I’ve been a night owl my entire life, even when I had to get up early to head off to work. Funny thing is, I really enjoy getting up early in the morning. I just never could figure out how to do it without dragging myself out of the bed or wishing I had a syringe full of espresso.
However, for the first time in my life I have established a routine in which I wake up at 6:30 every morning. Crazy huh? I never would have thought I would be the type of person to willingly wake up early each day.
Why Did I Become An Early Riser?
So you are probably wondering, why the change? The main reason was because I decided I wanted to get a steady sleep schedule going. It sure beats going to sleep at different times everyday and never knowing when you are going to wake up.
Here are some other reasons why I decided to start waking up early:
To Watch The Sunrise
As I mentioned yesterday in my post about the perfect morning, I have gone for a morning run each day and love watching the sun come up. The picture above is yet another amazing example of a sunrise. Besides the sun coming up, there is also something about the morning air that I really enjoy. It sure beats running at 1 in afternoon.
To Sleep Less
Believe it or not, another main reason I decided to start waking up early is because I wanted to spend less time sleeping. Prior to making the switch, I would go to bed around 4 in the morning and easily sleep until one or two in the afternoon. That’s over nine hours of sleep. Plus I constantly felt tired when I woke up, which was most likely due to the over sleeping.
Now that I get up early every morning, I get somewhere between six and seven hours of sleep each night. I even feel more awake now when I wake up than I ever did before.
To Beat Insomnia
I have never been the type of person to fall asleep as soon as I go to bed. I remember nights where I sit in bed staring at the ceiling for hours before I drift off. Usually I would just sit there and think about things I need to do, or better yet what I could be doing instead of lying there in bed.
Now that I get up early I have finally hit a point where I can go to bed, read for a little bit, and pass out really quickly. Talk about a time saver! Now I no longer waste those couple hours lying in bed waiting to fall asleep.
To Exercise Daily
Last but not least, I made the switch to waking up early to make sure that I go outside and exercise everyday. Now that running is the first thing in my schedule, it is very difficult for me to bail on it. Prior to waking up early, I would always make up excuses such as it’s already 2PM, I need to work, or I feel tired today. Those excuses no longer work.
How Did I Do it?
So the real question is how did I manage to alter my sleep schedule so much? Believe it or not, it was actually a lot easier than you think. However, the hard part is fighting through the transition phase without giving up.
Here is a step by step guide on what I did, along with some tips to make it easier for you:
1. Decide When To Get Up
The first step in the transition is deciding when you actually want to wake up. For me, I decided that 6:30 is the perfect time for me because the sun starts to rise and running is perfect at that time. Regardless of what time you choose, make it a plan to stick to it no matter what.
2. Create A Reason To Get Out Of Bed
Once you have the time set in stone, it helps to give yourself a reason to wake up. Going for a morning run is my reason, as well as having more time in the morning to read. It does not need to be a major project or task, the key is to just give yourself a little motivation to want to crawl out of bed.
A few other reasons you could use would be to have time to think to yourself, catch up on your to do list, or to sit down and drink a cup of coffee.
3. Get Up!
This is the difficult part, especially in the beginning. The important thing is to set your alarm for the exact time you want to get up. When it goes off, get up instantly. Literally jump out of bed and do push ups if you have to! There is no time for the snooze button or lying around pretending to wake up. Instead, it is all about getting up as quickly as possible.
Getting up right away will make the transition a hell of a lot easier for you, trust me. This was the only way I was able to stick to it and actually alter my night owl sleep schedule. By doing this for a week straight, I was able to get my body used to waking up. Once you make it past the transition phase, it becomes much easier.
4. Sleep When You’re Tired
When it comes to being a night owl, one of the things that can be tricky is going to bed at a certain time. My whole life I have never been able to set a specific time to go to bed. It is far easier to wake up at a certain time than it is to go to bed.
So what I have done lately is go to sleep whenever I feel tired. Some nights it might be 10, other nights it might be 12 or 1 in the morning. The thing is, as long as I wake up at my scheduled time, my body tends to adapt. If I stay up late one night, I tend to fall asleep earlier the next. So far, this schedule has worked a lot better than my chaotic one I had before switching.
5. Make It A Routine
Last but not least, it is important (and very helpful) to create a morning routine. For me, every morning I hop out of bed and have a cup of coffee. I then throw on my workout clothes and head out the door for my jog. By doing this on a repeated basis, it makes getting up so much easier since my body (and mind) know what to expect.
If you can set up a routine, you will be much more inclined to stick to it.
So there you have it, a few tips on how to start waking up early. Remember, it does take some time to get used to so I would try out a new schedule for a few weeks before making a final decision. The worse case scenario is you decide waking up early is not for you. It’s fairly easy to go back to your normal sleeping habits as I have done it many times in the past.
Which do you prefer: waking up early or sleeping in?
Photo Credit: *clairity*