- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How Does One Wake Up Early?
The Science Behind Sleep
What does our body do when sleeping? Just how much sleep are we really supposed to get? When should we go to sleep in order to wake up "well rested"? How does one become a morning person? To answer these questions, we must take a look at what I'll call the "science of sleep."
First and foremost, we must recognize that sleep is essential to life. The longest someone has stayed awake without sleeping was nearly 19 days! I think it's pretty safe to say that going without sleep like that for an extended period of time is a serious health risk. When we sleep, our bodies rejuvinate joints, relax muscles and "repair" themselves. It is a time in which we exhert little energy and our bodies recover from the day's activities. Without sleep, we would entropically self-destruct.
Not only is sleep essential, but the amount of sleep is important as well. It typically takes us approximately 90 minutes to enter into "deep sleep," sometimes also called REM sleep. This is typically when we have dreams, although they sometimes also occur outside of our deepest cycles of sleep. When sleeping, it is important that we sleep for a significant amount, lest we never fully revitalize ourselves. Scientists have debated for years as to how many or how few hours we should sleep each night. Some say six hours, others say at least eight. The most important think when considering how long you should sleep is whether or not your body will have sufficient time to enter into and sufficiently stay in deep sleep so that it can rest.
So, let's get on to answering the main question: How does one wake up early?
It is one thing to wake up early a handful of times. It is a completely different thing to wake up early on a consistent basis. Let us address each of these challenges seperately:
Waking up early (not consistently)
- Take a cold shower- I would venture to guess that this could wake up a hibernating bear although I wouldn't recommend it!
- Set your clock's time a certain number of minutes fast. This will set your alarm off early in case you tend to hit "snooze" too often. Set the time in correlation with how many times you typically hit snooze.
- Splash cold water in your face.
- Purchase a special clock. There are clocks available today that will literally JUMP off of your nightstand and crawl around on the floor. This causes you to have to get out of bed in order to find and subsequently silence the alarm!
Waking up early (consistently)
- Make sure you allow adequate time for you to actually sleep deeply. It is harder to wake up having had six hours of sleep vs. nine hours.
- Sleep deprive yourself. Let me explain: it is easier for you to wake up having had only five or less hours of sleep than it is to wake up having had six or seven hours of sleep. When you only sleep for less than about five hours of sleep your body hasn't yet entered the deepest cycles of sleep, so it is easier to awake from a lighter cycle of sleep than it is to awake in the middle of a deep sleep. This step is not recommended!
- Get in a routine. Get your body used to going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier. If it helps, remind yourself that before "CSI: Miami"(or whatever show you want) comes on, you are supposed to be getting ready for bed. Your body will adjust and it will become easier to do.
- Get to bed before midnight. Many studies seem to point to the fact that your body needs to get to sleep before midnight. It is as if our bodies are "hard wired" to do so. if you consistently get to sleep at 1 a.m. it will be much harder to wake up at 7 a.m. Conversely, it is much easier to wake up at 5 a.m. when you get to sleep at 11 p.m.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable and conducive to deep sleep. In fact, you could even get someone (spouse, medical professional, etc.) to evaluate your sleep. If you are tossing and turning frequently or if your breathing is irregular, it becomes harder for you to get well rested.
- Exercise. Studies have shown that significant physical exercise causes the body to sleep more deeply at night and lets you wake up feeling more "rested" than if you weren't exercising.
To summarize, in order to wake up early, you must get your body into a routine and allow enough time and create and environment conducive to deep sleep. If your body is rested enough, it becomes considerably easier to sleep deeply. If, however, you consistently get to bed past midnight, sleep for only six hours, etc. your body will have a hard time waking itself up from what was a restless night's sleep.
I hope this information helped! Please don't take my word as
the Gospel Truth! As always, do your own research, and find
out what works best for YOU! I cannot be held responsible
for your actions and/or the results of following this advice.
If I did, I would be sitting in jail bankrupted for a long
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