There’s a famous slogan credited to the U.S. Army: “We do more before 9 A.M. than most people do all day.” If just reading that sentence made you groan and pull the blanket over your face, don’t worry. You too can become a productive morning person and stop waking up late, without having to enlist for boot camp.
If you’ve always suffered from not being “a morning person,” don’t worry so much about how to change. It’s better to first understand why you wake up so groggy in the first place.
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4 Reasons Why You’re Waking Up Late
The human body is basically a biological machine with multiple processes and parts working together. Sleep is the body’s way of maintaining itself the way a mechanic might give your car regular tune-ups. So when your body doesn’t start up on time every morning, it’s worth taking a look under the hood. Here are just a few reasons why you may be waking up late.
Your Internal Body Clock
Also known by its technical name, “circadian rhythm,” your internal body clock regulates feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over the course of the day. If you can barely open your eyes at 7 in the morning, but feel wide awake at midnight, you have your circadian rhythm to thank (or curse) for it.
So how do you make sync up the clock in your body with the one on your bedside table? Develop a regular sleep schedule. Within a few days of establishing a pattern of going to sleep early, your internal body clock will begin to catch up.
Your Internal Thoughts
Sometimes simply getting into bed early won’t be enough. One of the main reasons people can’t wake up early in the morning is because they’ve spent a large portion of the night wrestling with their thoughts. In such cases, lying in bed waiting for sleep to carry you away is pointless. As neuroscientist Matthew Walker says, “You wouldn’t sit at the dinner table waiting to feel hungry, so why lay in bed waiting to get tired?”
Meditation is a great way to successfully deal with anxiety. By learning to calm your mind, you’ll be able to quickly and effortlessly fall asleep.
Start the “A Space for Sleep” Meditation session from the app’s Make Me Fabulous section to achieve greater relaxation of body and mind.
Harmful External Stimuli
While fixing your internal body clock and thoughts are of paramount importance when it comes to getting quality sleep, don’t forget there are external factors you need to be aware of as well.
For example, you definitely shouldn’t be having an espresso in the evening. Sure, that probably goes without saying at this point, since we all know caffeine keeps us awake. Intense exercise can also keep you awake longer than you’d like, which will lead to waking up late.
But if you’re reading this on your phone or tablet as you get ready to head to bed, there’s a new issue you need to be aware of. One that’s almost as problematic as caffeine before bed.
The light emitted by mobile phone, tablet, laptop, and television screens reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm. This makes it harder for the body to fall and stay asleep. Which is why James Hamblin at The Atlantic talks about “an amazing hour:” The last hour before sleep that’s completely devoid of screen time. A time to read a book, write a letter, or pack the next day’s lunch.
But for some, staying away from a phone, even for an hour, seems like an impossible task. If you’re struggling with this problem, check out the ‘Break Your Phone Addiction’ journey from the app, to improve the quality of your sleep and your life.
How To Wake Up Early
Okay, so you’ve understood the science behind your ‘circadian rhythm’ and how caffeine and lower levels of melatonin can damage the quality of sleep. After fixing all these issues, you find you’re still not a morning person. You’re still not waking up early. Why?
Because you’re underestimating just how powerful good old-fashioned “laziness” can be!
Don’t be offended. It’s obvious you wouldn’t be reading this if you were lazy. But the truth is, none of us are at our best the moment we wake up. The best version of you may sincerely want to go for a morning jog and get to work an hour early. Sadly, the version that confronts the morning alarm only cares about rest and the comfort of the next five minutes.
So how do you resolve this?
Alarm At A Distance
It’s a tried and tested method, and for a good reason. Putting an alarm clock on a high shelf or across the room is bound to drag you from your bed long enough to bring you to your senses. If you share a room with a temperamental friend or partner, or otherwise need something quieter, we have other suggestions.
The moment you wake up is when you most need to be reminded of why you’re waking up so early. Thanks to technology, it’s now possible to do exactly that, through customized ringtones and apps. Program them to play a specific motivational speech or song (maybe ‘The Eye of the Tiger’ from Rocky?), whose words and music will get you pumped to throw aside your blanket and leap out of bed. Getting up is the hardest part. It becomes much easier when you can hear why you have to.
Another way to ensure you wake up on time is by pairing up with an accountability buddy. Have a friend call you or come over. This works great when paired with an exercise activity like gym or jogging. The thought of disappointing (or annoying!) your friend, not to mention his or her insistent phone calls and knocks on the door will get you out of bed day after day.
The Good And Bad News About Waking Up Early
First, the bad news. This cannot be a short-term change. You cannot wake up early for a few days and then go back to scrolling through social media until dawn. The only way to reap the benefits of waking up early is by doing it consistently.
The good news is that developing a habit of waking up early is one of the best changes you can make to your lifestyle. You’re not losing sleep. You’re enhancing the quality of your sleep, which enhances the quality of your life. Just a few simple changes are all it takes to put an end to the “waking up late” cycle for good!
Embrace all the benefits of waking up early, by starting the ‘A Fabulous Night’ journey in the app today!