This morning I started off the day by stripping the bed, jumping on the exercise bike, and sorting through a pile of papers that have been sitting there way too long. I surprised myself. That’s stuff I usually have to push myself to accomplish, any time of day. I haven’t been getting up at 4.30 on the weekend, and this morning is the first day of a new week (when I thought I’d have the hardest time) but I suspect some kind of adaptation is happening. Anyway, one of the forums I follow had a post asking about tips on how to wake up early, so I racked my brains – such of them as are also awake with me this morning – and put together this quick list of the best tricks I’ve learnt so far. Can’t believe it’s coming up to 2 weeks already!
- Routine. First thing in the morning, I chant “ABCDE” – A is for “Arise” (ie get up instantly, see below); B is for “Bed” (make it, so you can’t climb back in); C is for “Clean” (Shower etc); D is for “Dress” and E is for “Eat”. Sometimes I throw exercise in between B & C, sometimes I eat after the shower while I’m drying off, but I don’t have to think about A and B – by the time I’m awake enough to think, they’re done. That’s the trick, really – train yourself to react instantly to the alarm and you’ll be standing up with an already made bed before your mind gets up enough to beg for five more minutes. At that stage, it’s easy to say no.
- Planning. Have as much laid out as you can the night before, but also know exactly what you intend to do first when you get up. This is similar to the last one – you want to be able to move straight into doing it without having to think, because for the first little while, you won’t be!
- Light. Your brain tells you to wake up via hormones, which it starts sending out when it gets light. Look out the window, or if you can afford it, get a dawn simulator alarm clock. I can tell you, my boyfriend hates mine, because it’s all but impossible to sleep through – even without noise! (It also makes daylight saving a LOT easier)
- Go easy on food & drink the night before. You don’t want to go to bed on a full stomach, and you definitely don’t want coffee or alcohol in your system, or you won’t sleep deeply enough to rest properly. I accidentally gave up coffee shortly after I started this, and I’ve noticed I’m sleeping much better without it. Even if you don’t want to go that far, give yourself at least 5 hrs without it before you go to bed the night before, and finish your eating off at least 3 hours before, so there’s no digestion or stimulation going on.
- If you have to get up early, but can’t get to bed 8 hours beforehand, try to fit in a half hour “nanna nap” the day before. You’d be surprised how much it helps. If you can, allow for one in the afternoon you’ve had to get up for, to catch yourself up a bit. No more than an hour, but half an hour is best.
- Still feeling drowsy? An apple is supposed to be a better wake-up aid than a cup of coffee. I’ve tried it, and yes, it does work better. The other trick to get the brain cells going when the yawns set in is to find a quiet place and bounce up and down for 30 seconds. Sounds stupid, I know, but just try it and you’ll be surprised…
The air really does smell better first thing, and watching a sunrise is a joy in itself, so Happy Early Rising!