Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Waking up early is a common habit among many highly successful people.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and business magnate Richard Branson are two examples. Of course, waking up early doesn’t automatically make you successful, but it comes with great benefits which in turn can contribute to your success.
Many people wake up early because they have to, such as farmers and bakers, but a lot of people wake up early because they actually want to. And for some reason, I have become one of those people.
To me, the morning hours are magical.
It’s quiet, it’s dark (at least in winter), my mind is clear, my body is rested. It’s a good time to get focused work done. Many people are still asleep, and it feels like I’m getting a head start on the day.
Waking up early is a habit that can really improve your life, and I’m going to tell you how you can become an early riser yourself.
How I became an early riser
Like many people, I am not a natural morning person. For the past few years I’ve been somewhat of a night owl, and have often felt that I did my best work at night.
Having said that, reading the book The Miracle Morning (which I wrote about in an earlier post) inspired me to change my routines. In the book, the author writes about how beginning to get up early and having a morning routine had changed his life, and the lives of many others.
I also found out that another writer I follow—Sean McCabe—was an early riser. He even had podcasts and blog posts about this topic, and said that waking up early had doubled his productivity.
All this made me curious.
I began to wake up earlier than I usually did, and kept up with it for a while. Eventually though, I fell back into my old routines. Change can sometimes be hard.
This year, however, things changed. For 2016, I sat a goal of having more consistent sleeping habits and making early rising a habit, and I have managed to keep my commitment to that goal.
I now wake up at 06:00 most days. I have a morning routine, I get more stuff done, I get time for personal development every day, and I have gained several good habits in the process, such as meditation and journaling.
The benefits of waking up early
When your alarm goes off in the morning, it’s often more comfortable to just stay in your warm bed. So why should you even bother to get up early? Let’s take a look at the potential benefits.
The morning hours are probably the most productive hours you will have in a day.
When you wake up, your “batteries” are fully charged.
Your body is rested (assuming you got enough sleep), and your energy level is at its highest.
This also goes for your mind. When you wake up, your head is clear. Thoughts and worries have not had time to fill your mind yet.
Your willpower reserves are also filled up, so the morning is a good time to do that which requires the most of your willpower. That may be working out, or finishing that thing you have put off for a long time. Throughout the day your willpower reserves will get depleted, so it will not get any easier later in the day.
Early mornings also bring with them an optimal working environment. It’s quiet. There are few distractions. No one is going to call or text you, and there is very little happening on social media. It’s easier to focus in the morning than later in the day.
The morning hours are great for productivity, so use this time for your most important tasks.
Time for personal development
Having a morning routine gives you something to wake up to. It’s a popular habit among many, and it’s how I start my day.
Waking up earlier gives you the extra time you need to do a morning routine, and to make time for personal development. There are many things you can do to improve yourself, such as:
- going for a walk
- saying affirmations
- planning your day
- reviewing your goals
- writing down what you’re grateful for
Waking up early is a good habit in and of itself, but it can also help you establish other good habits, which is something I’ve experienced myself.
A better start on the day
When you get up earlier, you get more time, which in turn makes it possible to have a less stressful morning. Waking up at the last minute and hurrying to school or work does not give you the best start on your day.
If you also do some positive things for yourself when you wake up, you can feel energized, confident and ready to take on the day.
Another benefit is that you get time to really wake up before you begin your normal day. No more tiredness at work or school because you just woke up!
Having some quiet at the beginning of your day is really beneficial, especially in a busy world like ours. Introverts will enjoy the alone time, and everyone can benefit from having some peace and quiet in their day. Time to relax, meditate, think, or just sit quietly.
How to begin waking up early
If you want to give this a try, here are some tips for you:
Have a plan. Have a plan for what you are going to do when you wake up, something to look forward to. Are you going to do a morning routine? Meditate? Work out? There are no rules, so try different things and find out what works for you.
Prepare the night before. It’s also a good idea to lay out the things you will need in the morning, such as your workout clothes or the things you need for your morning routine. This gives you less to think about when you wake up, and makes it easier to get started.
Go to bed earlier. You can’t just start getting up earlier and getting less sleep as a result. If you want to wake up earlier, you also have to go to bed earlier. We sleep in 90 minute cycles, so it’s a good idea to plan your sleep accordingly. Use sleepyti.me or sleepcalculator.com to calculate when you should go to bed and when you should wake up.
Don’t hit the snooze button. When you wake up, avoid hitting the snooze button. Falling asleep again after waking makes your body begin on a new sleep cycle, and when you wake up once more, you will actually feel worse. Those extra minutes aren’t helping you much.
Get a better alarm clock. If you generally feel tired when waking up, you can try using the Sleep Cycle app on your phone, which will monitor your sleep and wake you up when you are in a light sleep phase. If the problem is the darkness outside, you can try an alarm clock with a simulated sunrise. The Philips wake-up light is what helps me get up in the winter.
Drink a large glass of water immediately after waking. When you wake up, you haven’t had anything to drink for several hours, and your body is dehydrated. Drinking a large glass of water is good for both your body and your brain.
Change your wake up time gradually. To make the transition easier, it’s a good idea to gradually change your wake up time. Begin by waking up just 15 minutes earlier, then 30 minutes earlier, and so on until until you arrive at your ideal wake up time.
Now it’s your turn
Hopefully, by now you can see that waking up early really comes with some great benefits.
Remember, you don’t have to do a drastic change tomorrow. Start small, by trying to get up just 15 minutes earlier. Then use that extra time and see how it goes.
It might improve your life in ways you never thought.