The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, light from a rainbow is streaming in your window as you spring joyfully out of bed to begin your day. No? Ok, some people just seem to always wake up early on the right side of the bed. Their exuberant chatter is just annoying, isn’t it?
The rest of us tend to fall, not leap, out of bed and cannot even think about having a conversation before a huge cup of coffee. And that cup of coffee is for everyone’s safety.
There are many benefits to being an early riser. Getting up earlier gives you extra time to start your day off right and leaves you more hours to meet your goals. It’s no wonder being an early riser is a trait of many CEOs and other power players. According to Forbes, “early rising is a common trait found in many CEOs, government officials, and other influential people. Margaret Thatcher was up every day at 5am; Frank Lloyd Wright was up at 4am and Robert Iger, the CEO of Disney wakes at 4:30am, just to name a few.” Forbes goes on to say that there can even be added health benefits to rising earlier.
So, what are those of us in the must-have-coffee-asap-to-function-even-remotely-like-a-human group to do? Turns out there are some tweaks we can make to our routines to become more like those cheerful morning people. No promises of rainbows streaming in your window, but more productivity, joy, and accomplishment, perhaps.
Develop a consistent bedtime routine
The path to rising earlier in the morning starts the night before. If you’re going to bed at a different time each night with no routine, your body doesn’t know what to do and you’re likely not sleeping well.
Work towards consistency with your bedtime. Choose a bedtime early enough to help you get the rest you need and stick to it. Get off the electronics with their artificial light that can keep you awake. Try reading, stretching, listening to soft music, or another relaxing activity.
Break the snooze button habit
If you keep your alarm clock or phone alarm right next to your bed, it’s just far too convenient to hit snooze and roll back over to dreamland. Try moving your alarm to a location where you have to get up to turn it off. It also helps if you make your alarm sound a favorite song that makes you feel motivated.
Once you’re already up, stay up and…
Step into the light
While training yourself to wake up earlier, it’s super important to get some light as soon as you wake up. This could mean opening the curtains or using a lightbox when you first wake up. Light therapy early in the day can help you sleep better at night too, making it easier to rise the next day. According to one study, “The way to restful sleep, increased energy and a better mood may be as easy as exposing yourself to the right amount of light at the right time of day.”
Ease yourself into it
Suddenly getting up an hour earlier than you’re used to can make you feel grumpy and exhausted. You want to give yourself some time to ease into rising earlier. Take it 15 minutes at a time. If you normally rise at 8:00, set your alarm for 7:45 for a few days then 7:30 and so on until you reach the time you desire to rise.
Create morning delight
We talked about a consistent bedtime routine, but you also need a solid morning routine. And, a delightful one at that. Find some simple things you can add to your morning that will make you look forward to starting your day.
It could be a specially blended drink in your favorite mug, watching a short inspirational video, a quick and invigorating workout, time with a loved one, or listening to an audio book. An enjoyable morning doesn’t have to be complicated.
Creating your to-do list the night before, along with setting out the clothes you want to wear the next day, may also help your mornings run smoother and easier.
Why do you want to wake up earlier? Getting clear on your purpose will help you meet the goal. Be specific. Do you want to get up earlier so you can exercise and take better care of your health? What are the benefits of that? Do you want to create more time for personal development? What will that do for your life? Write down your personal motivation for becoming a morning person and review it as needed.
Ready to join the early risers club? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @quillcom