The alarm clock blares in your ears as you frantically attempt to shut off the beginning of another day using amateur karate chop moves you learned in your Pilates class yesterday.
There is no “secret sauce” to accomplishing your goal of becoming an earlier riser, and more importantly, to becoming an early riser who can accomplish more in the day than the average day. Just like a fine wine that gets better with time, so will your ability to successfully start your day on the right foot.
Morning sluggishness is not unique to you, as every person deals with actively jump-starting their mind and body in the early morning hours – but what many people do not understand is that the human body is simply a sophisticated machine that needs to run in accordance to a process or system set into place. There’s a genetic component to every person’s circadian clock that must be satisfied through practice.
Think of the Final Mile
Imagine you are running and you’re on the final mile that’s further than you’ve ever gone before. What is the common occurrence? Your mind tells your body to stop, slow down, grab a cold glass of water, and then crawl into bed to recover. By pushing mind over matter, you find that after two weeks of uncomfortable pain, that extra mile is just another mile embedded in your workout – it becomes a breeze.
As if you are training for that extra mile, the same goes for your sleeping pattern and activity level in the morning. With a little work and dedication, you’ll find it convincing that your life will never be the same.
Step 1: Set Back Your Clock
Act as if there has been a hole blown into the time continuum and train your body to think that you have one less hour at night. It is common that, as human beings, we underestimate the time needed to accomplish tasks and therefore spend an extra hour or so at night wasting precious “snoozing” time. Start winding your mind and body down an hour early than in past cycles, using mediation techniques, light reading, and controlled breathing to slow your heart rate and calm your mind.
Step 2: Turn Off the Technology
Studies have shown that people who fall asleep after using a technological device take longer to fall into REM sleep, which is the most important part of a person’s sleep cycle. This is due to higher brain processing activity and electric wave stimulation in the brain, debilitating individuals from resting the mind and body prior to sleep. It’s like drinking an energy drink before attempting to take a nap – the result will be less REM sleep and the lack of quality in your sleep cycles will create stress, depression, and sleep debt over time.
Step 3: Avoid Horns and Bring in the Light
Natural light is a great way to slowly wake the body and the natural progression of a sunrise will help adjust your internal clock, sending signals to your brain that light equals day, which in turn, means to wake up. If you have a bedroom facing East, use that to your advantage and position your bed to accept the natural light as each day rises.
In addition, contrary to popular belief, alarm clocks may be harmful to your successful morning routine. Think about how you would feel if someone came up behind you and screamed, “Boo!” Your dopamine levels immediately increase sharply, causing a substantial fall in subsequent minutes. This rapid change in emotional levels will cause more shock and harm than good.
Think about a day at the amusement park. After 8 hours of excitement riding roller coasters, what is the first thing you want to do? Crash of course. Who wouldn’t? The same principle applies to your sleep. Instead of an alarm clock with loud “beeping” noises, look to a gradual, softer sound and skip the snooze button.
Step 4: Stay Consistent and Be Realistic
I am guilty to setting my standards too high for myself, which eventually leads to failure in most cases. If you normally wake up at 8:00am, but then after reading this get motivated and say, “I am going to wake up at 5:00am tomorrow and be productive,” you’re surely going to fall in the long run.
Be consistent in your time and start slow in the implementation of waking up earlier. For example, if you normally rise at 8:00am, set your clock for 7:30am over the course of a week then move it back to 7:00am for the next week, and so on.
Have a Reward or Purpose
After following these steps, you may find that you have more time than you think and your brain will start to tell you to go back to sleep because there is no reason to be awake. Therefore, it is crucial to have a plan or agenda for your morning – have something to look forward to each and every morning.
This could be a simple pleasure or a project you are passionate about such as gardening, walking, or crafts. Eventually, you will find that there are actually more hours in the day than you originally thought and believe me when I say life will become more meaningful.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This article was written by Matthew Hall, a content writer for SaatvaMattress.com. Matthew is a serial blogger who enjoys sharing his thoughts with the world. When he isn’t writing he loves spending time with his family.