Luke’s 6 Tips for How to Wake Up Early and Enjoy It

Photo by Luke OtterstadProbably the most revolutionary change in my life this year has been changing from a night owl to a morning person — and loving it!

In case it’s helpful for some of you, in this article I share the 6 tips that really helped me get out of bed early:

1. Set your alarm on the other side of the room. Back when I had trouble waking up early, I’d hear my alarm but always hit the snooze or off button while half-asleep, only to wake up hours later thinking only 5 minutes had passed. Sound familiar? My solution was to put the alarm about 10 feet away to make it so I had to get out of bed to turn it off. Once out of bed, I found there’s much less chance I’ll get back in.

2. Turn on all the lights ASAP. Who wants to get up in the dark? Light naturally wakes the body up, so get it as light as you can, as soon as you can.

3. Drink a cup of water. I can’t tell you how much of an instant boost this gives me each morning. Although I’m no expert at explaining how the body works, my experience has been that the water just gets the “juices” flowing in the body more quick than caffeine. After doing this, I can’t go back to sleep, even if I lay down. (If it helps, I’m sure you could keep a glass by your bed so you can slug it down before you doze off by accident after your alarm rings.)

4. Take a shower. This seems to get the eyes from wanting to close and the body feeling good, better than just a quick face-wash.

5. Drink some coffee. If it helps me wake up at 5 a.m. and have several more hours of productivity each day — it’s worth it, even if there *might* be a few negatives according to some coffee-haters. I used to drink energy drinks, but switched to straight black Armenian coffee to avoid some of the complaints about sugary caffeinated drinks being bad for health. (I can’t drink other coffee black, but the Armenian stuff has excellent flavor on its own — give it a try!). I usually set the coffee on drip right before the shower, so it’s ready when I’m done.

(2016 Update: I’ve since switched from coffee to drinking Yerba Mate loose-leaf tea. It takes a while to get used to, but definitely works as good as coffee — without the crash!)

6. Take a 20-30 minute nap. This one’s incredibly important. Inevitably, you’ll feel like you want to sleep more when you’re first trying to adjust your schedule to mornings. However, I’ve found that if I know I’ll be having an afternoon nap later — it fixes that feeling of wanting to go back to sleep, into looking forward to a nap. If I’m in a hurry, I go for a 20 minute nap; and if I feel like I need the sleep, I go for 30 minutes. I used to not set my alarm for naps, but this was a disaster. Sleeping longer than 30 minutes tends to cause grogginess for the rest of the day. So set the alarm, and keep it short. (I usually grab another cup of coffee after the nap to kick-start the rest of the day too.)

A few other things that might help are: jogging around the block, or even just doing a few jumping jacks — it’ll get the heart rate going and get you energized for the day. Also, before bed, setting 2-3 goals you want to accomplish the following day tends to help get the brain mentally in shape for knowing why it’s important to get up.

The joy of waking up early came when I saw how much more I could accomplish each day, and hopefully the same will be true for you.

That’s it! Happy mornings, and happy productivity!

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Luke’s 6 Tips for How to Wake Up Early and Enjoy It

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