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How to Wake Up Early and Feel Good About It

by Bethany

Waking up early? This was something I loathed until this year. I changed my own mind and figured out how to make it happen.

Previously I prided myself on getting ready quickly and skipping breakfast. My mornings were rushed and chaotic.  This was the case for many years.

Then I decided I was tired of rushing in the morning and re-vamped my morning routine to include meditation and eating. This seemed to work and be beneficial for a time. I even wrote about it. However, this did not last forever and I slipped back into old habits.

How could I make a morning routine stick?

Despite the fact that I was waking up last minute and rushing out the door, I was still exhausted. I was tired when I got home and something needed to change. If someone like me can learn how to wake up early, so can you.

Let’s Start with Why I Wake Up Early

The Need to Work

I already started my day early as a teacher and I need to be at work by 7 am. My best time to work and write in the morning when I am clear and productive. You can see the conflict. If I was waking up at 6 am to leave by 6:45 then I had zero time to work or use my most productive time of the day.

I could just do my freelancing, art and writing when I came home from work right? Wrong. All the teachers out there will sympathize. When I come home from a long day at a rough school I am foggy, drained and have little creative energy left.

I truly envy the night owls who find their most productive time in the evenings.

Quiet Time

The mornings are quiet. I need this in order to work. I also enjoy a quiet morning with no music or TV. The neighbor dogs are not yapping and our animals are still snoozing.

Less Stress

When I get up early, I am less stressed about what I need to do, because I have already done it. When I get home in the afternoons I can walk the dogs, workout, make dinner, take out the trash, etc. I do not have to add more onto my To-Do list for the end of the day.

Eating

Eating breakfast has always been hard to do in the morning. If it was a perfect day, I would eat around 10 am after coffee and tea plus some lemon water.  At 10 am I am in the classroom attempting to entertain 32 students. Waking up early has allowed me time and a little more motivation to try and get breakfast in. (Not to mention sometimes the sunrise is killer)

Even Charles found his why for waking up early.

Turns out he was more productive too.

How Did I Wake Up Early?

So how did this non-early riser do it?

1. 8 Hours

I went to bed early and work up early. I do not do well without enough sleep. This means I cut out the extra hour of YouTube surfing and went to be earlier.

2. Wind Down Routine

In order to actually fall asleep earlier, I needed to create a wind-down routine to tell my body it was bedtime. This is easier now in the winter since darkness sets in at 4:30 pm. However, earlier in the year it was a bit more tricky.

A wind-down routine helped me get in the mode for bed and actually fall asleep when I was transitioning.

My wind down routine includes:

  • Drinking tea
  • Reading
  • No screen time for the last 20 minutes before bed
  • Turning off any bright light and leave on amber lights
  • Putting socks on to stay warm
  • I always shower at night, so this is also a way for me to relax

3. Exercise

Keeping exercise in my routine helps me to feel tired. This is more for sleep in general, but I sleep so well after a good workout. Recently I have been really into spin class, but in the past boot camp and cross-fit has all found their ways into my work out routine.

Yoga is a non-negotiable workout for me. I have been practicing yoga for many years and it has stayed in my routine for strength, flexibility and the mind-body connection.

4. No Snooze

The sweet comforting snooze button. Not pressing this means I had to build some serious self-control and will power.  Others will place the alarm clock across the room for the transition period. We have two alarms in our room. Our phones that play a soft piano song and our Phillips Sunrise Alarm Clock.

The Sunrise alarm clock made it on our list of best purchases ever made. Waking up to ‘natural’ light in the morning has made all the difference in actually getting out of bed early.  The clock simulates a sunrise, slowly waking you up prior to the soft sounds of your own phone alarm.

I love a slow wake-up and some stretches in bed, so the light alarm clock helps to reinforce this.

5. Have a Strong Why

I stated the reasons why I wake up this early. This gives me a solid reason. Just because you read it online or the ‘successful’ people do it, is not strong enough why. Write it down and define it. Do you need more time for yourself? Do you want to get in a workout?

6. Accountability

Get a pet or have your partner or friend in on this. Waking up early is highly encouraged by our animals who remind us when we should be out of bed and feeding them.

Having a plan or routine in place typically helps. Our bodies crave a routine and once we know what to do we can go through the motions as a way of waking up.

A Few More Thoughts:

  • Stay Realistic-you can start slow and not everyone has to get up at 4:30. Maybe 6:00 is a more realistic early morning for you
  • This is not for everyone-the night owls may find their most important time at night so you may not need the extra morning hours.
  • Keep your weekends-allow yourself to sleep in a bit on the weekends. Not 4 hours longer, but an hour or two can be beneficial in letting your body have some extra healing and replenishing time.

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