There’s a lot of buzz these days about becoming an ‘early riser’ and how that supposedly increases your productivity. I don’t know if the statement is true but I have read pretty conflicting journals on how forcing yourself to get up early can decrease your productivity and such.
So, which side of the debate is correct? The people who think getting up is the most noble thing to do or the ones who think getting up early can decrease productivity?
Well…my answer is both of them. And experience has shown both of them are correct.
How can that be? Well, I agree getting up early can increase the amount of time you have significantly but our body also seems to have a natural rhythm (hey, isn’t everything in our body pretty much a cycle?). So it makes sense that we have ‘ sleep cycles’ and getting up at different points of the sleep cycle has different effects on our overall productivity.
And by the way, if you want to read up on some of the really cool findings about sleeping, how to sleep less and wake up with more energy, I highly recommend picking up this book I propose last month. It’s quite fascinating.
Anyway, with all that stuff aside, here’s what I want to share with you today….
Do you remember the blog post where I said I have a horrible time getting up? And how my sleep schedule was costing me a lot of time?
Well, fast forward to a couple of months….I’ve tried tons of different strategies for sleep structuring and getting up early…only to get frustrated!
I swear I tried every strategy to the “T” but they don’t seem to work for me….I must be a really lazy person or a really deep sleeper or something like that eh?
Well, turns out….sleep patterns and getting up early means a ton of different things for lots of different people. And if you love your sleep the way I do or find it extremely hard to get up in the morning, here’s 5 things I’ve learned that can cut your learning curve and help you wake up earlier (or on time at least).
1. Understand that it’s not a quick solution: Guess what? Your sleep pattern has been with you for a long, long time. And it’s going to be challenging to change it. Can you alter it though? Absolutely! It’s like recovering from a really bad jet lag. Can you do it? Yes! It will it take some time? Yes!
And the methods I’ll share with you here aren’t some quick tips or hacks or anything like that. They are things that work at the root of the problem to produce long term results (the way they did for me). And I think that’s the most important stuff, don’t you?
2. Know your sleep cycle: Fancy terms? Not at all…have I known it sounds strange, weird or complex when you hear it first but it really breaks down to this: You want to think back to the days when you felt amazing or highly productive after getting up. And it includes those days when you were full of energy and felt very well rested.
Having a hard time coming up with one? So did I! And here’s what you do when that happens:
a. Think of the days you got up a little easily than “normal” days…Was it a different time? Or did you go to bed at a different time? What was the difference?
b. If that doesn’t help experiment with a couple of different wake up times. Even 30 minutes difference can make a huge impact on your productivity. Let me give you an example:
I used to get up at 7:00am (in fact that’s what I did all last year). And guess what? I alwa
ys had a hard time getting up. I was cranky and generally not a very pleasant person to be with early in the morning.
But, my mood would turn up and I’d get my energy back at around 9am.
So I decided to get up at 9am on a weekend and guess what? I felt amazing! I had more energy than ever before, got up in a good mood and had a clear head.
Now 9am is good, but unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of getting up whenever I wish. So I experimented with a couple different times and came up with one that works perfect for me. And that time happens to be 5:45am. I get almost the same effects as getting up at 9am and I can still get everywhere on time.
So, the deal is, you’ll have to do some experiments and figure out the time that works best for you.
I told you this wasn’t a quick process that stops’ working in a couple of weeks…But it’s worth the time and effort you take now.
3. How are you getting up? Is someone else waking you up in the morning? Stop that right away! If someone else is waking you up (or trying to) chances are that person is sick of it and you’re probably sick of them yelling at you in the morning while you’re in the middle of your lovely dreamland.
Yeah, I understand! Waking people up can create tons of stress in your relationship with them…seriously! So, drop that right away.
Also, having someone yell at you or having a nasty alarm go off in the morning can start your day off on a bad note and increase your stress level.
Try a good alarm for a much safer route.
4. Try a series of alarms: Hard time hearing your alarm? Do you end up hitting the snooze button too much? Try a couple different alarms that go off within a couple minutes of each others. I currently use 3 different ones that go off within 15 minutes and I get up on the third one…every day.
It gives me some sort of perceived control over the alarm (I hate having to get up just because some little device thinks I should get up and starts screaming early in the morning ). But most importantly, this stops you from going into a new deep sleep cycle.
And the most important benefit of this is the habit…the habit of getting up at the third alarm every time. It’s easier to set that habit…than having to jump off everytime the stupid alarm rings (with this, you can ignore your alarm twice at least!).
5. One Step at a time: If you are used to getting up at 8:30am everyday then don’t start cutting off 2 hours right off the back. Yeah! I know getting 2 hours extra a day is highly tempting but it can screw up your natural sleep cycle and make you incredibly unproductive.
What you want to remember here is the habit we set in the previous step. Once you have the habit of getting up on the third alarm every time, it gets easier to do that even when you move the times ahead by 30 or so minutes. I recommend move up 30 minutes every week until you’re at your desired wake up time. It seems to be the range that works best for most people.
And think about it, 30 minutes a day isn’t bad, that’s 15 hours saved every month! And if you’re into fitness and healthy eating that’s enough time to make yourself a healthy breakfast and lunch.
The question is what are you going to do with the time you save? Because saving time is one thing, using it properly is an entirely different story.
How would you use the extra amount of time you gain by getting up a little earlier each day?