How to Get Up Early: Must-Know Tips to Fix Your Sleep Schedule

Man in bed on phone.

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A wise man once said, “there’s no such thing as night owls, just bad morning people.” If you stay up and sleep in late, you’re doing many things wrong that mess with your sleep. Nobody should feel groggy and unmotivated every single morning, no matter how busy your schedule is. Here’s how to get up early, fix your sleep schedule and become the best morning person you can be.

Why Your Sleep Schedule Stinks

Your sleep schedule – scientifically called your circadian rhythm – can get thrown off course for a variety of reasons. Some reasons are out of your control, such as jet lag, having young energetic children or getting the night shift at work. 

However, most reasons are small, easily avoidable mistakes that slowly shift your sleep patterns and make early rising impossible. These are the most common ways that people can become “night owls” in a short period of time:

  • Unhealthy Diet: a diet full of sugar and caffeine is a great recipe for a terrible sleep schedule. Frequent alcohol and nicotine consumption will also make you a poor sleeper.
  • Late Workout Time: working out too close to bedtime gets your heart rate up and makes it harder to fall asleep.
  • Excessive Light Exposure: using your phone, gaming or watching TV impedes your body’s preparation for sleep. Any sort of artificial light can be a strain on your circadian rhythm.
  • No Nighttime Routine: the biggest mistake people make is failing to establish a nighttime routine. They do something different every night, so their bodies never develop a consistent biological clock.
  • Poor Sleeping Environment: a warm bedroom, lots of outside noise and bad sleeping posture might also be holding you back. How can you expect to get a good night’s sleep in an uncomfortable environment?

There’s a common misconception in the modern world that sleep is a malleable lifestyle choice. Many people believe that they can “make up” their lost hours with naps and relaxation, but this is far from the truth.

Our bodies are designed to sleep the same number of hours during the same timeframe each day. That’s why people still wake up early in the morning after going to bed late. Their bodies are used to waking up at a specific time, regardless of what happened the night before. Let’s go over seven tips on how to get up early every morning without feeling exhausted.

1. Rethink Your Diet and Exercise

A healthy sleep schedule requires a healthy overall lifestyle. You can’t expect to feel energetic every morning if you eat garbage and have an inconsistent exercise routine. Clean up your diet and try to finish your workouts at least one hour before bedtime. This routine allows your body to wind down and relax before you try to fall asleep.

You should also avoid having big meals before bed. A full, active digestive system can keep you awake and make certain sleep positions uncomfortable. Healthy late night snacks are okay, but you need to watch your portion sizes and time your meals more efficiently.

On the other hand, a big hearty breakfast is the perfect way to start your day. You can’t expect to derive enough energy from a cup of coffee and a pastry. Your body needs real sustenance to maintain its energy levels throughout the morning.

2. Establish a Nighttime Routine

Humans are creatures of habit. Sleep is no exception. If you want to fall asleep at the same time every night, you must establish a nighttime routine. Take a shower, have a light snack, read a book and turn off the lights. You might be able to fall asleep with the TV on, but your quality of sleep will greatly diminish.

You could also enter relaxation mode with some soothing music or white noise. There are many eight-hour videos on YouTube of soothing sounds that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

3. Set Only One Alarm

Setting a dozen alarms isn’t going to help you get up early. On the contrary, it encourages you to hit the snooze button and stay in bed longer. It gives you an excuse to put off your morning responsibilities, if only for a few more minutes. Set a singular alarm and stick to it. After a few weeks, your body will learn to naturally wake up at the same exact time every day.

4. Apply the 30-Minute Electronics Rule

This advice applies to mornings and evenings. Avoid using your electronics at least 30 minutes before bed and 30 minutes after waking up. Give your body time to settle down and wake up instead of exposing your eyes to artificial light. This could be a big ask if you have to use electronics for work or other responsibilities, but you should at least try it before knocking it.

5. Let in the Sunlight

Sunlight plays a huge role in helping you learn how to get up early. It’s a natural alarm clock that boosts your mood and gives you energy. Walking outside during the sunrise is a much better way to start the day than scrolling through your phone. Instead of pulling the blinds and turning your room into a cave, leave a small opening for the sunlight to seep through.

You’ll find it easier to wake up from a silent sunrise than a blaring alarm. Why shock yourself awake when you don’t have to? Start your day off with something more peaceful.

6. Don’t Rely on Napping

As we mentioned in the opening section, you can’t “make up” for lost sleep by taking naps. Your body needs eight uninterrupted hours to get back on track. You can’t compensate for your poor nighttime habits by napping the next day. Napping on occasion is fine, but make sure you keep it under an hour and don’t do it too close to bedtime.

7. Be Patient With Bedtime Adjustments

Your body won’t grow accustomed to getting up early overnight (pun absolutely intended). It will take at least a few weeks to optimize your bedtime routine, clean up your other lifestyle habits and learn how to get up early without assistance from alarms. Start with a minor adjustment, such as waking up at 9:30 instead of 10:00, and make small improvements from there.

Sleep Shouldn’t Be a Chore

Sleep shouldn’t be a chore for anyone, no matter how busy or energetic they are. If you’re struggling to establish a healthy sleep schedule, you aren’t a “night owl”. You are simply neglecting many factors, including diet, exercise and sleep environment. Clean up the rest of your daily habits and your sleep will follow suit.

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