Most people believe that joining the ranks of night owls gives them a lifelong thumbs up for going to bed late. Keeping bad hours is usually followed by sleeping late or chronic sleep deficiency caused by continuous use of the alarm clock to rush to work. It is near to impossible for the first group of people to appreciate the benefits of rising early while the second goup simply works to the point of exhaustion.
Recomendations on teaching yourself to wake up early are fairly simple. In fact, all you have to do is actually implement them.
- Find yourself a good reason
You want to find and focus on your personal reason to get up early. A great way to settle this issue is to get a day planner and list all of your appointments and important activities for the day (not those that you would like to accomplish theoretically but real current tasks that require your attention). Check your performance at the end of the day. Stick with this practice for a week and analyze results. It’s either one or the other: а) the lack of time to live a life of your dreams becomes blatantly obvious. In this case you settle the issue of positive motivation once and for all; b) it turns out that there is no sense for you to wake up earlier. You are completely satisfied with the current situation. In this case there is no point in even trying for a change.
- Make sure you get enough sleep
A healthy sleep with complete energy recovery takes about 5-6 hours. During the period of transition to waking up early you have to make sure you have it. You simply owe it to your body. Keep in mind that this instruction implies 5–6 hours of continuous sleep. If you wake up to go to the bathroom, make a night visit to the fridge or engage in other vital activities, then you don’t get full recovery. You simply do not have enough sleep. When you become a natural early riser, you might consider cutting the sleep hours. However, that’s an altogether different story.
- Give enough rest to your digestive tract and liver
Don’t drink tea or eat juicy fruit and vegetables late in the evening. Use the bathroom and empty your bowels and bladder to make sure the calls of nature would not interrupt your sleep. Don’t drink coffee past noon.
Don’t eat after 7 p.m. (or 3–4 hours before sleep). In the evening, digestion slows down and it takes longer to process the food. It is essential to give rest to your liver. If the “janitor” of your body doesn’t get enough rest, you wake up with a sense of fatigue. That’s the reason not to have any alcohol or junk food in the evening. If your body has gone through significant and continuous intoxication, you might need to apply special cleaning practices (kriyas). It is important that these practices correspond to your individual body type and are mastered under the supervision of your yoga teacher.
Don’t go to sleep on an empty stomach or with a sense of hunger. You can easily stay your appetite by drinking a glass of warm milk half an hour before sleep.
- Give yourself enough time
You have to break an old habit. You’ll be a sure success, if you do it step by step. First you set an alarm with soft but not depressive music. Then, you move the alarm one hour earlier with each month. Have at least 3 months for transformation. Not 30 days, but 3 months. Have patience and don’t strain yourself. In 3 months, start to wake up without an alarm every third, second, and, finally, every day.
- Make an experiment
Analyse the days when you wake up without an alarm. It might turn out that the most comfortable time for you to wake up is not 7a.m. but 6 a.m. or 5:15 a.m. Look for your perfect time spot. Wake up at one and the same time every day, including weekends.
- Get out of the bed at once
Immediately. Don’t think “Well, how am I today?”, “Did I have enough sleep?” etc. Even the first sentence of your internal dialogue might turn into a lullaby for you. Until you are completely awake, don’t give your mind a single chance to take over the leadership. Focus all attention on your physical activity. Once you wake up, you open your eyes, go to the shower, and have your exercise or morning run.
- Physical exercise is a must
Endorphines mean everything for waking up early. Having a shower twice a day, daily morning exercise for 15-20 min and substantial workout 3 times a week constitute a perfect yogi set of great spirits.
“So, what about meditation?” – you might ask.
The meditation practice becomes reality when you become an effortless early riser. Otherwise, you will fall asleep with beads in your hand dreaming of reading mantra or meditating.
- Relax before going to bed
Listen to light music, read an interesting book, and don’t talk. Light a small candle to burn out while you are falling asleep. Don’t work at night, fall asleep with your TV on, or surf the internet. Don’t go to bed right after you have just turned off your computer or TV. You should enjoy at least an hour of your real life before you go to sleep.
- Enjoy your very special morning
Don’t rush. Enjoy your new time. Taste the morning atmosphere. Don’t think about how great it could be if you woke up earlier. Start waking up early. Do it today. Celebrate it as a victory. Not OVER yourself but FOR yourself. Such a small detail, which brings a radical change to the process.
If you fail to shift the starting point of your day despite all efforts, it may be a sign of considerable internal imbalnces: over-strain, stress, or sickness. In this case you risk exacerbating a problem by forcing yourself to get up earlier. Try to find out the underlying reason and cope with it first. At least, make sure you have a good rest and sleep before your morning crusade.