Not long ago, I made a decision to wake up early and go for a run. I remember the feeling I had watching the sun come up and knowing that I was already doing something that was going to have a positive impact on my day. It gave me confidence I was going to win the day. That is just one example of the many benefits you receive when you wake up and get out of bed early.
5 Benefits of Waking Up Early
- Less stress. When you wake up early you have more time to organize and prepare for the day. You have time to eat a healthy breakfast, exercise, and have free time for yourself or your family before you start your day.
- Better, deeper rest. When you follow a sleep-wake schedule you are more likely to have an earlier bedtime. You will be more consistent in getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night. When you wake up, you will feel more rested even though it is an earlier hour.
- More energy. The better your rest at night, the more energy you will have in the morning.
- Increased productivity. Being more relaxed and organized in the morning leads to increased productivity throughout the day. Waking up early after a restful night’s sleep puts you in the position to be the best version of yourself.
- Improved mental health. A well-rested body and clear mind create the support structure you need for overall better mental health.
What If I Am Not A Morning Person?
Imagine the following two options.
Option 1 – Follow a healthy sleep-wake schedule that collaborates with your body’s circadian rhythm. Wake up early and start your day relaxed. First thing in the morning, you have time to eat, exercise, and organize your day. You feel more in control of your day, and you are more productive. At night, you fall asleep easily and you feel rested when you are awake. Your mind is clear and free of stress. For you, sleep and an early morning routine are your secret weapons.
Option 2 – You wake up feeling tired because you stayed up too late last night. Even though you set an alarm, you stay in bed repeatedly pushing the snooze button. When you finally drag your body out of the bed, you are in hurry so you don’t take the time to eat a healthy breakfast or exercise. Your priorities get lost in the busyness of the day. You work late again to try to catch up. You power through with caffeine, but you feel stress and anxiety. For you, the alarm clock is your bitter enemy.
Waking up early is less about being a morning person and more about choosing the life you want to live. Success happens by design. To design your ideal day start with the question, “What should my morning look like to give me the success that I want?
Successful People Wake Up Early
Waking up early is something you can choose to do and build into your life as a healthy habit to take care of your body and mind. Many successful people leverage the early morning hours to optimize their personal and professional life. Apple CEO Tim Cook starts his day at 3:45 a.m. Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama starts her day at 4:30 a.m. Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is known to wake up before sunrise to do a six-mile run. Successful people do not rise early because they are all morning people by nature. They do it because they understand the benefits of rising early, and they have made a choice to live the life an early-riser.
I hope you are convinced about the benefits for your body and mind of waking up early. Once you make the decision to do it, you might still need some help making it happen. In this article, we are going to share with you six tips on how to wake up early and live a productive day.
6 Tips On How To Wake Up Early
The good news about getting up early is that anyone can do it. It is true that some people are hard-wired to get out of bed before the sun comes up. However, there is hope for the rest of us.
Tip 1: Know Why You Want To Wake Up Early
You can accomplish almost anything if you have the right motivation. So, remind yourself why you want to do it. Ask yourself, “What does getting up early make possible?” Think of something positive and use that as an inspiration to overcome the resistance when it is time to get out of the bed.
For example, I know that if I wake up early, I will have time to go for run before work. I know that is not exciting to everyone, but it makes my whole day more productive when I exercise. If I do not do it first thing in the morning, then I will probably not do it at all.
Tip 2: Establish Your Sleep-Wake Schedule
Waking up early does not mean you have to miss out on sleep. You can still get 6-8 hours of sleep if you follow a schedule. If you want to consistently wake up one hour earlier it means you need to go to bed sooner in the evening.
Creating a new sleeping habit does not happen automatically. It requires intentional effort, but it might not be as hard as you think. Here is a simple set of steps you can follow to create your ideal sleep-wake routine.
Step by Step Guide For Getting Up Early
- Decide what time you want to wake up (This is your goal).
- Determine what time you need to go to bed ( Plan for 7-8 hours of sleep).
- Break down your goal into steps.
- Gradually change the hour you wake up until you reach your goal.
- Set an alarm.
- Get out of bed without using the snooze button.
- Start your day with a well-planned morning routine.
Habit-Building Pro Tip: Stick to you sleep-wake schedule even on weekends.
Build Your Sleep Habit Gradually
Set a goal for incremental improvements. For example, if your current alarm is set for 8 a.m., you might choose to wake up 15 minutes earlier at 7:45 a.m. One week later, you can adjust again to wake up at 7:30 a.m. You keep moving forward in increments of 15 minutes or 30 minutes until you arrive at the ideal hour for you to start your morning routine.
The Science That Supports Your Goal to Wake Up Early
The body produces a hormone called Cortisol. The production of cortisol is intended to collaborate with your circadian rhythm – so you sleep at night and stay awake during the day. When you cooperate with your body’s natural systems, you will fall asleep faster and have a deeper, more restful sleep.
According to an article published by healtlline.com, this is how your body uses cortisol to help regulate your sleeping patterns.
Your sleep-wake cycle follows a circadian rhythm. Every 24 hours, roughly synchronized with nighttime and daytime, your body enters a period of sleep followed by a waking period. The production of cortisol in your body follows a similar circadian rhythm. Cortisol production drops to its lowest point around midnight. It peaks about an hour after you wake up. For many people, the peak is around 9 a.m.
Cortisol drops throughout the day so that you will be sleepy at night. It begins to rise throughout the night to help you wake up in the morning. There are a variety of factors that can affect cortisol production in the body and thus interfere with the quality of sleep. Learning how to cooperate with the body’s natural rhythm makes it easier to go to bed at night and wake up earlier in the morning.
Tip 3: Plan A Bedtime Ritual to Get Your Best Sleep
You will get the best sleep of your life if you create the conditions your body needs for rest and relaxation. The ideal environment for a deep restful sleep is cool, dark, and quiet.
- Keep your bedroom cool. Experts suggest 62 to 68 degrees is optimal for sleeping.
- Keep your bedroom dark. According to research by PubMed, nocturnal light has been shown to alter circadian rhythms and sleep in humans. Of course, artificial lights from outside the home are a source of light pollution, but the light from computer screens, mobile phones, and televisions can have a similar effect.
- Keep your bedroom quiet. The body reacts to the stimulus of sound
Tips for Optimizing Your Sleep
- Avoid coffee (and other forms of caffeine) after about 4 p.m.
- Turn off your screens an hour before going to bed (phone, tablet, television, etc.)
- Consider meditation or journaling to help free your mind for better sleep
At Asian Efficiency, we have a great resource to help you get your best sleep.
Tip 4: Eliminate the Snooze Button
First, set an alarm based on the hour you want to wake up. Second, make a commitment to eliminate the snooze button as an option. Your goal for your mornings is not to start using the snooze alarm sooner. The purpose for setting an alarm is to start your day earlier.
Although it may seem obvious, many people make the mistake of staying in the bed. The point of waking up early is to do something that makes your day more productive. One simple habit that can change your whole day is to immediately make up your bed. You start your day with a productive accomplishment, plus you remove the temptation of going back to sleep.
Tip 5: Own Your Morning Routine
Getting up early gives you the advantage of having more free time before you start your day. We recommend establishing a morning routine that sets you up for success. What you do with your mornings is very personal. The idea is that you are intentional about your choices. A worthy goal is to wake up at least an hour earlier and plan a morning routine that lasts approximately 60 minutes.
Here are some ideas to help you get started
- Silence and meditation
- Positive affirmations
- Eating a healthy breakfast
- Get morning sunlight as soon as possible after waking up
- Planning and organizing your day
- Need more help? Use this checklist.
Some popular resources on the topic of morning routines include Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) and The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma.
Also, check out these Asian Efficiency resources on building a morning routine.
Tip 6: Track Your Sleep
Anytime you have an important goal, it is important to measure your progress. The technology available today makes it simple and seamless to track your sleep. There are many apps that integrate with the technology built into your phone to evaluate the quality of your sleep as well as how long you sleep. You view a report that shows you the hour you went to sleep and woke up.
A popular app on the iPhone is called Sleep++. A similar app on Android is called Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. You might prefer wearable tech such Fitbit, Apple Watch, or an Android powered smartwatch. Another favorite is the Oura Ring. Whatever technology suits you, we recommend taking advantage of the information to guide in your journey to becoming an early riser.
Next Steps For How To Wake Up Early
Here is a simple strategy for how to wake up early starting tomorrow.
- Get motivated. On paper or in a digital note, write down one positive benefit that waking up early makes possible.
- Set an alarm. Try waking up just 15 minutes earlier than your normal time.
- No snooze button. Make a commitment to not using the snooze button and absolutely no going back to bed after you get up.
If you do those three things tomorrow, you are on your way to owning your morning and living a productive day.