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How to Become a 'Morning Person'
“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.”
You might think that you’re just not designed to be a ‘Morning Person’ and it is just something that some people are born with. That’s what I thought until I set out to be a ‘Morning Person’ myself!
I would never go to bed before midnight and I’d always be late for work. On weekends I’d sleep in until mid-afternoon.
On that odd day where I did get up early, I almost always felt better all day and I always got more done. One day I decided enough was enough! I set my alarm for 6AM the following morning, determined to get out of bed, nothing was going to stop me!
The next day I woke up at 2pm.
I tried several more times, never really getting anywhere with it. Maybe getting up early just wasn’t for me. Every morning I’d hear my alarm and every morning I’d turn it off. Eventually I gave in to the fact that I wasn’t a morning person. That was until one day, I came across some research that went against what I’d been trying to do. Here’s the exciting part: once I started to follow what I’d learned, I was finally able to wake up early every morning, without fail!
It’s crazy how easy it is to become an early riser when you use the right strategy!
Common sense tells us that if you want to get up earlier, you need to go to bed earlier. You’re going to bed at midnight and getting up at 8am, so in order to get up at 6am – you simply go to bed at 10pm, right? Unfortunately, more often than not, this strategy will fail.
There seems to be two main ideologies when it comes to sleep patterns.
The first; that you should go to bed and awake at the same times every day, to keep us in a routine and ensure we get enough rest every night.
The second; that you shouldn’t over think it, just go to bed when you’re tired and get up when you naturally wake up. The reasoning with this idea is that our bodies know how much sleep we need so we should just go with the flow.
I’ve tried both of these methods and if you care about productivity, neither of them are optimal sleeping patterns. This is why:
If you sleep for the same amount of time every night, you’ll sometimes go to bed when you aren’t tired enough. You should be able to fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed and if you can’t, you aren’t sleepy enough. It’s a waste of time lying in bed and not being asleep. Furthermore, this method assumes that you need the same amount of sleep every night, which is not true. The amount of sleep you need varies from day to day.
If you are going to bed based on what you’re body tells you, it’s more than likely you’ll be sleeping more than you need to, many people end up sleeping an extra 10 – 15 hours more per week using this method (that’s a whole waking day!). Many people who sleep this way get 8 or more hours of sleep a night, which, more often than not, is too much. Another issue is that your mornings are going to be less predictable if you’re getting up at different times.
The solution? Combine both approaches.
It’s actually quite simple , and many people that get up early do this without even thinking about it. Having said that it was something that took me years to figure out!
What I started to do was go to bed when I was tired enough to fall asleep within five minutes of hitting the pillow, and combine this with getting up at a fixed time every day (including weekends). So, in my case I would get up at 6am every day, but go to bed at a different time every night.
I go to bed when I can’t stay awake any longer, I’ll usually start to drift off while reading a book. Using this method I fall asleep within three minutes of going to bed. Sometimes I’ll be in bed by 9pm, other times I’m up till midnight, but usually it’ll be around half past 10. The key is to go to bed when you literally can’t keep your eyes open. Reading is useful as it becomes obvious when you’re tired enough.
When my alarm goes off, I turn it off and I get out of bed. The trick is to not think about it. There are two voices in your head when you wake up, one telling you the benefits of sleeping in and the sensible one telling you to get up, you have to get up before this mental argument starts! Just do it! The more you do it the easier it becomes, it is second nature to me now.
It takes a few days to get used to this approach, but you will find that your sleep patterns settle into a natural rhythm. If you get too little sleep one night, you’ll naturally be more tired earlier the next night. If you have lots of energy and you’re not tired, you’ll sleep less. You’re body learns when to fall asleep because it knows it’s going to be up at the same time the next day – and that’s non negotiable.
An unexpected and beneficial side effect to this is that on average, I slept around an hour less per night, but actually felt more well-rested – this is because I was fast asleep the entire time I was in bed.
Remember, you must only go to bed when you can fall asleep within 5 minutes of hitting the pillow. If you go to bed to early, get up and do something like reading for a while. You must stay up until your body starts to shut down.
You may end up staying up late the first night, resulting in only a few hours sleep, but just grind through that first day and you’ll want to go to bed earlier the second night. After a few days you’ll find your natural sleeping pattern and you’ll end up going to bed around the same time every night.
So if you want to become a ‘Morning Person’ this is what you have to do: Only go to bed when you’re tired enough and get up at a fixed time every morning!