When you wake up in the morning and you hear your alarm scream for you to wake up, do you lay in your bed making excuses or try to convince yourself to hit that snooze button? If you said yes to this question, you are dooming yourself from the get go, but we will get back to this in a second.
There are a few habits you are going to need to form if you want to become an early riser. Being up earlier in the day gives you more functional day time to be productive. Being more productive leads to a healthier and wealthier life; something most people chase after all their lives.
I originally learned how to become an early riser while on a cross Country drive in a motor home with my dad and grandpa. They both woke up habitually at 7am every day the entire trip, and as a result of their noise, I also was awoken. When I got back from the trip, my sleeping patterns remained the same for quite some time and I found it extremely easy to wakeup at 7am compared to me previous wakeup time of 9am.
With that said the first step to becoming an early riser is picking a time that you would like to wake up at, every day of the week. This means no making excuses, you wakeup at this time every day of the week, rain or shine! The next step, which may be hard if you are used to hitting the snooze button in the morning, is waking up immediately when your alarm starts to go off. This takes major discipline at first! Don't let yourself lie in bed coming up with reasons why you should sleep seven or eight more minutes; lift the blankets up, sit up, stretch and get out of bed. The longer you stay in bed contemplating, the more likely you are to stay there! Once you get used to this habit, you will wonder why you used to waste so much time smacking the snooze button.
Now, you are probably wondering at what time you should go to bed to correspond to your new found early rising time. What is the answer to this question? Go to sleep when you are tired! So many people try to go to sleep when they are wide awake just because they think they need 8 hours of sleep. This is ridiculous; chances are you will just lay in your bed being an insomniac. If you aren't tired, don't waste your time; stay up until you are actually tired!
Your body does not require the exact same amount of sleep every night. Some days are more strenuous than others, and when your body is tired, it will let you know and tell you to go to bed earlier. Some days you may get tired at 10pm and other days you may not get tired until midnight, the idea is to get in tune with your body and give it what it needs. Unless you are driving, you should not try to fight off your bodies urge to sleep, at least if you actually want to be successful at becoming an early bird!
Another thing that may help if you find yourself not getting tired is do a low impact activity. Avoid late night exercise as well as computers or televisions as they give off a lot of light; pickup a novel or a magazine and try reading for twenty to thirty minutes when you think you are nearing sleep time. If your eyes start getting heavy, put the book down and climb into bed; chances are you will fall asleep within a few minutes.
If it takes longer than a few minutes to fall asleep, you aren't really tired.
You will probably notice that after a few weeks of starting your early riser regime that you are actually sleeping an hour less or more a night and actually feel more refreshed in the morning. Imagine all the things you could do with an extra 7 hours a week? That's enough time to get incredibly fit, do all the house work, cook food or a number of other things.
If you've read my article, and are thinking about trying this during the week, but not employing it on the weekend, you will probably not find success. Truly conditioning your body to being happy waking up early takes dedication, and you probably won't ever fully adapt if you don't keep things in tact on the weekends too. I have actually planned to sleep in a few times on the weekend after implementing this regime but wind up waking up when my alarm would have normally gone off anyways since my body thinks that's when its time to get moving.
So to sum up, if you want to become an early riser you need to follow these easy steps:
1. Pick a time to wake up everyday, seven days a week
2. Wake up immediately when your alarm goes off (no hitting the snooze button)
3. Don't go to bed until you are physically tired
4. Enjoy your new found time
Now go to your bedroom and set your alarm for tomorrow!
They say that the early bird gets the worm, so what are you waiting for? Go out there and catch that worm!