Just because you haven’t done it before doesn’t mean you can’t wake up early and be a morning person. In fact, I have always been 100% a night owl but, nowadays, I wake up at 5:30 am every morning.
Why do I torture myself by going against the innate nature of my being?
There are several reasons for learning how to wake up early and be a morning person;
It helps me maintain my healthy diet
When I wake up early, I have a hot cup of ginger lemon tea and that gets my digestive juices moving. Thus, I start to feel hungry after about 15 minutes and I have something to eat. I like to practice the “30 in 30 rule” and have 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up.
Waking up at 5:30 am means that I eat at 6 am and that sets me on an “every three hours” eating schedule for the rest of the day. That means I eat five meals and usually plug in a snack or smoothie too.
It helps me drink enough water
It’s very easy to forget to drink water. Pretty soon it’s 3 pm in the afternoon and you have to try and fit 64 oz of water into the next couple of hours because you don’t want to be up all night going to the bathroom.
Waking up early helps me to have plenty of time to drink enough water. After I have my tea in the morning I switch to water for the rest of the day. I might have another cup of tea or two throughout the day. But, I don’t count those towards my total water intake and still have plenty of time to drink enough water.
It helps me practice self-care
Waking up early means that I get a little bit of quiet time. Granted my daughter and my youngest son are both up at that time, they are still coming out of their sleep state and aren’t asking me for things. So, I go into my office and do my meditation and read a chapter of my book while I sip my tea. That little bit of “me time” helps me to set the tone for the day and get my mind right and ready. My days are usually about 15 hours long so, taking that time first thing helps so much.
It helps me manage my workload
I am fortunate enough to work from home helping female online business owners run their businesses. But, working from home doesn’t mean that I don’t work hard. I have several clients and I manage a lot of projects. Waking up early helps me to manage the workload and support each one of my clients to the fullest.
It helps me have a sleep routine
Waking up early means that when 9 pm rolls around I am sleepy. And, after a cup of bedtime tea, I lay down in bed without a thought on my mind and drift to sleep effortlessly. If I sleep in or if I stay up late and wake up early, my bedtime routine is a mess and my body is confused about what it’s supposed to be doing at bedtime. I end up feeling ready for bed at 5 pm and wide awake at 9 pm.
Even with all of these benefits, learning to wake up early and be a morning person didn’t happen overnight. I really had to work at it. And, I tried a TON of different things to help. I even went so far as to have a bowl of ice next to the bed when I fell asleep so that I could stick my hand in it when my alarm went off in the morning.
That didn’t work. Don’t try that.
Most of it was a mindset. I had to train my brain to appreciate (not like or enjoy) but, to appreciate getting out of bed early in the morning and all of the ways it benefitted me.
How To Wake up Early and Be A Morning Person
Before I started working from home, I worked for a large health system in the pacific northwest. Part of my job was to take notes at the sentinel event meetings, which were held at 5:30 am (these are meetings where the doctors and administrators discuss why a death occurred in the hospital and how to prevent it in the future).
I remember one day it hit me, “How in the hell can I wake up at 4 am to be at a 5:30 am death meeting but, I can’t get out of bed at 6 am to do some stretching and read a book that I love!?!”
That’s when I knew it was all in my head. I was *obviously* physically capable of getting out of bed early. I just didn’t have my mind right about it. I always just thought I wasn’t a morning person so, I couldn’t wake up early.
Eventually, I learned a few tricks and have consistently been getting out of bed at 5:30 am for a few years now.
Set A Goal
Think about what time you would feel good about waking up. And, what you want to do with that extra time. If you’re waking up early to just have some quiet time, how much time do you need to feel peaceful? When you think about people who you would consider a “morning person”, what time do you think they wake up?
And, if you’re waking up early to exercise or work on a project, how much time would make you feel productive and successful?
Once you know how much time you need or would like to have in the morning, count backward from the time that you HAVE to wake up and that is your goal.
For instance, if you have to wake up at 7 am every morning for work or to get the kids to school, and you want one hour in the morning to do yoga, then your goal is to wake up at 6 am.
Don’t try to go from waking up at 7 am to waking up at 5 am. That’s going to be a shock to your system and it’s not something you will be able to sustain. You’re going to remember you’re not a morning person and decide you were crazy to even try.
Instead, start with 15-min increments. Set your alarm for 15-mins earlier than you usually wake up and practice doing that for a few days. Then set it for another 15-mins earlier and practice that new wake up time.
Do this until you are waking up at the time that you set as your goal.
Go To Bed Earlier
Here’s the thing. You can’t stay up until 12 am streaming Making a Murderer on Netflix and expect to turn around and wake up at 5 am feeling refreshed.
If you want to wake up earlier, you have to move your schedule back and go to sleep earlier. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
You have to figure out where your sweet spot is for how many hours you need. Think of your goal for wake up time and count 7 hours backward from there. That’s your bedtime.
If you wake up after 7 hours and feel completely wrecked, then maybe try for 8 hours the next night. You know your body and you know when you feel tired because you woke up early vs. tired because you didn’t get enough sleep.
Move Your Alarm Clock
If your alarm clock is within arm’s length from you – move it. Being able to roll over and push the snooze button is way too tempting at 6 am. Even if you think it won’t be.
Move your alarm clock to the other side of your bedroom. Or, better yet, inside the bathroom. Getting up and walking into the bathroom can trigger your body into a conditioned response of needing to pee.
And, between that and the cool temperature in the bathroom, your body will start to wake up. If you’re like me, you use your phone as an alarm clock. So, it’s no big deal to plug it in away from your nightstand.
Use A Fancy App
I was raised in a family who loves to dance. And, I dance with my kiddos all the time. I love music. So, I added an app to my phone that is an alarm clock and I can customize which song plays when the alarm goes off.
There’s nothing better than hearing Salt n Peppa’s Push It at 5:30 am. Seriously. I actually look forward to it. There are also apps that will gently wake you up by playing the alarm sound softly at first and then slowly making it louder.
Or, the old standby alarm app that scares the crap out of you by playing the alarm sound so loud you think it’s a Tsunami warning.
You have to figure out for yourself what kind of wake up you prefer and then look for an app that fits your style.
Write A To-Do List
One thing that I have found is that, if I’m going to wake up early, my mind immediately starts asking why as soon as the alarm goes off. It’s like it doesn’t make sense to my non-morning person body to be awake early.
When I first started this whole process, I could literally wander around the house looking for a reason to be up early. And, if I didn’t find one, I would go back to bed.
So, I got into the habit of writing a to-do list the night before. Even if the list just said, take a shower, make tea, get your book, read until you’re interrupted.
Do you want to wake up earlier? What do you think is standing in your way?