We’re not going to discuss the obvious tips to make getting up early easier. You know, the ones that everyone and their grandmother have heard a million times: Go to bed at the same time every night, put electronics away at least an hour prior to bedtime, don’t hit the snooze button, put your alarm across the room, put your phone in another room, blah blah blah. We all know those tips, so I’m not going to waste your time.
Getting up early before the rest of society starts to stir is both an art and a science, but mostly science. Being creative with your morning routine is the artsy part and the ability to drag yourself out of bed with a smile on your face in order to perform that routine is the science part.
Here are 5 ideas to make getting up early easier that you might not have thought of yet:
1 – Stop Consuming Caffeine
For this first tip, I’m going to drop a truth bomb on you that might be a bit painful. If you want to make getting up early easier, stop drinking your precious caffeine. You don’t need it. In fact, I dare say it’s doing you more harm than good.
I stumbled upon this hack by dumb luck in a desperate attempt to treat my depression and anxiety. It turns out that it did that and so much more.
Most people swear that coffee or caffeinated tea is the elixir of winners and the secret to their success, but I beg to differ. As someone who has suffered greatly at the hand of both depression and anxiety separately yet simultaneously, I can vouch for the fact that caffeine, when consumed regularly and at any point during the day, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
It gives you a nice energy lift in the short term, but you always hit a brick wall soon enough and will require more and more of it to get the same effect. Some people consume caffeine simply to feel normal. Yikes.
Caffeine is a drug, my friend, and it does not do those of us with depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, or adrenal fatigue any favors. Heck, it doesn’t do anyone any favors. Get your antioxidants and energy from other sources (like fruits and vegetables) and stop praying to the phony caffeine god.
Removing caffeine was the miracle I had been waiting for…
Within two weeks of stopping my consumption of caffeine, my circadian rhythm reset itself. I went from hoping and dreaming of being able to get up early… to actually being able to wake up refreshed and eager for the day at 5:30AM. Most of the time, I don’t even need an alarm (although I do still use one, just in case.) Most days, I wake up on my own around the same time.
I attribute removing caffeine from my system for a full 30 days to much of my success in transforming into an eager, early rising productivity machine. In case you were wondering, my depression and anxiety have completely disappeared after ditching caffeine, too.
The two weeks of absolute hell I went through during the caffeine withdrawal phase was totally worth it. The headaches, body aches, mental cloudiness, and fatigue I went through sucked at the time, but paved the way for me to accomplish my long-time goal of getting up early. You have no idea how long I had been wanting to wake up early, ready to face the world and work on my side business… It was more than a decade!
Quit caffeine before committing to waking up early…
I highly recommend eliminating all caffeine for 30 days BEFORE starting on your journey of getting up early so that your circadian rhythm is reset and not working against you. Like me, you might find that you’rea morning person after all. Sometimes you find that you don’t know yourself as well as you thought. 🙂
FYI – nowadays, I very occasionally (every couple weeks or so) drink an iced green tea or hot chocolate, but never during the workweek and never after 12 noon. During that initial 30-day detox period, I didn’t touch any caffeine, not even chocolate or “decaf” tea. Even decaf tea and coffee contain small amounts of caffeine.
It’s important to note that I never drink coffee, so I don’t know how good or bad it is when consumed occasionally. It’s probably OK as long as it doesn’t cause you to fall off the wagon and start drinking it daily again. Similar to alcohol, use your good judgment with coffee. Tea has less caffeine content, so it’s not going to affect you as much.
You might also consider yerba mate for an occasional caffeinated drink or as an alternative to coffee. My 15-year-old son likes to drink yerba mate sometimes and it doesn’t make him jittery
2 – Wake Up Early More Easily (and More Naturally) with a Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock
This baby is my secret weapon. Words simply cannot express how much I love my sunrise alarm clock! I tried cheaper ones and they always malfunctioned or had an annoying wake up sound. Either way, they ended up in the recycle bin. Then I received this Philips model (cheapest Amazon link I could track down) as a birthday gift and it is exactly what I needed. Best gift ever!
The great thing about waking up to an alarm that is designed to simulate the sunrise is that it gently wakes you up to the sound of chirping birds and an energizing yellow light that can be adjusted in intensity.
Chirping birds make me happy. An obnoxious, airhorn military wannabe alarm… not so much. Already, I’m off to a better start to my day simply by getting rid of traditional alarm sounds that used to play from my phone. Nothing puts me in a cranky mood faster than waking up to a blaring alarm in the middle of a deep, peaceful non-REM sleep cycle.
3 – Get Your Head in the Right Place
Let’s face it: You could take the task of getting up early, put it on a silver platter and wrap it in a pretty bow, so to speak, to make it stupid easy, but you still won’t get up if you don’t have a good attitude about it. No matter how gung-ho you are the night before about starting a new, exciting morning routine that involves getting up earlier, if deep down you resent getting up early or want to do it to please someone else, you aren’t going to do it long term.
Trust me, I know because I used to be that person. In the early morning hours when I lay in bed, the very thought of sacrificing sleep got me angry no matter how great of an idea it was the night before. If anyone woke me up early, I would get irate. It was truly ridiculous and not something I’m proud to admit.
For years, I’ve loved the thought of getting up at dawn to chase my dreams and de-stress my life, but when it came time to take action and get out of bed, you would always find me snoozing until the last possible second before work. I only got out of bed because I didn’t want to get fired – otherwise I would’ve slept even longer until 11 or 12 like I did as a teenager. I was motivated by fear instead of purpose. When my attitude changed, my life did, too.
4 – If You Can’t Get Your Head in the Right Place, Do This Instead
This tip is a variation of fake it until you make it. Some people simply can’t control how they’re motivated or what motivates them – especially when trying to establish a new habit that seems difficult (like getting up early). And that’s OK. I was in that same boat, so I get it.
If you can’t convince your brain to stop making you hesitate when the alarm goes off, don’t give your brain the opportunity to yap its big mouth. You can force your early morning dream crushing brain (which BTW is completely separate from your very useful, rational and creative brain that makes an appearance after you completely wake up) shut up by taking no more than 5 seconds to sit up and put your feet on the floor.
Those dreams I had of early morning happiness and productivity started to get flushed down a metaphorical toilet until one day when I finally realized the only way to stop the madness was to just get up early without thinking about it. So that’s what I did. I got up automatically upon hearing my alarm and didn’t allow myself to think about anything until I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth.
Later, after doing some research, I came across a book written by Mel Robbins called The 5 Second Rule and realized this concept is what I had intuitively already been practicing in order to change my behavior. I wasn’t counting backward from 5 like Mel, but close enough. As I thumbed through the book, I was fascinated to read about the science behind the 5 Second Rule and why it’s effective.
As it turns out, all the motivational talk in the world pales in comparison to the effectiveness of just getting up first and thinking afterward. Who knew it could really be so simple? Simple changed my life.
5 – Don’t Overwhelm Yourself First Thing in the Morning
Some people have elaborate morning routines (good for them), but that’s the result of stacking habits over the course of months and years. Of course, people rarely mention that small detail in so-called expert articles, so be careful what you read about this subject online. Don’t let the elaborate, flashy routines of CEOs and productivity experts intimidate you. Most importantly, don’t let their
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Yes, have a plan of what to do when waking up early, but don’t get overly ambitious (at least not at first.) You will be stacking habits one by one, slowly. Start by planning out some simple, relaxing activities you can do easily. Getting up early is supposed to be easy and rewarding, not stressful and obligatory. Remember, you are doing this because you want to get more out of life, not because your boss demands it of you.
For example, if you want to write in the early morning hours, don’t start out with a plan to write 1,000 words every morning. Start out with something stupid easy (but still specific and actionable) that would be impossible to mess up – like one sentence. When you get up, commit to writing just one sentence. Chances are you will write more than one sentence because thoughts tend to flow freely at that point, but even if you don’t, you will feel an immediate sense of accomplishment and satisfaction regardless because you did what you said you would do: you wrote one sentence.
Because you got a reward (a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction), you are extremely likely to repeat the process the next morning. One day you will wake up and realize you have successfully learned how to get up early – and that you absolutely love it.