Dragging yourself out of bed by sunrise may feel like a chore, but here’s one thing that can’t be argued: earlier mornings mean more productive days and nights. Unfortunately, knowing this doesn’t make waking up earlier any easier. If you lack the mental fortitude or willpower to get up before 7 a.m., try these seven handy techniques to change your ways.
1. Down a few glasses of water before bed.
When you open your eyes to a pretty full bladder in the morning, your urge to wake up will be just a little bit stronger. And since you’ll already be awake to use the bathroom, it’ll be much easier to get a jump on your morning routine. Of course, you don’t want to be waking up in the middle of a restful night’s sleep to use the bathroom, so just stick to no more than a glass or two of water before bed and you should be set.
2. Set multiple alarms and place them strategically.
Hitting snooze is easy when the alarm on your nightstand goes off, but it isn’t so easy when there are four or five going off – especially if they’re across the room from where you lay soundly asleep. Try putting one under your bed, one in your closet, and one by the window, and set them all for the same time. You’ll get up in no time at all, and after enough mornings with the routine, you’ll find yourself getting a little more accustomed to the early wake-up call.
3. …Or, set your “snooze” to 3-minute increments.
If you’re a chronic “snoozer,” try adjusting your time between snoozes. If your alarm is going off every 3 minutes (as opposed to every 10), it will be much harder to stay asleep.
4. Set your alarm for the same time, Monday through Sunday.
It may be your day off, but you should still resist the urge to sleep in. Even if you don’t need to wake up earlier on a particular day, consistency matters. This is the best way to keep your circadian rhythm (the clock that your body operates on) in check for those days when waking up early is absolutely necessary.
5. Solidify a nightly routine.
Structured nights mean structured mornings. If your nightly routine has structure, it means that you’re getting to bed earlier, making early mornings less of a chore. Establishing when you plan to eat, get some work done, prepare for the next day, and ultimately, get to sleep, will ensure that you’re not awake in the wee hours of the night trying to accomplish all you need to before the sun rises.
6. Resist the urge to nap after a long day.
After a tiring day, a nap may seem like a much-needed indulgence, but it will only serve to disrupt your circadian rhythm, and thwart any routine you’ve established for yourself. Long naps at the end of the day take away from a good night’s sleep and lead to a vicious cycle of late mornings and a lack of productivity. If you absolutely must take a nap, it should be no longer than fifteen minutes per evening.
7. Reward yourself for getting up early.
Training yourself to wake up earlier is a gradual process that’s sure to have its setbacks. It’s important that in addition to not admonishing yourself when you fail, you reward yourself when you succeed – whatever that means to you. Whether it’s a morning trip to Starbucks, a spontaneous trip to the movies on an early weekend morning (um, say hello to those discounted early-bird tickets, too), or an indulgent stack of flapjacks for breakfast (hey, waking up earlier means more time to whip up a yummy breakfast, right?), your treat will be well-founded. Incentivize being early to rise and the experience will be much more pleasant.