[Answered] The Best Time to Wake Up Early in the Morning!

[Answered] The Best Time to Wake Up Early in the Morning!

When I first embarked on my personal journey of waking up in the wee hours of the morning, I had more questions than answers. My very first question was the same as yours now: “What is the best time to wake up early in the morning?”

So to answer your question… The ideal time to get up in the morning varies from person to person (which I will discuss in a bit more detail if you’d like to keep reading), but for most people, I’ve found the best time to wake up is somewhere between 5AM and 7AM.

A year ago, I was new to the early morning gig and needed some guidance, so I understand how confusing pinpointing a wake-up time can be and why you would ask this question.

With that said, hopefully I can help you figure out the best wake up time for you.

The most important thing is that we establish a habit, not get tripped up on the details. If you’re now getting up earlier than you used to – celebrate this victory (even if it’s not quite as early as you are working toward)! You will get where you want to be if you keep at it long enough.

The best time to wake up is the time that allows you to get the amount of sleep that is optimal for you; it is a highly personal time that you will have to figure out for yourself – and it might not end up being between 5 and 7am after all!

I know some people who have delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD) and legitimately can’t wake up before 10 or 11 in the morning. If that’s you, I recommend finding employment that allows you to stick to your later wake-up time.

Just make sure this is genuinely a delayed circadian rhythm and not just laziness. 🙂 If you’re not sure whether you have DSPD or not, give early rising a go for a couple months to see where your daily energy levels are.

Take It Slow…

During that first week of early rising, I randomly chose 5:30AM as my best time to wake up because a lot of successful CEOs get up at that time. And yep, you guessed it: That didn’t work out too well for me in the beginning.

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In fact, it was a crucial mistake. I was striving for too much too soon, and my body wasn’t ready for it. I ended up getting frustrated and struggled to keep my eyes open at work. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, I’m still a little shocked I didn’t just throw in the towel during that first week.

I recommend initially choosing a wake-up time that is 30 minutes earlier than your current wake-up time.

One does not simply start jumping out of bed at 5:30AM when he or she (me in that case) had been reluctantly rolling out of bed at 8:45 to be to work by 9AM for years. Yikes.

Change takes time and patience. By time, I’m talking possibly a couple months or more. Maybe six months even… Yeah, seriously. I really had to work hard and stick with it.

If you want to take a look at my blog post about how to sleep less and have more energy, you can read about how long it took me to figure out how many hours of sleep per night are ideal for me.

What if there’s a huge gap between the time you wake up now and when you want to wake up?

To close this gap, you’ll want to ease into your wake up time like I did. I found it very effective to gradually move back my wake up time by 15 minute increments each week until I reached my preferred time. (Yep, I am now easily waking up at 5:30AM, no problem…) 🙂 Trust me though, it took several weeks of discomfort, but it’s worth it in the end.

You’ll have to do some experimenting to figure out what works best for your body and biological clock. It’s important to never work against nature. If you are absolutely unable to function after weeks of gradually pushing your wakeup time to 5:30AM, then that time is probably too early for you. No big deal. Just respect your body and find a later time.

I recommend that you not get too attached to a certain wake-up time. Just because 5:30 AM might sound impressive when bragging to others doesn’t necessarily make it ideal for your body. This isn’t about other people; this is about you. Remember that.

In the beginning, any time earlier than you’re getting up currently is early enough – especially at first when your willpower is limited and the action of getting out of your bed early is not yet a habit. You can always stack habits later, which we will talk about in future posts. For now, be satisfied and pat yourself on the back for any small progress you make toward your goal.

Be Consistent with Your Wake Up Time… (No Snoozing the Alarm Clock!)

The actual time you wake up is not nearly as important as being consistent. If you choose 7AM, then great, but make sure you are getting up at 7 every single day. Not 7:15AM one day, 7:30AM the next, and 7:05AM the following. Make it 7AM sharp. Every. Single. Day. Even weekends.

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As soon as that alarm sounds, get your butt up. Don’t think about it. Just get up, put your feet on the floor, and walk to the bathroom to splash some water on your face and do other bathroom things.

In a short time, your body will thank you for this consistency by gently awakening you at about that same time with no alarm clock. Yes, the human body really is that amazing.

Be Consistent with Your Bedtime

I’m sure you saw this one coming, but I’ll state the obvious anyway: You must establish a consistent bedtime each and every night so that you can get up easier in the morning. The fact remains that most people still need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. 

You know how the Benjamin Franklin quote goes:

Early to bed, and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Franklin knew what he was talking about.

Here are a few tips to help you ease into bedtime, well… easier:

  • Count backward by 8 or 8.5 hours from your wake up time to calculate when bedtime should be. This gives yourself adequate time to settle into your bed and fall asleep.
  • Put away all your electronics at least 1 hour prior to bedtime. If you can manage 2 hours prior, even better. Preferably, put them away in another room or at least not next to your bed or within arm’s reach.
  • Set an alarm on your phone or tablet that reminds you when to put away your devices – and promptly put them away without hesitation.
  • Read a real paper book with a mellow reading lamp or meditate until you fall asleep.

Small Wins Add Up to a Big Accomplishment

Getting out of bed even 15 minutes earlier than you normally would in order to have a less rushed morning or to set aside some Me Time is a small win that will make you feel great. You can always build on that small win over the next week by waking up 30 minutes earlier instead of the 15 minutes earlier you accomplished this week. Then it will be 45 minutes earlier the following week.

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See how this works? Baby steps…

Don’t get too demanding of yourself by planning a million things you want to get done immediately upon rising. Tackling the to-do list will come naturally with time. You’ll add onto it and actually get things done as soon as a genuine love of the early mornings develops.

At the same time, it’s key to still demand time consistency of yourself (the same bedtime and wake up time for a week) from the very beginning.

In no time, you’ll be able to look back and realize that you now wake up early with no extra effort on your part… almost like magic. Except it’s not magic. It’s hard work and dedication.

Until getting up early becomes an ingrained habit, your best bet is going to be to celebrate the simple fact that you got up when you said you would. Don’t let yourself down, but at the same time, set mini goals that are easy to complete early in the AM. 

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Initially, have no other early morning goal except enjoying the quiet beauty of the morning sunrise, which is a reward in and of itself. If the sunrise doesn’t inspire you, then find something to wake up to that does. Even the simple act of waking up early, making your bed, making tea, and sitting quietly can feel like an accomplishment to a former night owl. When you look at it this way, the time you wake up is irrelevant. It’s the new quality time you get to spend with yourself that is important.

The best plan of action is to just start waking up earlier than you currently do. Fine-tune your wake-up time later.

I'm the owner of WhyGetUpEarly.com and an enthusiastic early riser. Let's discuss why that is... and maybe I can make you a believer in magical mornings as well!

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