Getting up early is hard, but it is also one of the most beneficial things you can do for your productivity levels. Try these hacks to make rising early easier and a sustainable habit.
Every time I wake up an hour or two before the girls, not only am I able to get more done, but I am also in a better mood. My girls usually wake up at six in the morning (and go to bed about six in the evening). This is pretty early to begin with (or at least by my former, kid-free standards), so waking up at four or five a.m. is pretty daunting. However, if I allow them to be my alarm clock, I feel more stressed and moody. I feel like I am starting my day two steps behind.
Here are my top hacks to help early mornings a possibility.
1. Have Ice Water Ready
The night before, I fill up a mason jar with a lot of ice and water and have it ready by my nightstand. This way when my alarm goes off, I can reach for my water without thinking. This helps shake off the tiredness brought on by overnight dehydration.
2. Use a Smart Sleep App
A smart sleep app, like the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock ($0.99) to help track your sleep and help you wake up in the morning. This sleep app monitors your quality of sleep and will wake you up at your lightest period of sleep within your set time. For example, if you want to wake up at 5 a.m., then the app might wake you up at 4:50 when you were in light stage of sleep.
3. Use Multiple Alarms
While the Sleep Cycle alarm clock is a great choice, there is nothing wrong with using two alarm clock apps to help you wake up. Find the right tone or music to help you wake up. I made the mistake of using dogs barking as a tone, and that only disorientated me more.
4. Protein Before Bed
Sometimes feeling groggy in the morning is a direct relation to having low blood sugar throughout the night. Having a small amount of protein before bed can help stabilize your blood sugar throughout the night, allowing you to get better rest. This is an especially beneficial tip if you are pregnant. Some great ideas for light protein before bed are as follows:
- 1 TBSP of nut butter
- Small handful of raw nuts
- ½ cup of cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
- 1 stick of string cheese and ½ of an apple
5. Just Get Moving
Tell yourself that you just have to walk around your main living area three times, and if you are still tired, you can go back to bed. Usually, this small range of motion is enough to break my tiredness. I try to do other little mindless tasks, such as washing my face or cleaning a kitchen counter, to help wake me up.
Sometimes you just need to suck it up and roll out of bed and start with your morning routine.
6. Exercise Helps
I really despise exercise, but when I spend just 20 minutes on the treadmill in the morning, not only do I fit in a short workout, but I also boost my productivity for the rest of the morning. I have a pair of clean sneakers (never worn outside), so that I can go from a quick workout right into my morning clean routine. For some reason, wearing the workout shoes while I clean helps me to get it done faster.
7. Have a Mantra
I believe that our actions are dictated by our thoughts. Therefore, if you think, “I am so tired,” throughout the morning, then you are going to be more tired. I try to say to myself before I fall asleep and when I wake up, “I am going to have a productive morning,” or “I am going to get so much done tomorrow/today.”
8. Caffeinate Beforehand
This tip is a bit controversial and might not work for everyone. However, if I drink my iced green tea 30 minutes before bed, I am still able to sleep but feel more energized when I wake up early. Of course, if I drink any caffeine an hour or two before bed, I will be wired until midnight. It can be hard to find the right balance, and I don’t recommend this trick every night if you struggle with caffeine over-consumption.
It goes without saying that in order to wake up early rested, you need to go to bed early. You cannot burn both ends of your candle. Sure, you might be able to survive a few days of going to bed at midnight and then waking up at five a.m., but you will run out of steam eventually.
I know from experience that this lifestyle leads to major burnouts (that take a lot of time to recover from), as well as less productivity and more health issues.