How to Become an Early Riser
Learn About Sleep
- Circadian rhythm : Learn more about circadian rhythm - and then observe your rhythm.
- Observe yourself : For a week maintain a notebook and chart yourself; times when you get up; times when you are mentally agile and able to focus and times when you are mentally fatigued and unable to maintain focus.
- Observe food effects : For a week, maintain a coffee and sugar log for a week and observe the post-caffiene and post-sugar high and lows.
- Habit replacement : Being a "morning person" or a "night-owl" is only habit. The key point about habits is this : Habits aren't broken. They are replaced.
The only way to become a "morning person" is to start getting up in the morning and enjoying more time and a carefully planned more productive day.
Find Your Primary Reason
- Build self-esteem : Every night you decide to wake and get up at 5:00am; come morning, the alarm goes off at the appointed hour; you hit the
snooze button a few times and then drag yourself out at 6:15am, you lose a little self-esteem. If you decide to wake up at 5:00am and do it; you make a
little deposit in the self-esteem bank. Do it for 7 days consecutively and you'll be a happier; do it for 30 days successively and you'll
be able to call yourself a morning person; because you will be. And, if you can change that, you can do and change anything.
- Improve mental health : Morning rituals like meditation/prayer or exercising or yoga or gardening or journaling (e.g. Julia Cameron's morning pages)
have an amazing ability to refresh and quieten the mind and improve your overall mental health.
- Change yourself : One of the key points of constructive living is : the only way to change yourself is to change what you do.
If you wake up at 5:00am today; then, tomorrow you have a history of a day of waking up early; wake up early regularly for a week - next week,
you have a history of a week. The only way to change what you do is to do things differently.
- Gain more quality time : Early morning is excellent uninterrupted time to meditate, review long-term objectives, plan your day,
and get lots of things done before other people come in and start interrupting.
- Be more successful : There is a very high correlation between waking up early and successful people. You want to be more successful,
you have use the extra time in the morning.
- Go to bed when you are exhausted : Rule #1 is to go to the bed only when you are so exhausted that you'll be soundly sleep within 5 minutes
of hitting the mattress. Work or read till you are ready for bed.
- Wake up at a fixed hour : Rule #2 is to wake up at the appointed hour (5:00am) every day. Seven days a week.
- Chart Yourself : Stick a month calendar on the mirror in the bathroom or the fridge and note down your progress.
To change, you have to measure; to improve, you have to keep a log.
- Warrior Mentality : Adopt a warrior mentality. You are at war with your habit. And you'll win. On days you do win, reward yourself a little.
On the days you slip up, don't be too harsh on yourself; remind yourself that it's a war and you'll do better tomorrow.
What to Expect
- A few tough days : Your body will needs a three/four days to catch up with the new sleep cycle system. The longer you keep the method,
the easier it will get.
- Weekend urge to sleep more : You'll get a strong urge to "catch-up" over the weekend and sleep late. Don't do it! Keep the same system
for all days.
Tips and Tricks
- Bedroom is for sleeping only : Unless you live in a one-room/studio, use the bedroom only for sleeping. Make your bed in the morning and don't disturb it
till you are going for a nap or sleep.
- Control the internal conversation : The alarm/radio start playing; and a conversation starts in your head : "It's so nice and warm in here ...",
"I slept very late", "Just a few minutes more", "After this song", "One more snooze length" etc etc. This internal conversation only happens when you are still in bed.
It stops after you get up. So, the night before, tell yourself, you'll stop this conversation when it begins and get up. Write it down, if you want to.
No one can teach you how to do this. And , only you can do it.
- Use CD/iPod/Music to get up : Choose your own classical / instrumental music to wake up; the morning DJ and the commercials are unhealthy intrusions in the morning.
- Pre-Alarm : Set a radio alarm for 4:45am in another room. This will act as your pre-alarm. When your 5:00am alarm goes off, get up.
- Write the wake-up time : Keep the monthly calendar on the bathroom mirror or the fridge. Make it a game to pencil in the time
on the clock whern you reach the bathroom/fridge.
- Set a reward : Set yourself a goal and a small reward. Seven days of waking up on time and you can buy yourself
- Scheduled exercise : 20-30 minutes of morning aerobic exercise like cycling / jogging / running is wonderful for your health.
- Give up coffee : Caffeine is a drug; give it up. See : How to Give Up Coffee
- Eat healthy : Learn about glycemic index. Eat grains, beans, fruits, vegetable and other low glycemic index foods to keep your blood sugar levels as constant as possible.
- Slow wakeup lamp : If you can afford it, get a slow sun-rise-lamp kind of device.
Some useful links
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