How to Wake Up Early to Change Your Life

WRITTEN BY Steve Smith

The single most significant change to my life was the day I decided to wake up early. Every day people leave valuable time on the table, time that could be used to create space in your day for important activities or to simply get more work done. The trick is, to make sure you put those early hours to good use.

Your mornings can be comprised of anything that you deem productive, and no, waking up early to continue your Netflix binge is not considered productive. This is time to grow your business, get a workout in, meditate, go for a walk, journal, study for school, or do anything that will be beneficial to you.

For some of you, waking up early can be tough. You may be thinking that you aren’t capable of waking up early. I promise you, you can and will if you just give yourself some time to adjust and hold yourself accountable. If you choose the path of least resistance, you will never get out of your own way. Growth doesn’t come from the path of least resistance, but by continually challenging yourself to get better.

8 Methods to Wake Up Early

Get on a Schedule

Your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock) is likely screwed up from your prior sleep habits. If your internal clock is weak or non-existent, then waking up at any time is going to be difficult.

This is one of those things where you need to consistently wake up early in order to reset your circadian rhythm. It can take up to a week (possibly longer if you are sleep deprived) for your body’s internal clock to begin to adjust.

While your body’s clock is in the process of adjusting, make sure to follow some of the other methods to get you out of bed.

Gradually Wake Up Early

Grow the Good Life isn’t about motivation (which is crap) or about short-term gains. It is about sustained growth over time to achieve the life that you have always wanted. With that in mind, you do not need to wake up 2 hours earlier the first day you decide to fix your garbage sleep habits.

If you are used to waking up at 10:00 am, but are now shooting for a 5:00 am wake-up time, you will struggle mightily cutting 5 hours from your sleep schedule. An approach that will allow you to be the most successful is by waking up 15 minutes earlier each day.

This gives your body time to adjust each day and will help prevent any type of fatigue or brain fog that will come with too much of a jump from your previous sleep habits. Depending on how much earlier you are trying to wake up, patience may be needed here.

15 minutes a day might not sound like much, but if you do 15 minutes a day for a week, you will be waking up over an hour and a half earlier by the end of the week!

Alarm Clock

Move the Alarm Clock

Another method to wake up early is to move your alarm clock further away from you. If your alarm is next to you when you wake up, you will be tempted to smash that snooze button.

Fight this temptation by moving your alarm across the room. This will force you out of bed when you wake up. Once you are up, DO NOT hit the snooze button. Take your groggy self and proceed to the next method.

Get Out of the Bedroom

When you wake up and turn off the alarm, get the hell out of your bedroom. If you find yourself staring at your bed, high-tail it out of there. If you are tempted to lay back down, even for 5 more minutes, leave.

Go get a glass of water or a cup of coffee. Even better, grab your exercise gear, go for a walk, run, or enjoy the benefits of yoga. Under no circumstances do you get back in bed.

Early morning walk in the woods

Cut the Caffeine

In order to wake up early, you need to set yourself up for success the night before. Now would be a good time to be more mindful of your pre-sleep habits and adjust them. Your first step is to cut the caffeine.

Do not drink anything with caffeine 8 hours before your scheduled time to go to sleep. It takes 6 hours or more for caffeine to work its way through your system. Even if you believe it doesn’t affect your ability to get to sleep, it will cause problems with your quality of sleep.

Get Rid of Blue Light

We all lead digital lives, it is just part of life. But all those screens are wreaking havoc on your ability to get to bed. The blue light emitted from your screen is interpreted by your brain as a signal the sun is out and it’s time to wake up.

Your screen is messing with your brain’s ability to release melatonin into your system. Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces to make you want to get to sleep. If you are having trouble getting to sleep, all the blue light may be a good reason why.

Most modern devices come with a blue light filter. You can even set a schedule on your device, so your blue light filter will come on automatically. You can also buy blue light blocking glasses that will help aid filter the blue light.

You should be cutting blue light from your devices 2-3 hours before it is time to get to bed. This will allow your brain to start releasing melatonin and allow you to get some sleep.

Do Not Disturb

Your phone comes with some form of a do not disturb setting. Make sure to set it to prevent unnecessary chirps from your device. Just because you decided to get your life in order, does not mean those around you will be on the same journey. You may find yourself waking up to missed messages and social media notifications.

I promise you that this is OK, and you can get back to them the next day. I personally have my do not disturb set for 8:30 pm. After that time, only phone calls will ring through if you are on my contact list. Since no one calls me that late, I let calls ring through in case of emergencies. Your mileage may vary here, so make sure to set it for whatever makes sense for you.

Waking up early and stretch

Be Consistent

The most important thing is to be consistent. Shoot for no more than a 30-minute deviation in your sleep schedule. Consistency leads to more restful sleep. If it’s the weekend, and you have something to do, try your best to be within 1 hour of your bedtime and your wake-up time.

You may be thinking, this is going to kill my social life. You may feel that way, but your social life may be interfering with YOUR quality of life. At some point, you may need to evaluate your habits and routines. Staying up late because of FOMO (fear of missing out), is not a valid excuse for making poor decisions.

You Got This

You absolutely can wake up early. You need to give yourself time to adjust and to hold yourself accountable. Remind yourself why you are doing this and what you want to accomplish the next day.

Take it slow, and incrementally get up earlier each day. I promise you, you will get to a place where you will wake up early, and you will love it.

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