How to Become an Early Riser

Maybe you’ve been thinking about getting up earlier to take advantage of the day.  If not, why wouldn’t you?  Successful/ happier people realize the benefits of waking up early, having time to themselves. 

If you’re already on board with becoming an early riser here’s how it is done.  This strategy will make it easy to create the most beneficial habit in your life.

Get a nice alarm clock and place it across the room 

Alarm clocks are the worst.  They are loud, jarring and just uncomfortable to listen to each morning.  There are hundreds of free apps for your tablet or smart phone that have nice soothing greetings to the day.  It is difficult to wake up positively with a loud, blaring alarm.  Some apps even let you wake up to your own music.  If you do get that one make sure the music is mellower.

The most important thing is to put the alarm clock across the room, perhaps on your bureau. Place it out of arms reach of your bed. Go out of the bedroom as soon as you shut off the alarm. Don’t allow yourself to rationalize going back to bed. Just force yourself to go out of the room. Get into the habit of stumbling into the bathroom and doing your business. By the time you’ve started moving you'll be awake enough to face the day.

Get to bed earlier and plan your sleep

In order to become an early riser you need to make sure you are getting enough sleep.  You can’t go to bed late and wake up early.  That is a recipe for failure. The most successful early risers wake up the exact same time every day, including weekends. Plan what time you'll need to get to bed in order to wake up at your new time. Even though everyone is different seven hours of sleep is considered average.  Do the math.  If you want to wake up at six and you need seven hours of sleep you will need to be in bed by 11 pm the night before.

 Have a plan for your extra time

Let’s say you’ve actually made it out of bed 2 hours before you normally would. Now what? What are you going to do with all this time you’ve discovered in your day? If you don’t have something planned to do with your extra time, you risk falling for the temptation of a “morning nap” that wipes out all the work you put into getting up.

What to do? Before you go to bed, make a quick note of what you’d like to get done during your extra hours the following day. Make it something enjoyable for the first couple of weeks.  What night owl wants to get up early to clean the bathroom? Once you have mastered the process for getting up early then you can do whatever you want to do.  The best plan is to start a new project that is just for you.  Do you want to meditate, workout or learn a new language.  You now have the hours.   Make a plan for your early hours and you’ll do more than protect yourself from backsliding into bed. You’ll get things done and those results will fuel your desire to build rising early into a habit!

There are some additional actions to take that makes getting up in the morning much easier.  One of the most important is getting a good night sleep. 

  • Exercise at some point during the day. Even a walk will be beneficial.
  • Reserve your bed for sleep and making love—not work or TV.
  • Keep the bedroom comfortable. Cool is often better than too hot.
  • Start a sleep ritual. – Get to bed at the same time every night.
  • Have a bedtime snack—but not too much.
  • Avoid alcohol and chocolate before bed.
  • Wind down before going to bed - Try reading in another room, or write in a journal about the day.
  • Lower your stress – Investigate stress management techniques if pervasive worry or thoughts are keeping you awake.

Waking up early is definitely not for everyone.  There are some people who simply have a different biological clock.  If that is you then don’t worry about it.  But don’t throw in the towel before you have tried.  Benjamin Franklin, Teddy Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, Bill Gates and Thomas Jefferson can’t all be wrong.