What do Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey, Michelle Obama, Tim Cook, and Project Runway's Tim Gunn all have in common?
Besides being extremely successful (and really awesome), each of these people is known for waking up incredibly early. What's the reason behind this habit of early rising? For starters, these individuals exemplify how this habit can make the difference in a life and in a career--and this habit can help you, too.
Early rising will enhance your productivity, improve your mental outlook, and give you time to exercise, catch up on email, or just have breakfast with your family. In short, if you want to become more successful, it's a good idea to jump out of bed earlier.
Even if you're not a morning person, you, too, can experience these benefits by following these five simple methods for waking up earlier.
1. Have a nighttime routine
The first step to take to wake up earlier is to have a nighttime routine that not only encourages you to fall asleep but also guarantees you'll sleep soundly each and every night.
Nancy Rothstein, an adjunct professor at New York University and a sleep wellness consultant known as the Sleep Ambassador, suggests that you:
2. Wake up one minute earlier every day
Instead of just setting your alarm clock for your new desired wake-up time, it's better that you ease into the transition. If you try to transition all at once, you'll just keep hitting the Snooze button.
One of the simplest, and most effective, ways to ease into the change is to set your alarm just one minute earlier every second day until you've reached your goal. It may take a month or so to accomplish your full goal, but you won't notice the difference. Many people think of the one-minute earlier time the night before they start it and find that they will wake up a few seconds before their alarm goes off.
3. Go camping
Researchers have discovered that it's possible for you to sync your body's sleep schedule with the sunrise and sunset. The catch? You have to spend a week without artificial light.
One of the best ways to do this is by going camping for a week, and don't forget to leave all your gadgets at home, or at the minimum avoid using them after sunset. After a week, you should be classified an early riser. Plus, this could be considered a budget-friendly vacation.
4. Manipulate your environment to wake up more easily
The same way you can manipulate your environment to encourage sleep, you can also do it to wake up. For starters, you can place your alarm clock across your bedroom so that you're forced to get out of bed.
Also, have a consistent wake-up routine. When the alarm goes off, toss off your covers--throw them back--and catapult out of bed! (They are your blankie if you don't jump up.) Jumping up immediately takes a lot less energy, and you'll be energized. Make your bed every morning, and jot down your goals for the day. Accomplishing these easy tasks makes you more productive and gives you purpose for getting out from underneath the covers--or blankie.
Again, it may take a couple of weeks for this habit to stick, but once it does, you'll realize how easy it is to roll out of bed.
5. Get fresh air and exercise
Janet K. Kennedy, a clinical psychologist, founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, and author of The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (and You), says that "fresh air and sunlight will help to boost energy by suppressing the body's melatonin." Melatonin is a hormone that seems to be used for the natural going-to-sleep-at-night cycle.
There are also studies that have found that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, may affect the body's circadian patterns, as well as "reduce insomnia by decreasing arousal, anxiety, and depressive symptoms."
This not only ensures that you get a good night's rest, it also helps you fall asleep more easily so you can wake up early.