How to Train Yourself to Wake Up Early
Genetically speaking, human beings are wired to get up as the sun rises, and to go to sleep as it sets beyond the horizon. However, because of a huge advancement in technology in just the last hundred and fifty years and of our modern, hectic lifestyle, more and more people are starting to deviate from this golden rule and altering their natural sleep cycles. According to most studies out there, this is not particularly healthy and can lead to a number of issues over the years.
So how do you train yourself to “become a morning person” and actually get up in the morning instead of at noon? This was particularly hard for me to do in my teenage years; I hated waking up early and always wanted to stay up as late as possible. Nevertheless, after I finished college and got a steady job, I managed to force myself to actually be awake in the morning, and today I want to give you some advice on how to accomplish that yourself.
What’s amazing about our bodies is how much they actually like order; things like getting up at the same time every day, brushing your teeth, doing some yoga, whatever your morning ritual might consist of. As long as you do these things every day for an extended period of time, your body will learn to expect and prepare itself for these activities by making sure you’re awake. My father was a factory worker before he retired, and had to get up at 6 o’clock every day except for weekends.
What’s interesting is that he never used alarm clocks; his body would just naturally wake him up at 6 AM on the minute, because that’s when he needed to get up. Whether he went to bed at 9 PM or 3 AM made no difference, because the habit was as strong as it was. As long as you can form this sort of habit, you’ll find it much easier to get up when you need to and wake up naturally, which is always a plus.
Caffeine might seem like a logical choice in the morning if you always need a little pick-me-up, and that’s fine as long as you don’t overdo it. I used to drink four or five cups of coffee every day, and until I quit I simply thought that it was impossible to stay awake otherwise. Once I realized that it was just an addiction, I dialled it down to one cup in the morning and I think it’s safe to say that my energy levels haven’t diminished since then.
Making your body used to caffeine and expect it as a means to stay awake will affect your quality of sleep, as well as your sleep cycle (especially if you drink your coffee before you go to bed). Again, some caffeine is okay, just don’t overdo it and you’ll find that it is much easier to return to a normal sleep cycle.
No Smartphones in Bed
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it’s normal for our bodies to be asleep during the night, and awake during the day. Our bodies can actually “tell” which time of day it is from the amount and the type of sunlight that reaches our eyes. During the day, the sun’s rays are composed of blue light, at around 6500K – but during sunrise and sunset it’s a different story; there’s a lot more red in there and it’s obviously far darker than at noon.
The thing is that when our brains sense that it’s getting darker and “redder” outside, they slowly start secreting the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps us transition from our waking life into sleep. This natural process can be easily interrupted, however, by staring at a computer screen or your smartphone before you go to bed. All your devices emit a particularly blue light (because blue light is great for visibility) virtually all the time, so looking at such a screen fools your brain into thinking that it is still day, and this inhibits melatonin production.
The simple solution is to not bring your smartphone into bed with you, and limit screen exposure in the hours before your bedtime. Alternatively, if you do have to work from your laptop close to your bedtime, it’s a good idea to install some type of automatic screen dimming software that can alter your screen color to compensate for the difference in illumination. I personally use F.lux, and since I’ve started using it I’ve noticed that my eyes hurt a lot less, and I actually feel sleepy when I should, even if I have to work late.
Vanessa Davis is a former personal trainer, mother of two and blog writer at www.diet.st. When she isn’t writing she usually spends her free time playing with her children and her dogs. Vanessa Davis is a former personal trainer, mother of two and blog writer at www.diet.st. When she isn’t writing she usually spends her free time playing with her children and her dogs.