Judging by the number of Quora threads dedicated to sharing tricks for waking up earlier, there are a lot of people who struggle to get out of bed in the morning.
That’s too bad, considering that rising early can set you up for success: You have time to work with fewer distractions from family and coworkers and to exercise before appointments get in the way.
The good news is that some of the easiest strategies for waking up earlier are ones you can employ tonight. We browsed those Quora threads and highlighted ways that you can prepare in advance to rise and shine.
1. Place your phone or alarm clock across the room
One survey found that the majority of Americans sleep with their phone right next to them. If you use your phone as your alarm clock, that makes it all too easy to hit “snooze” or turn off the alarm entirely.
Instead, take a tip from Ho-Sheng Hsiao:
I put the charger of my phone and my glasses in a place that forces me to get up and walk across the room to turn off. I had noticed that moving the body and physically getting out of bed helps start transitioning from sleep to being awake.
2. Limit your caffeine intake in the late afternoon and evening
“Some people are extremely sensitive to caffeine,” says Kevin Jon, “and don’t understand how it can still keep them awake much later.”
One study found that consuming 400 milligrams of caffeine — that’s about how much is in a Starbucks Venti coffee — even six hours before bedtime disrupted sleep. Specifically, those who consumed a caffeine pill six hours before bed slept about an hour less than they slept when they didn’t consume caffeine.
The researchers suggest that people limit their caffeine consumption to before 5 p.m. at the latest. You can do your own experiment to see if cutting yourself off earlier helps you get a better night’s rest and wake up feeling rejuvenated.
3. Have something to look forward to
If the only thing you have planned for the early morning is showering and trekking to the office, then it’s no wonder you can’t find the motivation to get out of bed.
That’s why Quora user Paul DeJoe says, “You have to be excited about something to do in the morning. If you’re not, then sleeping in as an option is always gonna feel better.”
DeJoe breaks it down further, telling readers to take some time at night to write down five things they’d like to get done the next day.
Whether those goals include reading a chapter of a new novel, going for a run, or simply eating a nutritious breakfast, knowing that you have a bunch of pleasurable activities lined up may make it easier to greet the day.
4. Set a bedtime alarm
Most of us know that a solid night’s rest is one of the keys to waking up easily the next morning. But few of us have the willpower to enforce a bedtime that’s exactly eight or nine hours ahead of the time we want to get up.
To solve that problem, Ben Mordecai says that “you just need to set an alarm both for when you want to wake up and when you will need to start going to bed.”
The bedtime alarm won’t necessarily force you to start putting on pajamas, but it will jolt you out of whatever non-sleeping activity you’re currently doing, like browsing your Facebook News Feed.
Flickr / David Goehring
5. Start an enjoyable nighttime routine
Researchers recently identified a behavior called “bedtime procrastination.” Basically, people put off hitting the hay even though there’s nothing explicitly keeping them from going to sleep.
One potential way to conquer that habit is to create a nighttime ritual you enjoy and that lets you ease into bedtime more than, say, closing your computer, brushing your teeth, and shutting the lights.
Simon Haestoe shares his experience with this strategy: “My sleep was stably horrible for 15 or so years. I stayed up late, because I always managed to find fun things to do, and going to bed felt so, so boring.”
Eventually, he realized that he could start a nighttime ritual hours before he planned to go to sleep:
I didn’t have to do things that bored me. Instead, I could watch non-intense movies, listen to relaxing music and I could turn the whole thing to an experience I enjoyed and that I looked forward to having, all day long.
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