Winter is here, and many of us are spending the majority of our time indoors. In addition to being cooped up, we’re dealing with fewer hours of daylight, making for days that feel not only closed in – but short! One solution to make the most of our days, and to be as productive as possible, is to wake up earlier every morning.
The benefits of being an early riser
One of the biggest benefits of starting the day earlier is that you have more time. More time in the day decreases the probability that you’ll make poor, unhealthy choices due to rushing from task to task. More time means you can meal prep, have more time to exercise, and dedicate more time to your skincare routine – all of which will result in a healthier physical appearance.
Having an earlier start to your day can also improve your concentration and enhance your work productivity. You’re less likely to experience interruptions when you get things done early in the morning, and you’ll also feel more energized and better prepared for the rest of the day.
Given all of these benefits, it should come as no surprise that a study published in the journal Emotion in 2012 found that early risers tended to be happier and have a more positive state of mind than those who stayed up late.
Not naturally a morning person? Here are eight helpful tips to help you get up and get moving earlier in the day.
How to Wake Up Early
1. Adjust gradually
If you’re trying to adjust your sleep schedule – for example, from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. to a revised schedule of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., don’t feel you have to make the change in one night. Make the adjustment gradually by going to bed 20 minutes earlier than usual over the course of a week. It’s best to not shock your body into a sudden change and to instead ease into your new routine.
2. Keep your shades or blinds open
One of the best ways to make sure that you’re up with the sun is to let the sun wake you up. This works best for people who are sensitive to light. If you’re worried about your bedroom being exposed, you can buy privacy window film; this will allow you to let natural sunlight in without compromising your privacy.
3. Use an actual alarm clock
Instead of using an alarm app on your phone, opt for an actual alarm clock. Also consider charging your phone in another room overnight. This way, you won’t be tempted to stay in bed and scroll on your phone as soon as you shut off the alarm.
4. Leave the room as soon as you wake up
Right upon waking, make your bed and start getting ready for the day. Brush your teeth, have a cup of coffee or tea, or begin your morning workout. The most important thing is to get moving so you aren’t tempted to curl up under your comforter and snooze again.
5. Wake up at the same time every day
Consistency is important when it comes to sleep. Try to figure out what amount of sleep works best for you, and aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. If you go to bed at 10 p.m. and wake up at 6 a.m. on a consistent basis, for example, your body will feel much better and more energized when you wake up in the morning. The Sleep Foundation generally recommends getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but the exact number can vary from person to person.
6. Schedule early morning meetings
When your job or education is on the line, you’re much less likely to hit the snooze button. One of the best ways to guarantee you’re up early is to schedule early morning meetings. Remember those 8 a.m. classes you used to dread? It might be beneficial to recreate that schedule with work meetings. Knowing that you have an early commitment will likely prompt you to head to bed sooner at night.
7. Create a solid to-do list
If you want to maximize your productivity, make a detailed to-do list that will keep you busy from morning to night. Before going to bed, write down all the tasks you want to accomplish the next day. Seeing an organized list of things to get done may help you realize that you’ll need your energy for the long day ahead.
8. Rework your bedtime routine
Finally, be sure to quit using your phone or laptop right before bed. The blue light emitted by screens is not only harmful to your eyes, but it may also compromise your alertness the next morning. Rather than scrolling on your phone, consider reading a book or taking a warm bath to help you wind down for the day.