“It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom”. – Aristotle
I’ve found that waking early has been one of the best things I’ve done since I attended university, and I thought I’d share my tips. I just posted about my morning routines so I thought it’d be a good idea to discuss how I went from waking up at 10:00 am to 6:00 am.
All throughout high school, I was a late riser. I loved to sleep in. Then things changed because when I started attending university I had to do more than just study or pretend I was studying. There were many things I wanted to learn and do every day, but it seemed I didn’t have enough time. So, I set out to make waking up early a habit. 6 am is where I’m currently at as of writing this post, but I’m trying to get down to at least 5:15 am.
Now, before I talk about some of the benefits of waking up early, I want to say if you are a night owl and that works for you, that is perfectly fine. If you’re happy with it there’s no reason to change. But for me, going from being a night owl to an early riser has been wonderful. It has helped me in so many ways and here are just a few…
Benefits of waking up early
Better mental health
I don’t care what anyone says, mental health is very important. One of the least spoken about (yet most important) benefits of waking up early is the impact it has on mental health. The first hours of the day can set the tone for the rest of it. By waking up earlier, I was able reduce the stress in my life in two ways: by getting more done with my extra time and ergo freeing my mind from any mental clutter. The other was easing my mind with some prayer and meditation. BOlieve me when I say this added an incredible amount of positivity to my life as I started to notice a change in my attitude.
Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of the day. I like to write in the morning, when there are no distractions and I don’t have class. I even get so much more done by starting on my work and concentrating on my studies in the morning. Then when 11 am rolls around, I have no more work that I need to do, and I can spend the rest of the day however I wish.
Goals are set for today
Do you have goals? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them than first thing in the morning. And every morning, I decide what are some things I can do today to move myself further toward accomplishing my goals.
The gym here on campus doesn’t open until 9, but that’s fine with me since I’m there by the time it opens. I find that I’m usually not motivated to exercise any time later. Morning workouts leave me feeling invigorated and ready to take on the rest of the day. It’s a truly satisfying feeling to know I’ve already gotten it out of the way.
Here are my tips to becoming an early riser:
“The difference between rising at five and seven o’clock in the morning, for forty years, supposing a man to go to bed at the same hour at night, is nearly equivalent to the addition of ten years to a man’s life”. – Philip Doddridge
Go to bed earlier
Depending on your age, the amount of sleep hours you are going to need is going to differ. However, losing just one hour of sleep can affect your cognitive abilities and physical health so even though I wake up early I make sure to still get an adequate amount of sleep. Obviously, the only way you can get enough sleep and still wake up early is by going to bed at an earlier time. I’m in my bed even when I don’t feel tired and if I am, then I’ll most likely fall asleep much sooner than I think.
Don’t make drastic changes
Going from 10 am to 6 am didn’t happen overnight. Since I was used to sleeping until 10 am, it wouldn’t make sense to have the alarm set to 6 am the next day. That’s way too drastic of a change, and my body is going to dislike me for doing that. Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Once you get used to this for a week, cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.
Put your alarm clock far away from your bed
Not Far Far Away like Shrek, but if it’s right next to your bed there’s a good chance you’ll most likely hit the snooze button or turn it off. If it’s far from your bed, you have to get up out of bed to shut it off. By then, you’re up so stay up.
Pick an alarm ringtone you like
The cool thing about iPhones and Androids is they can be utilized as alarm clocks too. Before I had my new phone, I remember spending time trying to wake up before my alarm clock went off so I wouldn’t have to hear it. Then I started using a cellphone as my alarm clock and quickly realized I could use basically anything as my alarm. As you can see, I use The Rock Clock as my alarm and I love it. I suggest using some sound that is associated with your happy thoughts and feelings and won’t torture you with a cacophony of deafening alarm bells.
Have a good reason
If you don’t have something to do in the mornings with the extra time you have from waking up early, you’ll probably find yourself crawling back to bed out of boredom. Have something to do early in the morning that’s important to you. This reason will motivate you to get up. I like to write in the morning, so that’s my reason. You’re gonna need an impetus for waking up early so make sure to have one.
Take advantage of the extra time
Don’t wake up hours earlier just to surf the internet, unless of course, that’s something you want to do. Don’t wake up early and waste the extra time. Use it to get a head start on your day! After I finish all my morning routines I like to spend my time reading, writing, learning and finishing class assignments (okay, I don’t actually like doing class assignments, but it is a good feeling to have them finished way before they’re due so they’re not hovering over my head). It’s not even 5 pm by the time I’ve completed everything I need to for the day and I’ve already done more than many people do the entire day.
I consider myself a simple man, and I don’t know about you, but when I’m looking forward to some delicious food I find it easier to get up and out of bed.
Enjoy the sunrise
Look outside sometimes (or go outside if you want) and watch the sky get some light. It’s gorgeous and gives me halcyon vibes. It’s one of my favorite times of the day. Getting up early is a reward in itself for me.
If you want extra time to be productive, try making the switch to waking up earlier. If this blog post has sparked your interest in getting a head start on your day, then here’s a link to Sleep Calculator to help you get started on your goal.