How To Wake Up Early & The Benefits of an Early Start
8 min read
Last Modified 2 June 2021 First Added 11 April 2019
No one likes to be groggy in the morning, but not many choose to change their habits and learn how to wake up early. But there’s no reason to stay tired every morning; there are plenty of ways you can help to train your body and mind into enjoying early starts to the day. Even if you refer to yourself as a night-owl, you can still access the many benefits of waking up early.
Convinced that you should be waking up earlier? Don’t worry; it only takes a few days to help your body and brain wake up in peak condition.
You don’t need to make drastic changes; no one should go from night owl to Mark Wahlberg’s routine in one night. Start with gradual changes and build up to waking up early.
Here are seven tips on how to wake up early:
Physically getting out of bed can be the hardest part of rising early. And putting one alarm clock on the other side of the room, so you have to jump up and run across the room in the morning will just make you despise your early mornings.
A better way of doing it is to have two alarm clocks. Your first alarm should be in arms reach and is to wake you up. A few minutes later your second alarm should go off, which is completely out of reach. This is your cue to actually get up out of bed.
This way gives your body time to gently wake up. If you set the second alarm 10-15 minutes after the first, you could spend the time reading or starting to plan your day. Just make sure you don’t snooze during this time and do something to begin waking your brain up.
Having the right attitude can go a long way to helping you wake up early. Motivate yourself by doing something you enjoy first thing in the morning. Make waking up early a pleasure, not a chore.
You could start your day by stimulating your brain, listening to podcasts or reading. This is especially effective if the subject is waking up early.
Starting your day with exercise will also help to get the blood pumping. This doesn’t have to mean the gym unless you enjoy it, it could be something as simple as going for a walk in the park. The outdoor air and the activity will help to get the heart working harder and keep you awake once you are out of bed.
It makes perfect sense that going to bed early will increase your chances of being able to rise early. Going to bed early helps you get a full night’s rest before your early morning. So, when you wake up, you’re less likely to feel fatigued from poor sleep or lack of sleep.
Getting into a good sleep routine will help you get up early, as your body will naturally fall into sleep cycles at certain times.
Snoozing just interrupts your sleep patterns, it doesn’t help you feel more refreshed in the long run. You don’t actually have the restful REM sleep that is important for your body and mind to recover. You’re more likely to find getting up harder if you snooze.
No matter how hard it is to stick to in the beginning, don’t give up. Your body will become accustomed to the routine and adjust your sleep patterns to fit.
This includes the weekend. Many people don’t get up early on weekends as they aren’t in work and so don’t see why they should. Get around this by planning your weekends. It may seem weird to plan your leisure time, but it doesn’t matter what the plan is. Go for coffee with a friend, join an exercise class, use the weekend mornings.
And not just the general “I want to wake up early as it has loads of amazing benefits.” That’s far too general and uninspiring. Think about what you want to achieve with the time. Do you want to improve your fitness? Maybe you want to spend more time with family and friends? Or do you want to spend more time on your business?
Changing a habit is hard, so you need a good reason.
It doesn’t take that long to shift your body’s sleep cycle, only about 4-5 consistent days. However, for many, it’s not just about changing one habit but changing several small habits too. For instance, how often do you go to bed only to accidentally stay awake until the early hours of the morning watching something online?
Changing this can be hard in the modern age, as you can easily take your electronics to bed and end up awake for hours after you planned to be. If turning them off doesn’t work, you may want to think about lending them to a family or friend for a few weeks. It’s easier to break this habit when the option isn’t there for you to be tempted, allowing you to go to bed only to sleep.
Waking up early is a well-known habit of successful people, such as Richard Branson, who wakes up at 5 am and former First Lady Michelle Obama who starts her days at 4:30 am. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Waking up early has benefits for your physical, mental and emotional health. Here are just a few:
It’s well known that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many late risers skip this meal, or worse just grab a high fat, high carb, high sugar snack. Getting up early ensures that you have time to have a healthy and nutritious breakfast.
This, in turn, leads to healthier eating habits during the rest of the day. Ensuring your body is fueled in the morning keeps you satisfied, so you are less likely to eat unhealthy snacks to see you through until lunchtime
Skin is at its best first thing in the morning, after a good nights’ sleep. Also, like breakfast, earlier risers can use some time in the morning to give their skin some TLC. Spending time exfoliating, moisturising and cleansing are great morning habits for your skin.
Who really wants to exercise after a hard day’s work? Often family or work commitments get in the way, giving a perfect excuse not to exercise.
You’ll find that exercising first thing is a great way to wake up in the morning, and you’ll rarely have an excuse to avoid it. Working out in the morning will also keep you energised for the rest of the day. Exercise also helps you to sleep better at night, and with a good night’s sleep, waking earlier should be easier.
An early start does wonders for concentration; you get to work or school on time, and you’ve had the time to acclimatise yourself to the day properly. This means that you’ll also be alert as the day goes on.
Getting up early can increase your productivity in several ways. Firstly, there are fewer interruptions, as the rest of the world is asleep. This means you have the time to focus on essential tasks before being interrupted.
Your brain actually tends to be more alert in the morning, so you tend to make better decisions. Setting your goals first thing is a great help you on your way to achieving them.
An early morning allows you to plan your day in advance and create attainable goals. You can figure out what you actually need to accomplish in the day. Having a well thought out plan means that you’ll be less likely to be thrown off by simple things such as traffic or forgetting your lunch.
A rested mind starts the day ready for anything that is thrown at it. Waking up early helps you to become more organised and energised, so you can tackle any problem. Also, long term issues are likely to be easier solved as your brain solves problems through the night if you are getting a good night’s sleep.
Early risers tend to go to bed earlier and have a better sleep routine in general. A consistent sleep cycle increases the effectiveness of your natural sleep stages. The sleep cycle happens multiple times throughout the night and is vital for your brain’s rest and development. Healthy sleep cycles allow the body to heal and promotes healthy brain function.
As earlier risers tend to have a better sleep routine, they have typically had the suggested seven to nine hours sleep a night. As this leads to a healthier body and mind, early risers tend to have a chirpier outlook on life.
Find out more about Sleep Science.