Most of us spend at least a third of our lives sleeping and another third working, so it’s no surprise that getting more sleep is one of the top things people want to change in their lives. But many people also want to learn to get up earlier and not drag themselves out of bed half asleep.
How would it feel to wake up earlier and feel more productive and happier throughout the day? In other words, they want to become morning people, and not everyone naturally wakes up early full of vim and vigor. While waking up early has its challenges, there are ways to make it easier.
Gradually Change Your Wake-Up Time
Studies show you can train yourself to wake up earlier and still get enough sleep. How? By gradually shifting your wake-up time over a few weeks. It would be self-defeating to change your wake-up time too much too fast. You’ll feel the effects if you start waking up at 6:00 a.m. when your body is accustomed to awakening at 8:00 a.m. Your body responds better to change when you make it gradual.
How can you do this? Set your wake-up time 15 minutes earlier each week until you reach your desired wake-up time. Once you reach your chosen wake-up time, be consistent about getting up at that time, even on weekends. If you get up at 6:00 a.m. on weekdays and sleep until 10:00 a.m. on the weekends, you’ll throw your natural rhythms off and feel tired on Monday morning. Introduce change to your body slowly and give it time to adapt.
Give Yourself Something Pleasurable to Wake Up To
Waking up will be easier if you have something to look forward to when you get up. That could be a cup of hot coffee, a short yoga session, a bowl of warm oatmeal with berries, or watching the sunrise. Find something you enjoy doing in the morning and make it your motivation to wake up.
Take Advantage of Natural Light
Light is what sets your body’s internal biological clock and circadian rhythms, the natural cycles that affect your hormones, mood, and sleep-wake cycle. Expose your eyes to natural light as soon as you wake up to set your biological clock properly. Doing this will make it easier for you to fall asleep at night and rise in the morning. In the winter, consider investing in a broad-spectrum light, a box that mimics natural sunlight. Turn it on when you wake up and bask in it while you’re eating breakfast or drinking your coffee.
Avoid Blue Light at Night
You are preparing to get upstarts with what you are doing at bedtime. Exposing your eyes to blue light from devices can interfere with sleep and disrupt your sleep-wake cycle by reducing the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Turn off sources of blue light, like tablets and smartphones, two hours before bedtime. Do something relaxing that doesn’t involve technology. By doing this, you’ll sleep better and feel more rested when you wake up.
Use a Natural Alarm Clock
Waking up to the tune of an old-fashioned, blaring alarm clock is about as pleasant as a kick in the shin, and it gives your body a sudden, rude awakening. One way to have a more natural awakening is to use a dawn simulator. A dawn simulator is a special light designed to slowly wake you up and start your day before your regular alarm goes off.
Dawn simulators replicate a sunrise by gradually brightening your bedroom with simulated sunlight, which tricks your body into thinking it’s time to wake up and start the day. The result: You get out of bed refreshed and energized, rather than grumpy and groggy. Some people use them as their main alarm clock, and others use them to supplement their traditional alarm clock. The gentle awakening you get with a dawn simulator helps you better avoid sleep inertia, the groggy sensation that makes you want to crawl back into bed.