aNewDomain — “The early morning hours have gold in their mouth.” That’s a German proverb and I’ve always found that it rings true. Many successful people rise early, and those who know the pleasure of morning can see that gold.
Anna Wintour, editor for Vogue, wakes up each day at 5:45 a.m. to play an hour of tennis, and then gets her trademark blowout. Michelle Obama rises at 4:30 a.m. to exercise, an impressive feat. And Wayne Dyer, a bestselling self-help author, beats the rooster, getting up at 3 a.m. to meditate and write. That’s the middle of the night, really, but for him it’s morning.
The lure of a warm bed usually keeps me under the covers, but I’m always looking for ways to be more of a natural morning person. Some are born to it, others have to try, as it is with everything in life. Here are some good tips for those that want to greet the sun (or moon).
Start with your Sleep
1. Keep Water Nearby
If you keep a glass of water handy, you’ll take a quick drink in the night and get right back to sleep. A lot of being unable to wake up early is due to disturbed sleep, so this one is a simple helpful trick.
2. Breathe Easy
Dr. Andrew Weil developed a 4-7-8 breathing technique that is very effective for going to sleep, and going back to sleep if you wake up in the night. You just breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven and finally exhale through the mouth for eight. I fall asleep quickly with this, which makes my rest more fulfilling.
3. Sleep Apps
There are a handful of apps today that can put you to sleep nicely, track your sleep cycle and provide feedback on your sleep phases. This is all helpful if you’re a troubled sleeper, and with a little knowledge about yourself you may get to bed easier.
4. Turn Off That Tech!
Yes, this contradicts the previous step, but both can be true. Keeping all technology away from your sleep area will stop you from staying up on devices for unnecessary amounts of time. Reading from a book is a great way to ease into the night’s routine.
Rise and Shine
5. The Internal Clock
One of the simple ways to actually change your waking time is by adjusting your internal clock. Let’s say you need around seven hours of sleep, and you currently wake up at 7 a.m. That means you’re going to bed at midnight, a time that can be gradually moved forward. If you keep the hours the same, you could fall asleep at 10:30 p.m. and rise by 5:30 a.m., which is a whole lot earlier.
6. Change Your Alarm
The ringing alarm clock, which we all know and hate, makes you want to keep sleeping. It disturbs your sleep and makes rising a negative experience. You can easily get an alarm clock that wakes you up with light. They gradually get brighter, which wakes you slowly and comfortably.
7. Use the Time Well
The key to getting up early is using that extra time effectively. Jumping out of bed in the dark morning to balance a checkbook won’t help you keep the tradition of waking early. Go for a run, stretch or even a walk. Charles Darwin believed our brains worked best when we walked, so that’s a good place to start.
Since the start of the year (talk about a resolution!) I’ve been able to get up about 45 minutes earlier than normal. Pretty good. If you adjust yourself a little bit every day, say five minutes, you will be getting up earlier in no time.
For aNewDomain, I’m Judy Heminsley.
Images in order: Saturday Sunrise by Rachel Kramer via Flickr; © Vasily Merkushev; © halfbottle