I have recently read a book by Laura Vanderkam entitled "What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast
" and it is a real eye open as to how successful people use their oft overlooked hours before work to set themselves up for the day - to jumpstart their day if you like.
Some people are naturally early risers and others are not. If you are, then great, this article is not necessarily for you. Indeed, as I have got older I have managed to condition myself to become an early riser (and I find I need less sleep generally).
I myself can get up most mornings at a pre-ordained time, especially on days when I am travelling for work. However, it has not always been the case and looking back I realize that I have actually learned to condition myself - in fact I have taught myself how to become an early riser.... and I often use those early hours to send a few emails or indeed update the blog you are now reading
But if you are not an early riser, if you can only get up at the last minute - or even worse if you really struggle to get up then you need this article. Imagine waking up naturally at whatever time you choose -- be it 5am or 7am -- feeling happy, wide awake, and maybe even without an alarm clock. No more hitting the snooze button six times, making yourself late because you fell back to sleep, or drinking 3 cups of coffee before you can even open your eyes.
1) - Early to bed, early to rise
This may seem obvious, but going to bed early will help you wake up early. And it’s an amazing feeling. You get as much sleep as you need, and wake up early, naturally. I go to bed much earlier these days than I used to, but I do find that if I go to be too early then I have trouble sleeping...
However, a lot of people can’t wake up early because they consider themselves a “night owl”, meaning they feel that they are better suited to being awake and alert late at night, and should sleep late in the morning, too. Unfortunately, this is difficult to do in the real world, unless you work in job where you can set your own hours.
All that ends up happening is that you stay up late, then have to force yourself awake every morning because you feel so tired. But don’t worry. Even if you are consider yourself a night owl, your routine can be changed. Try going to bed a little earlier each night, and see how you feel. Perhaps adjust the time earlier by 15-30 minutes a day. It may be difficult at first to fall asleep, so you could try reading in bed, or try a herbal supplement like Valerian to help you naturally drift off.
Once your body gets used to this routine, you’ll naturally start to feel tired earlier in the evening, and you’ll get the sleep you need, being able to wake up early in the morning with hardly any effort.
2) - Program your mind and body to wake up
Yes it’s true. You can program your mind like a computer, to respond to certain things in a certain way. In this case, you desire to wake up early and on time without so much effort and difficulty. If you set the alarm to 6:30am, that’s exactly what time you want to wake, and jump out of bed fresh and ready for the day ahead.
There is a very effective technique introduced by Steve Pavlina on his website. He suggests getting your body used to responding to the alarm clock instantly, by practicing. You practice by setting the alarm clock during the day, then getting into bed as if you are sleeping. Set it for a few minutes later, get under the covers, and shut your eyes. As soon as the alarm goes off, instantly sit up, and get out of bed. Steve suggest doing this 3-10 times, twice a day until this method becomes effective.
The repetition programs the response into the brain, and it eventually becomes autonomous, meaning that the body responds like this automatically. If you keep practicing this, then eventually this same response will happen in the morning, for the real alarm. It won’t be such a struggle to get up. You’ll just jump out of bed automatically, without thinking!
3) Manage Your Alarm Clock
This last step offers a couple tips to make sure your alarm actually wakes you up. The first thing to do is put the alarm clock out of reach. If you can reach it, you can snooze it. If you can snooze it, you’re probably not going to get out of that warm bed.
Set it across the room from you, or at least out of reach of your fingertips. Make sure you actually have to get out from under the covers to turn it off. You’ll find that once you are out of bed, you’re unlikely to jump back under the covers. It’s easier to just keep on walking and go and grab a cup of coffee!
Another thing to do is vary the alarm clock sound. After a while, you get used to the same old sound at the same old time every morning. Vary the volume, or change the actual sound of the alarm. Maybe use the radio instead of the alarm. Or, if you use the alarm on your cell phone, simply change the ring tone. Do this every few days, so the sound of the alarm is a surprise, and actually wakes you up.
The last thing you could do is make the assault come from all directions. Put up more than one alarm. You’ll be amazed how many devices have an alarm function. Hi Fi’s, tablet computers, laptops and even cookers have alarms these days. And if they don’t, there’s a marvelous little timer device you can buy that you can plug into the electrical socket of each appliance. The timer can be set to turn on the device at whatever time.
You’ll give yourself little choice in the morning to get up if you hear the vacuum cleaner, the CD player, the alarm, and the lights come on!