As you might already know, over the past few months I’ve been experimenting with techniques to help rid me of a life-long problem… not being able to rip my sorry arse away from my soft, comfy bed sheets each morning (did I just make that sound as though I shit the bed??).
I’ve had the ups and downs and off days and hectic party weekends throwing me out of sync as I’ve gone along, but I’ve noted every single thing I’ve found out along the way… and it’s all here.
The plan was to learn to rise early every single day (which is what I did for the first six weeks)… and what you’ll learn here will make it possible for you to do that… but for me, getting up at the crack of dawn every single day is just not realistic with my lifestyle. On a weekend, I sometimes like to party until around the same time I’d get up during the week. Obviously I knew this from the word go, but I wanted to know the exact method to get up every morning at the same time… on demand. So I figured it out.
Don’t be alarmed!
Whether you want to be an early riser every single day or just some, like I did, you need to make a few weeks commitment to do it every day. This is to teach your mind and body that they can do it. Once you have it down, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of getting up early whenever you want/need to. So…
First, do these:
Don’t go to bed until you’re tired… v. Important.
Aim to wake up (set the alarm) at the same time every day.
Have a reason to get up. Whether it’s something to do, a nice cereal, a nice coffee, a schedule, a magazine to read etc.
For productivity purposes, have a list of things to do, pre-written the night before. Try to make the first thing on the list something good, as per above, for extra persuasion.
Keep well hydrated and eat reasonably well during the day so you’re body isn’t suffering physically when you wake up.
Keep your alarm (and that damn snooze button) out of arms reach.
As soon as you wake up, whilst still laying in bed, have a huge stretch. Stand up and treat yourself to another.
If you live somewhere not very warm, have a dressing gown or something similar at the side of the bed, or maybe set your heating to come on when you get up… it’s far too easy to stay in bed where it’s nice and warm and comfy. You won’t be glad you did… believe.
Be careful of what you eat for the four hours before you turn in. I’d say scrap crap stodgy, carby and fatty type foods like pasta, bread, rice, chips, and anything that tends to leave your stomach feeling like an over-inflated basketball. Instead, opt for fruit, veg and salad type stuff.
Notice which methods work best for you after first trying them all.
Make sure you are able to use those every morning, to make the best progress.
If possible, share the commitment with someone you live with. Put a bit of pressure on yourself to keep it up.
This might seem like a lot of work at first (and it does) but you won’t regret it in the morning when you wake up feeling strong, motivated, inspired and healthy. Beats waking up feeling like swollen, asthmatic road kill with dry, puffed up eyes that you can’t open properly and breath that could take the paint off a picture!
A couple of late nights and sleep-ins over the last couple of days but the late night is more like 2am than 5am like it used to be and a sleep-innow is still getting up two hours earlier than I used to wake up normally! This is definite progress!
Since I gave up smoking my energy levels have increased and I’m sure that’s making a difference to my sleeping pattern a bit. I have more energy so find it a bit harder again to sleep at night but I’m waking up feeling much healthier now.
Not sure if I mentioned this and don’t fancy re-reading my posts so I’ll mention it now anyway. After I joined the gym a few weeks ago, I had trained twice and there was a flood from the premises above and so it was closed until yesterday. Now it’s open and I’m training again, that should hopefully help me sleep a bit earlier.
The change is happening and the formula for sleeping well and getting up early whilst feeling mint is starting to come together. There is definitely a replicable method here for people like me, with years of bad sleep conditioning under their belt. For the rest of you who have never had any problems… stop being smug. We can’t all be perfect!
Just a quick update to point out that the last few mornings I have woken up at the right time without an alarm being set. Strange how quickly this has happened really. I thought it was going to be another few weeks yet.
Drank too much wine this weekend so I’m not counting on waking up naturally and feeling spritely in the morning. Who cares though… it’s the time of years fault, not mine. Getting merry in December is the law I think.
Note to self: check Wikipedia or similar at some point to see if getting merry in December is actually the law.
Over the last couple of days I have failed to sleep at a decent hour and wake up at the time I would like to. The reason for this is pretty obvious to me, I knew what I was doing but did it anyway. Got caught in the moment, you know what it’s like.
I stayed up far later than I really wanted to, around 5am, because I was researching, writing and learning new stuff all day. I should have stopped at around 8pm and allowed my mind to relax before going to bed to sleep. Being an animal of obsession, I ended up closing my laptop at about 3am, then reading until I had wound down and become a sleepy, drooling mess doomed to a late awakening and that groggy feeling of defeat! Smart.
On the bright side, I got a fair bit done and it looks like I’ve rectified it now. I thought getting to sleep earlier again would end up being a task and a half, but last night I switched off early and gave my mind the chill out time it needed before it got too late. Now it’s not even 6am yet and I’m up and raring to go and I never even set an alarm.
It’s early days yet anyway, I expected a few hiccups, I’ve got years of programming to undo here.
Had loads on over the last few days, all good. Now back to the updates.
I had a word with myself yesterday. I was thinking about why I haven’t done this before. Why on earth have I wasted so many hours in my pit when I could have been doing something better? Why has it been so much easier all of a sudden now? What changed?
Then I realised… there’re three reasons -
I’m keeping a log of what’s working and what isn’t
I’m using that info to make progress
I’m broadcasting my progress so it makes it more difficult to lose. It’d be embarrassing
That’s the difference. Three more for the formula to getting up when you want, not when your warm, snuggly half asleep self thinks you should get up.
Weekend and parties out of the way and it’s back to the sleeping log. Not entirely sure yet about any impact my new gym/exercise routine might have. Aside from already being well documented, it seems to be fairly obvious that it’ll help. The number of hours sleep you get each day is not nearly as important as how healthy that sleep is. A heightened overall fitness level will obviously allow for steadier, healthier breathing throughout the night, allowing a person to awake feeling much more refreshed.
Now I have pretty much nailed the getting up to the alarm thing, I’ll keep it consistant, developing the habit and allow my body clock to do its natural thing. Meanwhile, the next step I’m going to be working on is enhancing the quality of my sleep. This will take into account specific foods and eating times. I’ve already noticed that if I eat pasta late at night (which I do a lot), I feel much more lethargic the following morning.
Much of what I’m actually doing now, I think I already knew was the way forward. It’s all about just making the decision and sticking with it. Hopefully by me sharing these experiences with you in almost real time, you can use the knowledge I share with you while it’s fresh in my mind.
There will be a compressed summary of all the best info, practical tips and fail-safes to follow in the near future. The difference to my extra time and productivity over the last week has been immense. Making it the best thing I’ve done lately.
Another trick up the sleeve. Another string to the bow. Another life skill to help build a bigger, better and brighter future. Boss all areas of life… that’s the plan.
Overslept by a little bit today but feeling particularly good. Well I did wake up at the right time, but stayed in bed because my room was freezing! I’ll just stay under the duvet while I pluck up the courage to brave the cold. Schoolboy error. Big warm dressing gown now lives at the side of the bed. That’s the key I think, don’t give myself an inch. Leave no room for excuses whatsoever. Straight back on the wagon after the weekend.
Today I will be rejoining the gym after over a year (in my defence I was working abroad all summer). That should help tire me out before bed, which will help me wake up early. Feeling good!
I must’ve been out for the count the second my head hit the pillow last night. No counting or anything. No tricks needed. It was around 1:30am the last time I looked at the clock. Very shortly after that, I put my book down and that is honestly the very last thing I remember doing. This probably seems trivial to most people but it’s brand new territory for me.
Four days into the experiment and things are changing dramatically. My mood is better than ever, more perky like, and I’m feeling healthier. Alarm clock is my friend. I don’t want to smash it to pieces for interrupting my sleeping-in anymore. I know how cheesy this is, but it’s now the sound of opportunity. Opportunity to make things happen. Get things done. It’s now the one thing that is almost giving me extra hours of productivity each day. I well should have done this years ago.
I think the one thing that really got me up and awake this morning was a massive stretch, stood up. Aside from the satisfying sound of every joint in my body crunching and cracking nicely into place, I think I might have made myself a six footer for the day. Coincidentally, getting up early makes me feel all grown up as well.
When I mentioned this project to one of my pals yesterday he pointed out that having extra time in the morning was so much better than having extra time at night because you feel almost obliged to be doing something (moreso if you’ve a lot to get done). Whereas late at night you feel totally justified in sitting on your back end and doing sweet F A. Good point I thought.
If you’ve spent your life opting to press blankets in place of getting stuff done, all I can say is seriously try this.
Awake by 7am again this morning (one snooze) and managed to fall asleep within minutes of crawling into bed at around 1am. That’s shaved two hours off falling asleep time and I’m managing to get up reasonably easy already. Three days has made a huge difference. My boost in efficiency is blatantly apparent as well. No wonder these early risers have been leaving everyone in their productive wake. It’s true what they say, snooze you lose!
The list of things to do written the night before has made a huge difference as well. I put a couple of the more pleasurable tasks first to ease me into the day and set myself up to be in a good mood, shift the more mundane stuff once I’m already in a good mood and look forward to finishing my day on more good stuff. If you don’t have anything really good to do, think something up. That’s what I did. 30 minutes reading funny magazines and 15 minutes finding good life enriching info and techniques on the net. It’s all research… the things I do for you!
Fell asleep shortly after 3am. Read seven chapters of the only fiction book I own, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, to help get me there (it’s pretty much identical to the film word for word, those of you who were wondering).
Alarm set for 7:30am, up and supping coffee at 7:45. It’s a start. I would have aimed for 7am but thought it might be a bit ambitious given my fairly late sleep time. Hopefully I should be sufficiently tired tonight to flake out around midnight and rise at 6am.
The snooze button? Once.
P.S. I heard somewhere drinking loads of fluids before bed makes you get up easier ‘cos you need the toilet. Might try it… apologies to our lass in advance, this could go horribly wrong. Or even worse, it could go swimmingly!