It’s difficult to be a night owl in a world that caters to and honors early risers. The school day begins at 8:00 a.m. 9-5ers all get up about the same hour. Even if you work in cemeteries or have a flexible schedule, most businesses and banks close in the afternoon.
With the exception of 24-hour convenience stores, petrol stations, and night school, it appears as the whole world operates on an early-bird schedule.
Is there any hope for us night owls who consider waking up at 12 a.m. a major miracle? Is there anything other than the old adage of “early to bed, early to rise” that works for waking up early?
Get up and shine!
What It Really Means to Be a Morning Person
Oriented around an early “productive” start to the day, morning people are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (although they, like everyone else, aren’t immune to wake-up grogginess, aka sleep inertia), ready to go from just about the jump, even when the sun isn’t fully up yet.
Society’s daily clock averages 24 hours. But if you are an early chronotype, your clock is shorter than 24 hours and skews toward an earlier sleep and wake time.
Being a Morning Person: The Chronobiology
For simplicity, we often group chronotypes (i.e., natural tendencies for sleeping and waking) into early birds and night owls. But the reality is that science measures chronotypes on a continuous scale, with 351 genetic variations associated with being a morning person alone.
Your chronotype is specific to your genetics, age, and relative light exposure. The Center for Environmental Therapeutics provides a survey for helping you find your chronotype.
Three factors determine when you go to bed and wake up:
- Your circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock) interacts with sleep homeostasis (the process in which sleep pressure builds up during wakefulness) to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. To learn more about this two-system interaction, check out the Two Laws of Sleep in our Sleep Guide.
- Light exposure is the most significant factor that starts and stops your circadian clock.
- Melatonin is a sleep hormone naturally produced in your body that predictably follows exposure to light (which is why light matters so much). That said, melatonin can also be used as a supplement to help influence your circadian rhythm.
There are 13 proven methods for getting up early that actually work.
1. Ask Yourself Why You Want To Wake Up Early In The First Place
Let’s be honest for a moment. You won’t be able to persuade yourself to get up early just because. It’s not as simple as turning off the lights and retiring to bed early to learn how to get up early. It’s also vital to consider the psychology underlying it.
Ask yourself this question before you go to bed tonight: “What would I get if I woke up early?” Make sure you actually want anything you say since you’ll use it to persuade yourself to get out of bed when your alarm goes off.
2. Apply Early To Bed Early to Rise In Increments
Train your body to look forward to sleeping. Yes, by sleeping and waking up at the same time every day, you can achieve this. If you’re a nite owl, tho, sleeping in at 8 a.m. every day won’t help.
It’s also impossible to wake up at 6 p.m. and then attempt furiously to fall asleep by 12 a.m. Instead of sleeping at the same time every day, such as 8 a.m., sleep 15 minutes earlier and wake up 15 minutes earlier.
Unlike other methods for waking up early, this one is particularly sustainable because it just requires a slight adjustment. You won’t notice the 15-minute time change!
The next day, you can move your sleep back 15 minutes, resulting in a 30 minute earlier wake-up time. If you keep doing this, you’ll become a pro.
3. Manipulate The Environment To Your Advantage
Block all sources of light, including the small red light that indicates your television is switched off. Put your electronics away and turn off the television at least one hour before bedtime, as the blue light from these screens interferes with the production of melatonin, the hormone that governs your sleep cycle.
Use an actual book and a night light if you wish to read. Maintain a pleasant temperature in your bedroom. If you live in a busy area, consider insulating your room or downloading a calming sound app to block out the noise.
4. No Napping After 7 Hours Of Waking Up
If you’re tired, take a nap as soon as possible—no later than 7 hours after you wake up. After that 7-hour period, napping will throw off your sleep rhythm, causing you to sleep late and wake up late.
5. Go Camping For A Week
Researchers discovered that if you spend a week without artificial light, you can synchronize your body’s sleep rhythm with the dawn and sunset.
Try going camping for a week and leaving all of your electronics at home, or at the very least not using them after sundown. There are no torches allowed, either, because whether you’re drowsy or not, the lights must be turned off! You can be an early riser after 7 days.
6. Read Fiction Instead of Reading Self-Help Books, News Or Emailing
An email will remind you of work, the news will worry you out, and self-help books will energize and stimulate your mind, but none of these will help you sleep.
Instead, read fiction, especially short pieces that don’t pique your interest or books that you’ve already read.
7. Create A Wind Down Routine
Your body’s sleep trigger is what you do before night, so keep these activities calm and stick to them like a pattern.
For example, before bedtime, you could take a cold shower and then read for 15 minutes. If you adhere to this schedule for long enough, your body will learn that these activities signal the end of the day and that it’s time to unwind.
It’s also crucial to complete these tasks in the same order and at around the same time each day.
8. Eat A Heavy Lunch
Dr. Kenny Pang, an ENT who specializes in sleep disorders, recommends eating a large lunch, a little lighter breakfast, and dinner.
9. Invest In Smart Lights Or Automatic Curtain Opener
When you wake up to a bright, sunny room, you will feel less groggy and more attentive. Purchase an automated curtain opener and set it to open the drapes at least 30 minutes before you intend to wake up.
If your bedroom does not have a window or if your window’s view is obscured, you can also utilize a smart light, such as.
10. Trick Your Brain To Get Up
When your alarm goes off, what is your first reaction? Isn’t it true that you can just hit snooze and go back to sleep? You can use the snooze button for this advice, but instead of going back to sleep, get up—but only for 10 minutes or however long the snooze is set.
An inverted snooze is what it’s called. Rather than forcing yourself to get up straight away, barter with yourself and tell yourself, “Stick it out.” It’ll only take ten minutes.” It’s up to you what you do with those ten minutes, but you can’t go back to bed—or sleep on the sofa.
You can open the windows, make a cup of coffee, or watch TV. When your alarm clock goes off again, you’ll be fully awake and unlikely to use the snooze button.
11. Use Your Pet As An Alarm Clock
Animals make excellent alarm clocks, especially if their feeding time is scheduled early in the morning. They’ll pound on your door and climb in your bed to wake you up until you give them food since they’re consistent, noisy, and persistent.
Of course, if you love your pets, you’ll find this adorable, but some of you may find it irritating at first, especially if you’re not used to waking up to such a commotion.
12. Don’t Allow Your Brain To Deceive You
If you’re a night owl, your brain will most likely reject any attempts to wake up early by convincing you that sleeping in is preferable. Don’t surrender! You’ll never be an early bird if you let your brain rationalize with you.
13. Resist The “5 More Minutes” Urge
You wake up 5 minutes before your alarm, by some cruel twist of fate. So, what exactly do you do? Isn’t it true that you should sleep for the remaining 5 minutes? Wrong.
Returning to bed may not be worth the extra 5 minutes because it may put you in a deeper sleep cycle, making it more difficult to wake up when your alarm goes off. That’s why when individuals click snooze and go back asleep for another 5-15 minutes, they think the time has flown by.
Are you a night owl trying to make it in a world of early risers? Take a look at these suggestions and see how they work for you.
Don’t give up if you’ve tried everything, including everything on this list and heaps of advice from a sleep professional. Nobody said being an early bird necessitated getting up at 5 a.m.