Getting up early is the first step to achieving a high productivity level. I know, I know… if you’re like me, you probably already groaned at the thought of early rising. BUT, your to-do list won’t check itself off and your goals can’t be reached by sleeping the day away. So stay with me and let’s do this together.
Did you know that early risers are generally more proactive, can maintain healthy diets by eating a good breakfast every morning, anticipate and minimize problems in the workplace and have more time to focus on goal setting? Those are pretty solid reasons to change your sleep schedule for the better.
If you’re not convinced yet, consider the fact that your body will be more in tune with the Earth’s circadian rhythms if you go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. This will provide you with a more restorative sleep, which in itself will help you keep a clear mind and increase your productivity throughout the day. Do I have your attention now?
Still, if you’re not a morning person, getting up early is easier said than done, right? Here are a few tips to help you do the seemingly impossible.
- Go to bed early. If you’re used to staying up all hours of the night, it’s time that stopped. The key to waking up at a decent time is getting a long enough sleep (7 to 9 hours) so that you don’t have to force yourself out of bed.
- Start a bedtime routine that includes a few different activities. Once you go through the motions every night, your body will get to know when it’s time to go to sleep. For example, have a cup of tea, take a shower, brush your teeth and read a chapter of your favorite fiction book in the same order every night.
- Avoid looking at screens starting 2-3 hours before you go to sleep, including your cell phone, TV, computer or any other bright screen. Otherwise, your sleep cycle will be greatly disrupted. Instead, try reading a book or doing something that doesn’t involve electronics.
- Put away the non-fiction reading a few hours before bed. Pick up a fiction book or short stories that don’t require a ton of thought.
- Stick to the same sleep and wake up times every day, in order to take advantage of your internal clock. A set routine will encourage your body to wake up naturally without needing an alarm clock.
- Refrain from hitting the “snooze” button. Once you hit that infamous button, it’s never easy to get up. It also disrupts your sleep. Try putting your alarm clock across the room, forcing yourself to get up and out of bed right away.
- Plan an enjoyable activity first thing in the morning. If you have to get up and go straight to work, your subconscious will already be fighting to stay in bed. Make a delicious breakfast, go to the gym or go for a walk by the lake if that’s something you can look forward to each morning.
- If you enjoy midday naps, pay attention to the time. Napping 7 hours after waking up in the morning can disrupt your sleep schedule for the following night. Try to take a nap in the first half of the day if you must do so.
- When you do get up, open the curtains right away to let the sunlight stream in. This will help you to be more alert, able to go about your day with laser focus.
- Create a wake up playlist with your favorite motivational music. This will get your brain fired up and feeling ready to take on the day ahead!
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Benjamin Franklin
If these strategies work for me, they definitely can for you, too. You just have to be willing to make the change! Commit to one full week of following these tips and see how it goes, then adjust accordingly and keep pushing. Eventually, it’ll stick and your future self will be thanking you.
“Waking Up in Paradise” photo taken by Samantha on a Caribbean island. Landscape print available here.
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