The early bird catches the worm is a long held phrase that appears to be true for anyone successful. But for many, this is an ideal that sounds very painful. Already exhausted from matters like a crying baby or working late into the night, how can we really wake up early so that we can fit in the things that we currently only dream about (normally in the time when these others are waking…)?
On my Facebook feed I regularly read about how successful people share one thing in common – and that is how they all seemingly wake at the crack of dawn (around 5am or even before) to be able to able to do all the things people like me think, “If only I had the time to do…”. According to a Time Profile, Tim Cook, Apple CEO wakes at 3.45am to get a headstart on all the little things like emails, head to the gym and Starbucks (for more emails). He is not alone, Fast Company say that Anna Wintour wakes up at 5am, so by 5.45am she is at New York’s Midtown Tennis Club for an hour of tennis before she starts work, whereas Jack Dorsey, CEO Of Twitter, told NY Magazine that he wakes up at 5.30am for a six mile jog and to give him the time to meditate.
The research backs it up. Following a study of over 700 people, Psychology Today state that the American Psychological Association has found that early risers achieve more, are more pro active, can handle problems with greater efficiency and less stress, and plan better than those that sleep in late. We also hear about how CEO’s and people of note like to wake up at silly o’clock to ensure they get everything done. But how do you turn yourself from a night owl into a morning cockerel?
Pre Plan your Wake Up the Night Before
Select your clothes, make sure your bag is packed and lunch is made the night before you go to sleep. This will surprisingly save a considerable amount of time the following morning, giving you a more leisurely wake up/get up.
Plan your Sleeping
If you normally don’t get to bed before midnight, start to retrain your body clock by physically going to be earlier each day by 15 minutes.
Think of the Benefits
Write a list of how that extra hour or so will benefit you. You will have time for exercise or to spend with your family, reading the papers. Alternatively it may be quite time to plan in the office, or even just an easier commute. Read this to motivate you each night.
Turn Off all Lights
Any lights; from your phone, windows, TV, clock etc. suppress the hormone melatonin causing you to reset your internal body clock. By slowly turning the lights out each evening, you are resetting your clock and ensuring a deeper sleep.
Get a Routine
This needs to be planned. New mothers are told how vital a sleep routine is for their babies, and the same can be said for adults. If a bath and reading in bed for half an hour help you sleep, then get into this habit.
Set your Alarm
This is a no brainer, but make sure it is away from the bed, so you physically have to get out of bed to turn it off – Especially if you plan to go cold turkey. You may want to set a couple of them throughout the room, so you have to find them. Have them go off at 10 minutes intervals. If you are going cold turkey, this could be your equivalent to a snooze button. If you are waking a few hours earlier than normal, you are likely to still be in a deep sleep when you hit the off button and therefore may not hit snooze, causing you to over sleep.
Alternatively pick the time when you want to wake up and gradually work toward this. So you want to wake up at 5am, but struggle to get out of bed before 8.30am? Start by setting your alarm earlier each day. If you are a snoozer, factor this in. For example, you know you can grudgingly get out of bed at 8.30am, so set your alarm for 8am. By the second snooze you are likely to be awake. The following day set it 15 minutes earlier until you hit your desired time. Remember though, for this to work you have practice this method of waking up every day, even at weekends.
Find Something Exciting
Try and think of something exciting that you need to get out of bed for. This may sound a little silly, but if you think about it, we always manage to get out of bed early to catch that flight on holiday don’t we? This is because it has that excitement factor. This may not last for long, but it will help your whole persona psychologically, slowly turning you into a cup half full person and therefore more mentally equipped to take on the challenges of the day. And who doesn’t want to be prepared to deal with every curveball life throws at you…?
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