Let’s be completely honest: You’re here because you want to learn how to wake up early to study, but it’s not something you’re all that thrilled about. If you were thrilled, you would already be doing it. I’m here to give you some tips on how to get thrilled – a little nudge in the right direction if you will.
We all know during the early morning hours, the bed can be a bit of a battleground because, in the beginning, no one wants to get up any earlier than they have to. Getting up early to study is especially difficult for students because no one is making you get out of bed per se – unlike someone getting up to go to work who has the pressure to get up and be on time. You are aiming to get up early because you know it’s what you need to do to pass your classes and improve your financial situation in the future.
Anything you’re doing on your own will be more difficult than normal, and you need to keep that in mind. It will take some extra preparation to get a student such as yourself out of bed and ready to absorb study materials at an early hour. I recommend having patience with yourself as you train yourself to get up early to study.
Get Yourself Psyched Up
Have a heart to heart with yourself and make sure you understand why you are making the commitment to get up early to study. Make sure you are “all in” on this or else you’re going to struggle.
Get excited about getting up early and about the potential your future holds! Only you can be the captain of your ship, so take the wheel and do whatever it takes to get you where you want to be. After all, no one is going to do your studying for you.
Try Motivational Videos
The Be Inspired channel on YouTube has a ton of effective motivational videos that can help get your psyched up and ready to study early.
Get Excited Now so You Can Relax Later
Get up early and get it done so you can have more free time throughout the rest of the day. If you can manage to get up early and get all your studying done each morning, you will have lower stress levels and perform better on exams and other coursework. When I was a student, that was my biggest reason for rising early to study.
I am a naturally stressed out, anxious person, and getting up earlier than most of my classmates to study and get myself organized helped a lot to combat the stress and anxiety.
It Starts the Night Before
Here’s where the preparation aspect comes in. In order to be fully rested and still get up early, you have to prepare adequately the night before. This means a few things:
- Set a bedtime that is at least 8 hours before you want to wake up. It’s important to stick to that bedtime no matter what.
- Turn off or remove all electronic devices from your bedroom or sleeping area at least 1 hour before bedtime. This will help you get sleepy and not keep you up past your bedtime. The light from your devices affects your body’s ability to produce melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleepiness.
- Use an alarm that doesn’t irritate you like this one on Amazon. It has been my Holy Grail and secret weapon all in one ever since I got it. It’s worth every penny, I can promise you that. Remember to set your alarm the night before.
- Have all your books, notes, pens, and other study materials laid out next to your computer so they’re ready to go in the morning. That way, you won’t be fumbling around looking for what you need after you wake up.
Use the 5 Second Rule
The 5 Second Rule is
The 5 Second Rule is how I went from resisting and resenting getting up early to making early rising an automatic, full-blown habit that I enjoy as part of my morning routine.
For the record, I used to despise even just the thought of getting up early, much less actually doing it. I avoided early rising like the plague when I was younger. If someone woke me up earlier than I was ready to get up, I was angry and would complain about it the entire day.
So what is the 5 Second Rule anyway?
Just so it’s clear: I am not the creator of the 5 Second Rule. Mel Robbins is, but I was practicing a variation of it before I even knew she existed. She put a name and description to what I implemented intuitively.
The 5 Second Rule is essentially counting backward from 5 when your alarm goes off. When you reach 1, you robotically get up without allowing yourself to think. You count 5-4-3-2-1, and then sit up and get your feet on the floor as quickly as possible before you talk yourself out of it. This method is simple, but it works.
The problem most people have with closing the gap between wanting to get up early and physically getting up is all in the mind. The 5-4-3-2-1 countdown trick allows you to act (get up) before your brain kicks into gear and makes you hesitate, dread, tell yourself you’re tired, etc.
5 seconds is about the maximum amount of time you can wait before self-defeating thoughts start floating into your head, so don’t wait any longer than 5 seconds after your alarm goes off to get out of bed. Just get up and think later.
The 5 Second Rule is so simple, yet so powerful. Best of all, it works.
Mel Robbins wrote a whole book on the science behind why it works that you can check the best price on Amazon here, but to be honest, I’ve just given you all you need to know to get started using the 5 Second Rule for free.
Here it is again in a nutshell: Your alarm goes off, you count backward from 5, then you immediately get out of bed no matter what. Repeat that sequence day after day until it becomes an ingrained habit. The habit usually sticks after a couple months.
Shock Your System
Once you get out of bed after using the 5 Second Rule, go straight to the bathroom and splash cold water on your face 2 or 3 times. This is 100% certain to help you immediately be alert and ready to focus on your studies.
If you prefer cold showers (although I don’t know anybody who does), then now would be a good time to do that.
Do whatever it takes to get yourself wide awake so that getting up isn’t a waste of time and energy. You woke up this early to get in some serious study time, so make sure you are alert and ready to roll.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
If you wake up hungry
Even if you don’t have much of an appetite first thing in the morning, it is a good idea to eat something small so you have an extra boost of energy. Fruit is great for energizing the mind and body.
Make It Quick and Easy
Make your breakfast quick and easy to prepare so you can get right to your study session. Plan or prep it the night before if you can.
I often take all the things I need to make my oatmeal (except the fresh fruit) and lay them out on the kitchen counter the night before. This saves me the trouble of scrambling around the kitchen grabbing everything I need, as I tended to be a bit groggy, flustered, and absent-minded when I first started waking up early.
Whatever you decide to eat, make it super easy
Form or Join a Study Group for Some Accountability
If you have friends, roommates, or classmates who would also like to wake up early to study, form a study group. If a study group already exists, join it.
Just the fact that other people are counting on you to get up at a certain time will be enough to get you to do it. It’s called accountability and it works very well for students and older adults alike.
It works similar to a job where you feel obligated to be at a certain place at a certain time, and so you “just do it.” I will point out this is the fear-based version of the 5 Second Rule where you shut off your brain in order to get up, but in the case of a study group, you’re doing it so you don’t let other people down. There’s nothing wrong with this if it’s what works for you.
Keep This in Mind…
Participating in a study group will work in the short term to get you up early, but don’t be reliant on it long term. Ultimately, it’s up to you to develop healthy, productive habits for your own life. The 5 Second Rule works best for that based on 15 years of my own experience battling early mornings.
One thing you must make sure of is that the people in your study group are there to study and exchange class-related ideas. If others in your group are acting immature and messing around, you are not going to get any studying done – and all that effort you are putting into building an early rising habit for the purpose of studying will have been for naught.
Give yourself something to look forward to that will taste delicious and invigorate your senses, but save it for later in the day and only reward yourself with it if you actually got up on time. Looking forward to a pastry or some other food you enjoy later in the day is a surefire way to get you motivated to get up early and get your studying done.
This would technically classify as a bribe, but when you’re trying to get up early to study and have been struggling to do so, go with what works.
Maybe I’m a simpleton, but rewarding myself with food or drinks I love always worked to get my lazy butt out of bed in the early days when I struggled with mornings.
I still sometimes use this as an excuse to get up early on weekends when I don’t have to get up at 5:30 or 6 am, but do it anyway because I look forward to treating myself to an elaborate breakfast that I don’t have time for during the work week. Bacon always gets me up and I’m not embarrassed to admit it! 🙂
Obviously, you won’t be able to “treat yourself” every single day, but how about once or a couple times a week? Feel free to use this tip as liberally as possible in the early days when you’re still building the habit of getting up early to study.
Getting up early to study is not easy, but with determination and shutting off your brain by means of the 5 Second Rule, it can be done. The reward of an improved life in the near future because of your dedicated studying is well worth the sacrifice you are making now to wake up early.
I used to hate waking up early with a passion, but now I can genuinely say I love it. I never thought I’d live to see the day!
Who knows, maybe someday soon you, too, will learn to love getting up early like I do and stop viewing it as a sacrifice!