To some, the idea of getting up earlier seems like a complete anathema. The thought of dragging yourself out of your deep slumber, possibly before the sun is even up, sends shivers down their spine. We are often told that you are either an early bird or a night owl. Well, that is not strictly true. You can change it. What’s even more interesting is those people that wake up early are more successful. Many recent studies have shown that early risers enjoy more success, are more productive and are more positive.
All these outcomes are certainly attractive. So what do you say? Do you want to take the leap and become a morning person? Well here are 6 things you can do to make the transition work for you and make sure you make the most of those hours when everyone else is asleep.
Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment
The first thing to note is because you are about to get less sleep, you need to make sure the sleep you get is the best it can be. The first step is to make sure your room is as sleep-friendly as possible. As much as you possibly can you should try and keep your bedroom for just sleeping. The more you can associate the room just with sleep, the more you will get rested. A few other things you can do is make sure you have comfortable bedding and pillows, your room is at a comfortable temperature and you limit any noise as much as you possibly can. One other thing is try your best to minimise the use of electronics in the room. The light they emit tricks your body to think it needs to wake up and hinders your sleeping.
Develop a Routine
Once you have a great sleeping environment, the next step is getting your body used to shutting down ready for sleep. The first thing is to set yourself a regular wake up time and stick with it. So, if that is going to be 5 am or 6 am, set your alarm and persist with it. If you have a consistent wake-up time your body will let you know when it is time to sleep. Also, try and switch off screens an hour or so before bed, as this will help your body start to slow down. Finally, have some kind of ritual before bed. Perhaps that is reading, washing and writing in a diary. Whatever it is, over time it will act as a trigger to your body that it is getting towards bedtime and it will start preparing for it, i.e. releasing the chemicals to make you sleepy.
Change Your Attitude
As I mentioned in the introduction, there are so many accepted ideas about sleeping that are not necessarily true. One of the most common being “I am just not a morning person.” Well, these sorts of ideas and attitudes will only serve to keep you from having a good night’s sleep. So, dismiss any long-held ideas you have about how you sleep. You can train yourself to sleep however you want.
Cut Out Certain Substances
Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine can all mess with your sleep quality. If you want to function on less sleep then you need to ensure it as high-quality sleep as you can get.
– Alcohol can certainly help you fall asleep quicker but when you are actually in your slumber it plays havoc with your sleep cycle. You will wake up needing more sleep. Try limiting your drinking.
– Caffeine stays in the body for up to six hours, so any coffee in the afternoon could mess with your sleep that night. Best to stick to caffeinated drinks in the morning.
– Nicotine is a stimulant. Smoking cigarettes throughout the day can lead to trouble sleeping at night. Not to mention tobacco weakens your body and immune system, meaning you’ll need more sleep for strength. If you want to go on less sleep, take steps to quit smoking.
Find an Alarm That Suits You
Some people have no problem with alarm clocks, but others find the traditional buzzing not particularly helpful. Especially at 6 am. If this sounds like you, perhaps find a sound less abrupt and which helps you transition into waking up, as opposed to startling you into an anxiety attack. There is also the dreaded snooze button. This can be a challenge for most of us. There are a few solutions to this. Perhaps put your alarm on the other side of the room so you must get up to turn it off or use an alarm that requires you to solve a puzzle to be able to turn it off – that will soon wake you up! Test out various alarm options and see which works best for you.
Go Easy on Yourself
Finally, take your time to transition from your pattern of sleep now to your new regime. One great way of doing this is to gradually reduce your hours of sleep slowly. Possibly just 20 minutes a day. If you are dropping your hours from 9 to 6 all in one go you are going to struggle. So take it easy and do it in stages. For the first week, go to sleep 20 minutes later or get up 20 minutes earlier than usual. For the second week, add another 20 minutes. For the third week, move your bedtime or wake time back or forward by an hour. Continue cutting back by 20-minute intervals each week.
Also, remember to go easy on yourself when you don’t quite get up at the time you set yourself. It will happen one day. Just say it is ok and look to the next day to remedy it. Don’t get bogged down in self-hate and send yourself into a spiral of misery which will only serve to make your task more difficult. You are human, sometimes things don’t work out. It’s ok.
If you are someone who wants to make more of your day the evidence says you should become an early riser. In those hours when others are asleep, you can get your day started by working on your to-do list. With just a few amendments in your sleeping regime, you can see major benefits in your life by becoming higher performing, more successful and more content person.
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