“Lose an hour in the morning and you will be all day hunting for it.” – Richard Whately
Waking up early; it’s something many of us have dreamed of doing, yet never managed to achieve consistently. As life becomes increasingly busy and our bedtimes get pushed later, we often find ourselves reaching for the snooze button when our alarm goes off in the morning.
Perhaps we’re staying up late watching TV or endlessly scrolling on social media, and as a result, feel tired every morning. Or perhaps we simply can’t seem to find the willpower to leave the comfort of our beds when it’s 6am.
Whatever it is that’s keeping you from getting up early, rest assured – there’s always a solution. 2020 has begun, work and school are commencing, and it’s never been a better time to become an early riser.
Here are our 5 tips on how to wake up early in the morning, easily and naturally.
Go to bed early to wake up early
Without a doubt, the best thing you can do to help you wake up early is to go to sleep early. The average adult needs 7 to 8 hours sleep per night, teenagers need 8 to 10 hours, and primary school-aged children need 9 to 11 hours (1). If you’re setting an early alarm, work backwards to determine the time you need to hit the hay to make sure you’re getting this optimum amount of sleep. Without enough hours of sleep, you’re not only guaranteed to be tired, but you’re also putting yourself at risk of damage to your physical and .
When setting your alarm for an earlier wake-up time, make sure you also bring your bedtime forward. The goal is to wake up early while still enjoying the multitude of that come with getting enough hours of sleep.
Tips on how to get to bed early:
- Keep your bedtime regular (even on weekends) to train your body to feel sleepy at the same time each night. This will encourage your circadian rhythm, or inner body clock, to fall asleep and .
- Stay away from screens an hour before bed. The blue light emitted from smartphones and other screens prevents sleepiness, as it stimulates the brain and suppresses the production of melatonin, the brain’s sleep hormone. Try to eliminate screens an hour before bed and reach for a book instead.
Resist the snooze button
Research has proven that hitting the snooze button when you wake up only makes us more tired, and has negative consequences for our health (2).
Snoozing for 10 or 15 minutes does not allow a complete to take place. A full sleep cycle has a duration of about 90 minutes, and in this time, we pass through four stages of sleep. Completing every stage of a sleep cycle allows us to wake up feeling rested and rejuvenated.
But when you hit snooze, you’re forcing your body to be woken up again before a full sleep cycle is able to be completed. When only given 10-15 minutes to nap, the body is confused about whether it should be asleep or awake. This explains the groggy, tired feeling we often get after snoozing.
We recommend getting out of bed as soon as possible after waking. Make your bed, and leave your bedroom. Even though it can be hard on dark, cold mornings – if you can resist the snooze, you’re doing yourself a favour.
Let the sunshine in
If you can, expose your brain to natural light within the first few moments of waking up, as sunlight helps the body and brain wake up and become alert. When your alarm goes, reach over and to let some natural light in.
Natural sunlight is considered a full spectrum light – it boosts vitamin D production and signals to the brain that it’s time to suppress melatonin, the sleep cycle hormone. Resist the urge to peek at your favourite social media apps first thing in the morning. If you’re using your phone as an alarm clock, consider turning off your notifications. Or better yet, remove phones from the bedroom and opt for a good old-fashioned alarm clock instead.
A number of sleep solutions can offer help. The uses intelligent technology to help you get your sleep schedule on track – emitting a soft yellow light in the morning that simulating a natural sunrise, to help you wake up. The Nox also emits red light at night, encouraging the production of melatonin (contrary to the blue light emitted from smartphones).
Tip: If you’re waking up in the dark before daylight, seize the opportunity to perch yourself in a place where you can watch the sunrise while you enjoy breakfast.
Reward yourself for getting out of bed
We all know waking up early is easier said than done, especially on those cold mornings when the only place you want to be is warm under the covers. When you can achieve waking up early, it’s important to reward yourself for doing so.
Try to have something to look forward to every morning, to help give you the willpower to get out of bed. This could be a delicious breakfast, only moments away in your kitchen. Why not splurge the few extra dollars on your favourite expensive coffee blend? Perhaps your reward is some time spent reading a book or listening to a podcast. Whatever it is, giving yourself more incentive to wake up early in the morning will help you achieve your goal.
Take steps to make your morning ritual hassle-free
If you can make your morning routine easier and more efficient, chances are you’ll have a more positive attitude towards waking up early. Take small steps to make your morning ritual flow more smoothly.
Consider laying out your clothes the night before, to minimise time spent deciding what to wear (this is especially helpful if you’re getting up early to go to work!). If it’s cold, leave your comfy dressing gown hanging on the back of your door so you can put it on and stay warm as soon as you leave your bed. It’s the small things that make early mornings easier.
On top of this, creating an will allow you to enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep – in turn making it easier to wake up in the morning. Your bedroom should be your sleep sanctuary, reserved only for sleeping and sex.
A comfortable, supportive will give you your best chance at getting the quality sleep you need, along with a good and comfortable . The best thing you can do to become an early riser in 2020 is to get your best night’s sleep yet.
- Sleep Health Foundation 2020
- Moorhead, A., ‘The science behind why hitting the snooze button is bad for you’, news.com.au, 3 June 2016