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5 Unusual Tips for How to Wake Up Early

If you’re a night owl and you’ve tried waking up early, you know it’s one of the most difficult habits. It’s a pain in the ass to deal with grogginess in the morning and to be in bed on time with all the digital distractions nowadays.

You probably already read a few articles (or books) on sleep and early rising. In those, you see the usual advice:

have a consistent schedule on weekends

don’t use electronics late at night

eliminate blue light

don’t eat late dinner

have a morning/bedtime routine

All these points are important and they’ve been discussed to death everywhere on the internets. Instead, I want to talk about some less known, “ninja” tips that will make you an early riser faster. I’ve been coaching people on the waking up early habit for more than two years now, and there are few of those that pop up constantly.

1. Don’t Jump Out of Bed Immediately

The usual advice with the alarm is to keep it far away and immediately jump out of bed when it goes off.

That approach works well in the military, but what if you don’t want to have that stressful schedule in your every-day life? What if you want to enjoy your morning and spend some time in bed before jumping into work?

If you want to do a habit long term it has to feel good. You’re not going to make it very far if your new habit feels horrible, and that’s exactly how it feels when you jump out of bed groggy.

So how can you spend time in bed without falling back asleep?

Have a two-alarm setup.

The first one is to wake you up, the second one is your cue to get out of bed. The first one should be within arm’s reach and the second one should be away from your bed.

That way, you can give your body some time to gently awaken and you can spend some quiet time in bed doing something you love, like reading your favorite novel, writing in your journal, or doing affirmations.

When the second alarm goes off your time is up and you have to get out of bed. A 10 or 15-minute period before the first and the second alarm works well. By that time your body will feel much better and you would have gotten some inspiration by doing your favorite thing in the morning.

My setup is a silent Fitbit alarm that wakes me up and my phone alarm goes off 10 minutes later. I use that 10 minutes to cuddle with my girlfriend — a great way to start the day.

1. Don’t Jump Out of Bed Immediately

The usual advice with the alarm is to keep it far away and immediately jump out of bed when it goes off.

That approach works well in the military, but what if you don’t want to have that stressful schedule in your every-day life? What if you want to enjoy your morning and spend some time in bed before jumping into work?

If you want to do a habit long term it has to feel good. You’re not going to make it very far if your new habit feels horrible, and that’s exactly how it feels when you jump out of bed groggy.

So how can you spend time in bed without falling back asleep?

Have a two-alarm setup.

The first one is to wake you up, the second one is your cue to get out of bed. The first one should be within arm’s reach and the second one should be away from your bed.

That way, you can give your body some time to gently awaken and you can spend some quiet time in bed doing something you love, like reading your favorite novel, writing in your journal, or doing affirmations.

When the second alarm goes off your time is up and you have to get out of bed. A 10 or 15-minute period before the first and the second alarm works well. By that time your body will feel much better and you would have gotten some inspiration by doing your favorite thing in the morning.

My setup is a silent Fitbit alarm that wakes me up and my phone alarm goes off 10 minutes later. I use that 10 minutes to cuddle with my girlfriend — a great way to start the day.

3. Have A Strong Reason “Why?”

“I heard that early risers are happier and more productive,” is not a good reason. It’s too general and will not inspire you to take action.

Changing this habit is hard, and if you want to endure the difficulty, you will need a good reason for it. Be really clear about what you want to get out of the extra morning time.

Do you want to use it to work more on your business? To improve your fitness and health? To get some extra time with your friends and loved ones? To make more time for learning and reading?

If you don’t come up with a good way to spend your mornings, they will automatically be allocated for sleeping in.

Planning it in advance is also very important. Coming up with the right thing to do at 6 AM when you’re feeling groggy isn’t going to work. At that time your mind will always come up with the same priority: sleep more.

Before you even start waking up early, come up with a great plan about how you’re going to use that extra morning time.

4. Create an Early Weekend Schedule

When I tell people to wake up at the same time on weekends I always get the same response: “I don’t have a good reason to do it on weekends.”

Since most of us use the mornings for work and being productive, we don’t know what to do on a day off.

So plan your leisure time in the same way. Sign up for an early morning class on weekends. Set aside time for your favorite hobby. Plan a hike with a friend. Use the weekend mornings for something that you’ve never had the time for.

It might seem weird to plan for your leisure time. But whatever the plan is, it’s going to be better than, “I’ll get up on Saturday and figure it out.”

5. Plan Your Mornings with Excruciating Detail

The more specific you are with your morning routine, the easier it’s going to be to execute it. I’m talking about the really small details.

Where do you put your alarm? Do you get dressed before going to the bathroom? Do you shave first or brush your teeth first? Do you take a shower in the morning or in the evening?

Also, the better defined your routine is the more efficient it’s going to be. Since you’re doing the same thing every day, you will find many ways to optimize it.

After writing down my routine in detail, I figured out that laying out my clothes for the next day is much better than doing it when I wake up. It saves time and it feels nice to have everything ready when you wake up. I imagine it’s going to save even more time for the ladies.

When I saw the routine written on paper I also noticed how many unnecessary trips I was making back and forth to different rooms. First, because I didn’t do it in the right order and second because I would forget something and then have to go back.

Here’s my morning routine in detail:

  • Turn off the second alarm
  • Do my business in the bathroom (1 min)
  • Go to the kitchen and weigh in on the scales (1 min)
  • Drink a glass of water (1 min)
  • Go back to the bathroom
  • Take off retainer (1 min)
  • Put on lenses (1 min)
  • Brush teeth, Tongue scrape, Mouthwash (3 mins)
  • Shave (3 mins)
  • Put on perfume
  • Style hair (1 min)
  • Put on clothes (3 mins)
  • Hit the door

It seems like a big list, but since I do exactly the same thing every morning I’ve optimized it so it takes just 15 minutes.

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