goes off. What many people do is they use multiple alarm clocks or multiple alarms. Many alarm clocks today have this ability to set multiple alarms at different times and use different tunes for them. Here are some tricks on how to use multiple alarms.
Start with setting 3 alarms, with 5-10 minutes between alarms. For first alarm put slow, calm tune. Most likely you won’t even hear it, but it will do its job – you will start waking up.
With second and third alarms volume and tempo should go up. Don’t set too many alarms. Being asleep you still usually can count to three and can recognize last alarm. This is your final chance to wake up. Having 5 or 7 alarms can play a trick with you-you won’t realize which alarm is last and can sleep through it.
Here is another way to wake up easier in the morning that may help you. I use 2 alarm clocks, and I put my second, and the loudest alarm clock in another room. The need to turn it off before it starts waking up the whole family automatically becomes my “next action” to do as soon as the first alarm goes off. I get off the bed quickly because I know in 5 minutes another alarm clock in another room will go off, and that’s not what my relatives will appreciate.
It is a good idea to use several alarm clocks when you have very important things in the morning that you cannot miss no matter what. For example, if you leave on vacation, you don’t want to miss your plane or train. Everything breaks at some point, and an alarm clock is not an exception. You don’t want that to happen to you on the day like that, so use two or three alarm clocks, just for backup.
It’s a good idea to take a travel alarm clock with you also.
Most cell phones, radios, tape recorders, watches and even TVs have built-in alarm clocks these days. Some of the advanced devices, like Sonic Alert SB200 Sonic Boom Loud Vibrating Alarm Clock, come with special features like an adjustable tone and volume control, high/low dimmer switch, backup batteries, dual timers and even bed shakers!
3) Do Not Eat Before Going to Bed
Eating too much before bedtime is not healthy. Have a light snack 2 hours before sleep time the latest. This advice has a simple explanation. Your metabolism stays awake digesting the food, so even if you fall asleep part of your body is not “sleeping” and overall you still have less effective sleep which is not restful. You will need more sleep which in turn will not let you wake up easily.
Same applies to drinking lots of water, cola or any other beverages – you will feel discomfort and will have to get up to urinate during the night. If you feel thirsty put a glass of water near the bed and take a little sip from it from time to time before you fall asleep or when you wake up during the night.
Please note that going to bed hungry or thirsty is not good either and can be just as disruptive to sleep as going to bed too full. Having a very light snack or glass of milk will help you ease the hunger.
4) Have Important Tasks Planned for the Morning
Having something important planned for the morning can be that pushing force that will make you get up. Things that you really enjoy doing work best, but sometimes the things that are really pressing on you work just as well. The key is to have strong reasons to get up early in the morning.
When I started my first blog, I felt so inspired I would jump out of bed at 5 am to see how my blog is doing, how many visitors I’ve got, what comments they posted, and then I would sit to answer comments and write my next post.
The main idea here is to have something important to do that is worth taking yourself out of the bed. Check what important tasks are in your today or tomorrow plans and schedule some of them for the next morning. Or maybe you have a hobby that lately you can’t find time for. Or you’ve got to finally do that coursework… The more important something is for you, the better the chances it will push you out of the bed.
We often have some important or extremely interesting things that we couldn’t do during the day, so we try to do or finish them in the evening. Good tactic that I want to recommend you is to postpone it until the next morning. For example, you need to answer that important email from your boss. It doesn’t really matter if you do it at 11 pm or 6 am the next day – your boss will see it only in the morning. But knowing you have to do it before he writes you another “reminding” email will make you stand up and go to the computer as soon as the alarm goes off.
Another example is what I usually do when I start reading some good book and then keep reading it until midnight because it’s so interesting I just can’t stop. What I do is I stop reading at some interesting point (yes, you need will-power to do it!) and put the book near my bed. And instead of spending another hour late in the evening I wake up to read the book one hour early in the morning. It’s not really “important thing” to do, but curiosity definitely works here just as well.
5) Wake up from the Inside
Alarms are “external irritants” that make you wake up. When the wake-up alarm goes off, your mind wakes up but your internal organs keep “sleeping” for some more time. How can you wake up “from the inside”?
Put a glass of water near the alarm clock (make sure to put an alarm clock far enough from your bed) and drink the water first thing as you wake up.
Very likely you’ll want to visit a bathroom next, but even if you don’t — one glass of water is usually enough to awaken your body.
What do many people do once they get up? They turn on their coffee maker and a few minutes later drink a cup of coffee. Drinking a glass of water has the same effect. However, a glass of water is a better trick for waking up from the inside. First, it’s immediate – you don’t have to wait as with coffee (you can fall asleep waiting!), and second, water is healthier.