But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them.?
– Time in a Bottle, Jim Croce
If you never seem to have enough time to do the things that you want to do, maybe you need to invent longer days. And while you don’t have a chance of changing the laws of physics, you can add some hours to your productive time by simply becoming an early riser. Given are some ways which can help you to be an early riser.
Choose to get up before you go to sleep
You’re not very good at making decisions when you’ve just woken up. You were in the middle of a dream in which is serving you breakfast in bed only to be rudely awakened by the harsh tones of your alarm clock. You’re frustrated, angry, confused, and surprised. This is not the time to be making decisions about whether or not you should stay in bed! And yet, most of us leave the first decision of our day to be made in a blur of partial wakefulness.
No more! If you want to be a consistently early riser, try making your decision to rise at a specific time before you go to sleep the night before. This frees you from making the decision in the morning when you’ve just woken up. Instead of making a decision, you have only to follow through on your decision from the night before. Easier said than done? Of course. But only for the first few times. Eventually your need for raw willpower to get out of bed will diminish and you’ll be the proud parent of a new habit!
Have a plan for your extra time
Let’s say you’ve actually made it out of bed 2 hours before you normally would. Now what? What are you going to do with all this time you’ve discovered in your day? If you don’t have something planned to do with your extra time, you risk falling for the temptation of a “morning nap” that wipes out all the work you put into getting up.
What to do? Before you go to bed, make a quick note of what you’d like to get done during your extra hours the following day. Do you have a book to write, paper to read, or garage to clean? Make a plan for your early hours and you’ll do more than protect yourself from backsliding into bed. You’ll get things done and those results will fuel your desire to build rising early into a habit!
Don’t use an alarm that makes you angry
If we’re all wired differently, why do we all insist on torturing ourselves with the same sort of alarm each morning? I spent years trying to wake up before my alarm went off so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I got pretty good, too. Then I started using a cellphone as my alarm clock and quickly realized that different ring tones irritated me less but worked just as well to wake me up. I now use the ring tone alarm as a backup for my bedside lamp plugged in to a timer.
When the bright light doesn’t work, the cellphone picks up the slack and I wake up on time. The lesson learned? Experiment a bit and see what works best for you. Light, sound, smells, temperature, or even some contraption that dumps water on you might be more pleasant than your old alarm clock. Give something new a try!
Get your blood flowing right after waking
If you don’t have a neighbor you can pick fights with at 5am you’ll have to settle with a more mundane exercise. It doesn’t take much to get your blood flowing and chase the sleep from your head. Just pick something you don’t mind doing and go through the motions until your heart rate is up. Jumping rope, push-ups, crunches, or a few minutes of yoga are typically enough to do the trick. (Just don’t do anything your doctor hasn’t approved.)
If you live in a beautiful part of the world like me, you might want to use a bit of your early morning to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty of the world around you. If you have a coffee shop open within walking distance, dragging yourself out of bed for a cup of coffee to savor on your walk home as the world wakes around you is a wonderful experience. Try it!
Understanding Your Internal Clock
Often referred to as our internal clock, every living thing responds to circadian rhythms. A circadian rhythm is an approximately 24-hour long cycle that controls specific functions and systems in our bodies. Our bodies have over 100 circadian rhythms. Each one directs a different physiological function in our bodies ranging from regulating body temperature to regulating when we sleep and when we wake up. It’s the sleep circadian rhythm that we need to focus on in order to become an early riser.
Your sleep patterns become habits just like most other things in our lives. You develop sleep habits and those habits affect your natural circadian sleep rhythms or your internal clock. In order to change those habits you need to reset that internal clock. You need to coax your body into developing new sleep habits.
Our sleep clocks are photo reactive. Those are big words for the simple fact that our bodies respond to cycles of light and dark. Periods of light tell our brain that its time to be awake while darkness means bed time. Anyway, the key to waking up earlier is to establish new sleep habits that work with the body’s natural cycles.
When you go to sleep, make your room as dark as possible. Don’t let light from outside enter your room, and don’t try to fall asleep with the T.V. on. The darkness will trigger the release of chemicals as well as other changes in our body’s natural rhythms that bring on sleep.
Set your alarm to your new wake up time and keep it set for at least thirty consecutive days until you develop a new sleep habit. Buy an inexpensive lamp timer and plug your bedside lamp into it. Set the timer to turn on the lamp when the alarm goes off. Open your eyes when you hear the alarm, take a deep breath, and get out of bed. Your body will begin producing the chemicals that terminate the sleep period and begin the waking up period, as it responds to the light from the lamp. Open the shades and let the outside light enter the room.