For most of us, getting out of bed every morning may occasionally be the day’s most challenging task. More so if you are a night owl who works and performs better at night.
And you really don’t want to wake up to that cold early morning air, right?
Because my work is a bit far from my home, I myself need to wake up at around 4:30 AM (after hitting the snooze button two or three times). But I’ve recently been trying to optimize that early morning rise and shine so I can still squeeze in a quick 20-minute cardio routine before my day starts.
My routine can seem like torture to some, but this habit of waking up early actually has great benefits that you may want to consider. I used to think that it was the harder pumping of the blood each early morning that leads to increased productivity and the extra energy. But then, I realized that there must be more to it than just giving you more time to do more things.
So, how did I do it? I will share my secrets in this post. First, I will teach you how to become an early riser. Then I will share the benefits I started to enjoy by being up early each morning.
Get More Things Done by Becoming an Early Riser
Later, you will learn in detail how being an early riser can benefit practically all aspects of your life. But first, you need to develop those habits that will turn you into an early riser. Here are the steps.
1. Start Slowly
You don’t have to make drastic changes. You can start by waking 15 to 30 minutes earlier than what you’ve been used to. Do this for a few days until your body gets used to it before cutting another 15 minutes.
Repeat until you reach your ideal waking time.
Just like waking up earlier every day, you should do the same for sleeping. Going to bed early instead of waiting for the sandman to come while watching TV entices you to sleep earlier.
Reading a book while in bed may also help put you to sleep faster and earlier.
2. Put the Alarm Clock Beyond Your Arm’s Reach
An alarm clock placed next to the bed allows you to easily hit snooze or completely shut it off, doesn’t it? Never ever make it a habit to hit the snooze button.
If you put your alarm clock away from the bed, you will be forced to get up to stop the alarm. By then, you would have lost the urgency to sleep.
Once the alarm clock has been shut off, get out of the bedroom immediately, instead of thinking of going back to bed. My technique is to force myself to go to the bathroom and pee.
After flushing the toilet and washing my hands, I’m already fully awake.
3. Set a Good Reason
Think of something important that you want to be done the next day and schedule that activity early in the morning. This gives you the motivation to get up.
If you feel that you like writing or working out early in the morning, set it as your morning goal.
4. Don’t Rationalize
When the alarm clock sounds off, most of us tend to rationalize and think about why we need to get up early. Just wake up and get up.
Let it be that simple instead of arguing with yourself if you want to get more sleep or not.
5. Maximize That Early Morning Time
Instead of using the extra couple of hours of the early morning getting updated from your social network accounts, spend it doing something productive. Prepare your breakfast and pack your lunch.
Do a quick 2-mile jog. Read a good book on self-improvement.
Don’t let those extra hours pass by without accomplishing something worth your while.
6. Treat It as a Reward
Think of something that is pleasurable or relaxing for you and do it early in the morning. That way, waking up early becomes its own reward.
You may want to spend it meditating, watching the golden sunrise, or preparing a healthy smoothie. Treating it as a reward can motivate you into following a more regular sleeping and waking routine.
7. Calm Down
Most people find it hard to sleep right away because they are anxious about the things they weren’t able to accomplish and those that need to be done the next day. This can cause overthinking and delay sleep or feeling disturbed in the middle of the night.
As you lay down on the bed, calm down and relax your body and mind. Breathe slowly and mindfully, and feel the anxiety go away.
Now you know how you can start to wake up early each morning. To help reinforce your motivation to sustain your efforts, we will reveal the secret benefits you can enjoy in the following section.
Become an Early Riser and Start Reaping These 15 Secret Benefits
Here are some compelling reasons you should develop the habit of getting out of bed early:
1. You Get a More Positive Outlook in Life
Night owls like you understand that it’s only natural to get easily annoyed by morning people, and it can be quite frustrating. Their occasional singing, chattering, and perky selves are indications that they just don’t understand that for you, morning should be spent quietly to give yourself enough time to wake up completely.
As mentioned, early risers also go to sleep earlier. This routine gives them the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults. It’s a no-brainer that sufficient sleep is needed for a healthier mind and body, which means the positivity coming from these morning people can be attributed to getting enough rest.
2. You Get Better Grades
Numerous studies done in Europe and the US have shown that students who wake up earlier during the morning garnered higher scores on their exams and got a higher GPA on average as compared to students who liked to ‘burn the midnight oil.’ This is because when you wake up early and regularly, you are able to manage your time better during the day so you can take the day off earlier and as a result, get enough sleep.
The benefit of an early-rising habit to personal time management can’t be overstated. When you get into the habit of sleeping and waking up in the evening and morning, respectively, and at similar times, you keep up with your body’s circadian rhythm.
The circadian rhythm is an internal biological clock thought to influence certain actions that your body does, in particular times of a day. It supports your sleep health, which is an important factor in influencing the performance of your brain.
3. You Get Twice More Energy
It’s elementary, Mister Watson. If you rest better and longer, you get more energy. And generally, those early risers follow better sleep patterns compared to their night owl counterparts.
This is a really interesting fact – a lot of things happen with your body when you go to sleep. And all of these things benefit your mental health and also long-term physical health.
Once you go into the deeper sleep cycles, your breathing slows, blood pressure and body temperature drop, muscles get relaxed, and there is an increased flow of blood to the muscles. These are factors to bone and tissue repair and cellular corrections.
Growth hormones also abound during this sleep stage, and muscle growth and development get stimulated.
4. You Become a Better Problem Solver
When your mind has rested well, it is better prepared for anything the day throws at you. This is because you feel more energized, as explained above, and also more organized.
This makes the body and mind more prepared for the day’s issues.
Early risers also tend to have a better mood, so they are more rational when handling problems. Also, when you get enough sleep, it lets your brain work through issues that you have been pondering for a long time, which can help you find a solution.
5. You Can Exercise More
If you started a workout routine at night and promised yourself to follow that nightly gym visit but eventually failed, you are not alone.
After a long day of work, people are typically physically and mentally exhausted, and this makes it hard to even think of going to the gym and burning out what’s left of the energy. The thought alone makes you immediately long for your bed, doesn’t it?
I mentioned at the beginning of this article that when I got into the habit of sleeping and waking up early, I was able to squeeze some time in the morning for a quick cardio workout.
The good news is that more and more gyms are offering entry early in the morning because members are complaining that they’re always full at night – this means you can do strength training as well.
When you work out early in the morning, you don’t have to exhaust yourself in the evening, and it is also healthier for you. You burn more calories when you exercise in the morning because you have more energy.
Finally, when you exercise, the body releases endorphins, which is a hormone responsible for feeling good.
6. You Become a Much Better Planner
It has happened to all of us. We have an idea of what we need to do by tomorrow and when the next day comes – life messes with everything.
You forget your lunch, the slow commute stresses you big time, and before noon, you feel like you want to throw in the towel.
If you wake up early, you’ll have more time to lay out your day plans in advance. You can divide big goals into smaller, more achievable ones so you get more done.
With fewer things to worry about, it’s easier to deal with petty things such as morning traffic.
Better planning skills will lead you to the next point.
7. Easier Commute and Less Traffic
It’s a well-known fact that five minutes can make a significant difference in morning hour traffic. Just when you have the morning all planned out, a five-minute delay getting stuck in the middle of rush hour traffic can stress you out as you ponder if you’ll make it to the meeting on time.
Why let yourself go through the torture when waking up early means you can leave home ahead of thousands of commuters and avoid getting stuck? When you take your time getting to work, stress levels are lower, and you get more opportunity to think about how you’re going to spend the day fruitfully.
8. You Get Deeper and Better Sleep
As mentioned previously, setting a regular sleep schedule affects your circadian rhythm, and in turn, affects the quality of the sleep as well. When your rising and waking cycle is steady and consistent, the effectiveness of the body’s natural sleep stages is increased.
This, in turn, promotes a healthier body function.
You go through the sleep cycle multiple times while you sleep, and this is related directly to the way the brain stores memory and processes information. There are studies showing that a large part of the brain’s problem-solving activities happen during sleep, so this process mustn’t be interrupted.
Also, the body is able to heal and regenerate when you are well-rested.
9. You Have More Time for Your Family
When your mind is not focused at night on things you weren’t able to do earlier or how you can squeeze in a quick workout, you can enjoy time with your family better before bedtime. Sure, you’re still physically tired after a day’s work, but unwinding in a relaxed setting while surrounded by people you love is enough to soothe your mind.
Waking up early also gives you and your partner some quiet time with each other. Just do a quick research on the many health benefits of morning sex, and you’ll want to hit the sack early.
10. More Time for Work
You are more productive when there are fewer distractions, it’s a basic truth. Waking up early during weekends will give you some quiet hours before the house is filled with the sound of your children playing.
People who wake up early also tend to have higher completion rates because they are able to set their goals for the day, and this is mostly due to fewer distractions. Stop procrastinating while falling in line for coffee by getting to work before your officemates arrive.
11. You Tend to Eat Healthier
When I was a slave to my bed and tried to squeeze out a few minutes more of rest before rising, I was always tied with that tight schedule of preparing myself for work and getting out of the door as soon as I can. Since I’m in a hurry, I don’t think about what I put in my stomach anymore.
That sugar-laden energy drink and cream-filled donut will take a toll on your body after some time.
When you get up early, you have time to prepare healthier breakfasts, and you become more conscious of what you consume. You get to enjoy your coffee leisurely, too.
12. Improved Mental Health
All the benefits I have mentioned are building blocks of having sound mental health. Restorative sleep, decreased stress and physical strain, and improved brain function are factors essential to your brain’s ability to fight off or release anxiety.
Mental health experts also agree that a healthier mind is a product of a good night’s sleep, organization, and good time management. Furthermore, psychological illnesses such as depression can be caused by lack of or too much sleep.
13. You Are More Relaxed
Although being an early riser gives you more time to get organized or be more productive, it doesn’t always have to be your goal. Sometimes, you just want to take time as you go through your morning ritual as you prepare to get to work.
With the extra hours, you have more time to pick the day’s outfit, enjoy your coffee while you browse over a shopping catalog, or style your hair differently.
14. You Feel More Serene
Rising early allows you to enjoy yourself and space around. There are times when you just want to do ‘nothing’ for an hour or two and just remove yourself from mental and physical stimulation.
Doing nothing can sometimes be doing yourself a favor. Curl up on your favorite couch while you sip your coffee.
Or just spend it meditating or praying. Periods of silence have been found to benefit the brain, according to some studies.
Oxygen flow to the brain increases during moments of silence because you tend to breathe deeper with more control. This also helps reduce high blood pressure and migraine attacks.
15. You Get the First Choice at the Coffee House
It’s pretty frustrating when you’re craving for the Belgian chocolate cake at your favorite coffee house and find out the last slice has been sold. When you wake up early, you get a better chance of having all the freshly baked pastries still available as you pick what you want to eat.
Fulfilling a craving early in the morning means you have less competition.
If you were having a hard time looking for a good reason for waking up early before, I surely hope the benefits I have mentioned have helped you. Being an early riser not only means that you can go to work earlier and catch up on your emails, but it can also play a role in improving your physical and mental health, improve relationships, or just live a better life.