7 Tips to Become an Early Riser

7 Tips to Become an Early Riser

If you are trying to be happier, healthier and more successful, you might want to start waking up early. The reality is that early risers enjoy a host of benefits that boost their well-being and give them an edge in life — from improved cognitive function to increased energy levels throughout the day.

Of course, waking up early is often easier said than done. Scientists say that our propensity to feel sleepy and alert at certain times is determined on a cellular level. In other words, being a morning lark or a night owl is in your genes.

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That doesn’t mean you can’t change your sleep patterns and find your inner morning person. With a few simple tricks and the right tools, you can train yourself to get up at the crack of dawn without feeling sluggish or cranky. Here are a few tips on how to become an early riser so you can get more out of your day.

  1. Move Your Bedtime Earlier

As a former night owl, you might be used to staying up late — perhaps watching television or finishing up work. But it’s worth pointing out that the average adult needs between seven and nine hours of shut-eye. If you continue with your late-night habits while also trying to wake up early, you will inevitably miss out on those precious Zzzs.

To get the rest you need, you have to train your body to go to sleep earlier. One way you can do this is by developing a relaxing evening routine. For example, snuggling up with a weighted blanket in the evening can help you de-stress and fall asleep faster thanks to a mechanism called deep pressure stimulation. Pair your weighted blanket with a good book, and you’ll be drifting into dreamland before you know it!

2. Prepare the Night Before

Mornings can be hard when you’re a natural-born night owl. To make things easier on yourself, why not prep for the morning the night before? Here are a few easy ways to simplify your mornings:

  • Plan your outfit. This will lower your stress in the morning and save you from making foggy-brained style blunders.
  • Try a make-ahead breakfast. Make-ahead breakfast recipes such as overnight oats, banana bread breakfast cookies and freezer breakfast burritos are delicious and nutritious — not to mention huge time-savers!
  • Streamline your coffee fix. The night before, clean the coffee machine and put the coffee in the grinder so it’s ready to go. You could also try overnight cold brew coffee.
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3. Get Creative with Alarm Clocks

We’ve all been there before — you want to wake up early, but once your alarm clock goes off, your sleepy brain convinces you to hit snooze. If this sounds familiar, you may need to get a little creative with your morning alarm. For instance, you can try setting two alarms — one by your bedside table and another in your bathroom. That way, you’re forced to get up and get your day started. Another option? Downloading an alarm clock app that requires you to complete some kind of puzzle or math problem to disable the alarm.

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4. Manage Blue Light Exposure

You’ve probably heard that being on your phone or watching television in the hours leading up to bedtime isn’t the best for your slumber — but do you know why? Blue light, like that from smartphones and television screens, interferes with our body’s melatonin production, making us feel wired when we should be sleepy.

To avoid suppressing your body’s natural melatonin production, limit the use of digital devices before bedtime. If you share a bed or a dorm room with someone who uses digital devices at nighttime, wear a high-quality eye mask to block external light sources (bonus points if it’s a weighted eye mask).

5. Wake Up Easier — Download a Sleep Tracking App

Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling groggy and just…out of it? Chances are, it’s because you’re waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle.

As we sleep, our bodies go through four to six sleep cycles every night. Each cycle consists of four stages of sleep: awake, light, deep and REM sleep. If you wake up in the deep sleep stage (N3), you’ll feel disoriented and have an irresistible urge to fall back asleep to complete the cycle.

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That’s where sleep tracking apps come into play. Sleep tracking apps, such as Sleep Cycle, track your sleep cycles and gently rouse you during the lighter stages of sleep so you can wake up feeling more refreshed and less like a zombie.

6. Give Yourself a Reward

If you want to successfully train yourself to be an early riser, it’s helpful to build some kind of treat or reward into your morning routine. For instance, maybe you can make yourself a cup of coffee and listen to your favorite podcast. Other rewards might be an amazing breakfast (waffles and bacon!), playing some video games or reading a great book while everyone else is still fast asleep. Think of it as giving yourself some much-needed “me” time.

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7. Rethink Your Daytime Habits

If you’ve established a relaxing bedtime routine and are still having trouble nodding off at night, you might want to take a closer look at your daytime habits. Sneaky things, like working in bed during the day and drinking caffeine in the afternoon, can make it harder for you to fall asleep at your desired bedtime.

For a better night’s sleep (and thus, a better morning), consider making the following changes to your daily routine:

  • Stop drinking caffeine six hours before bedtime
  • Make time for physical activity
  • Restrict your naps — don’t snooze for more than 30 minutes

Make Gradual Changes

The key to becoming an early riser is to take things slow and steady. Begin by pushing your bedtime forward in 15-minute increments each night until you’ve reached your desired bedtime. Eventually, you’ll be waking up early naturally and loving every minute of it!

 

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