A hundred different websites and even more people have told you about the benefits of waking up early but actually training your body to wake up earlier can seem like an impossible task. Even if you’re not scientifically a night owl it’s easier to fall into bad sleep habits than it is to replace them with good ones. Still, it is possible.
Use these 12 strategies to train your body to wake up early:
- Focus on why you want to wake up early
Let’s face it, you’re not training your body to wake up early for fun. You’re doing it because you want to go to a school or have a job that requires you to wake up in the morning. Or you might be doing it so you have time to work on your creative pursuits before you go to the job or school you already have. Whatever the reason, make sure you’re completely clear on it and remind yourself often. This motivation will keep you going when the mornings get tough.
- Change your schedule in increments
If you’re naturally a night person it’s often easiest to start changing your schedule in increments of 15 or 30 minutes. Each week wake up a little bit earlier and go to bed a little earlier than you did the week before. This allows your body to adjust slowly and is much more effective than waking up one day at 4PM and trying to force yourself into bed by midnight.
- Be careful about when you nap
No matter how tired you are you should only nap if you’ve been awake for less than 7 hours. After 7 hours a nap will give you too much energy at the wrong time. Just push through the tired and go to bed somewhat earlier than you normally would.
- Go camping for a week
After a week without artificial light your body will adjust to natural light, automatically waking up with the sun and growing tired as it grows dark. Camping is also one of the greatest ways to get rid of your stress, so start planning your trip today!
- Read fiction before bed
Struggling to make yourself fall asleep before 3AM? Curl up with a book you’ve already read or a new book of short stories and read until your eyes start to droop. Reading non-fiction will just excite your brain with ideas and knowledge so save those books for day time.
- Create a wind down routine
A bed time routine is a signal to your mind and body that it’s time to go to bed. Your bed time routine should begin about fifteen minutes before you actually get into bed. Some ideal bed time activities are reading, meditation and light stretching.
- Invest in smart lights or automatic curtains
Getting some sunshine right when you wake up pushes grogginess away fast and helps get you in a good mood for the day. Program a set of automatic curtains to reveal the sun half an hour before you wake up or get a smart light to do the same thing if your bedroom doesn’t have a window. If you wake up as soon as light hits your face make sure your automatic curtain/smart light is programmed to turn on right when your alarm goes off.
- Cut back on night time screen time
The blue lights in your TV, computer, phone and tablet all disrupt your body’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. You want to turn all your gadgets off at least an hour before you go to bed.
- Use Flux
Flux is a program that controls the blue light in your computer monitor. Its automatic settings take out all the blue light at sunset(you put your time zone in when you start the app for the first time) and return it when the sun rises. You can also set it to permanently filter some or all of the blue light. This is great for people who work on their computers and tend to wrap up close to the end of the night.
- Tell yourself it’s only 10 minutes
You know how you tell yourself “it’s only 10 minutes” every time you press the snooze button in the morning? It’s time to try the opposite: when your alarm goes off hit the snooze button and get up, telling yourself you only have to stay out of bed for 10 minutes. You can do anything you want in those 10 minutes except go back to bed or sleep on the couch. Almost every time you’ll find yourself too awake to go back to bed after those 10 minutes.
- Take a melatonin supplement
If you’re really struggling to sleep the issue might be a lack of melatonin. You can buy this supplement at any drug store or health store and take it once a day, ideally an hour or two before bed—right around the time you turn all those gadgets off.
- Get a sleep evaluation
There are numerous sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea which can make it difficult to get good sleep even if you’ve allotted the right amount of time. Your sleep issues may also be caused by other health issues such as depression and allergies so it’s worthwhile to also get a full physical and psychological evaluation at the same time.
You might never be a true morning people but you can train your body to wake up early every morning and fall asleep at a reasonable hour every night.