Around 10:00 p.m., I say good night to my mother, my father and my sister, giving them each a kiss on the cheek. For the next ten minutes, I floss, brush my teeth, and wash my face before getting under the sheets and duvet on my bed. After positioning my soft, plump pillow perfectly under my head, I close my eyes and drop my hands to my side. I toss and turn for about fifteen minutes until I’m relaxed and ready to sleep.
It’s my routine: go to bed early and get up early. As far back as I can remember, I absolutely like get up early, usually around 7:00 a.m. But, I’d be lying if I said that’s how I got still want to get up early. Here are some things to consider before trying to stick to a strict wake-up schedule:
1. Be honest with yourself
You may have heard of famous and successful people like Tim Cook and Richard Branson getting up around 4:00-5:00 a.m. Although this routine may work for theirit’s definitely not for Everybody, including me. For a few weeks, I forced myself to wake up no later than 6 a.m. In my head, that was the key to having a productive day. But, this quickly became unmanageable and unrealistic. There were nights I got up late to watch Criminal minds with my mother until 2 am. Other times, I just wanted to sleep in, even though I went to bed very early.
After a while, I realized that I had my most efficient days when I woke up when I want to; not what Tim Cook recommends and not what Richard Branson believes is the best time to fall asleep. Picking a routine that you really enjoy is key to sticking with it. For nearly two years, I’ve followed the exact same schedule, going to bed around 10:30 p.m. and waking up at 7:00 a.m.
Remember that you know yourself best. Be honest with yourself; an unworkable plan will never work.
2. Expect to wake up early
When you hear your alarm clock ringing, you may feel the urge to continue sleeping. Nothing in the world sounds better than lying in your cozy bed, snuggled up against a blanket. Why get up early? What is there to do? These thoughts are understandable, and I have also been in the same place. But, when you finally have something to look forward to in the morning, you want to jump out of bed. It won’t feel like a chore.
For me, it’s taking a morning walk and then coming home to make my favorite breakfast: a smoothie and almond butter toast with banana, covered in honey. I even think about it when I fall asleep. Watch television? Playing with your dog? Drinking coffee? To exercise ? While reading? Whatever your incentive to get out of bed is fine if it works for you.
3. Be patient
If you have a big homework assignment for your English class in a week, would you do it the night before? No, ideally you would write for a while each day until you are done. Likewise, you should not change your wake-up time significantly during the night. Instead, set your alarm ten minutes earlier each day until you reach the time you want to wake up. But it may take longer than expected. And it’s totally good.
4. Make your bed
Every morning, before doing anything else, I make my bed. It’s the first thing I can cross off my mental to-do list. Completing this task successfully every morning is a great start to the day.
Retired four-star U.S. Admiral William H. McRaven is the author of the book Make your bed. McRaven explains that making your bed every day can not only make you more productive, but also give you some hope after a long, hard day. Even if you have a few important tasks to do, starting your day off right by making your bed can help you feel ready for the rest of the day.
And, after you get home, you will always have a clean and tidy bed and room to welcome you.
Consider making your bed a “reset button.” When you make your bed, you are able to recognize that it is a new day. Everything that happened yesterday or the day before yesterday is irrelevant. Now no matter what you do today.
A two-minute task can set the tone for the rest of your day. Why not do it ?
Avoiding watching TV or scrolling through your phone before bed is a good habit to implement into your nighttime routine. Harvard sleep researcher Stephen Lockley explained that nighttime light is the reason many don’t get enough sleep. I encourage myself to unplug from technology about an hour before bed. Instead, I read a book until I started to feel tired.
This significantly affected the quality of my sleep. But, it is important to note that I do not still do this. There are times when I’m too engrossed in a TV show to press “stop” on the remote. It is essential to approach a balanced sleep schedule.
6. Stay consistent
Most of us look forward to sleeping on Saturday and Sunday. But it’s not the best choice to make. Not staying consistent with your sleep schedule on the weekends will disrupt your body’s rhythm. Over time, waking up early in the morning will become a habit and you’ll feel less inclined to sleep in on weekends.
I advise you to try to wake up early. You might like it; you might hate it. At the end of the day, do what makes you happy, whether that’s sleeping until noon or waking up at 6 a.m.