Tips for Early Bird Wannabes

by Head Health Nutter on March 23, 2010

The health benefits of being an early bird are numerous. I’ve experienced them myself and, unfortunately, I’ve fallen off the wagon. Life’s not as easy as it once was so I’m taking the Stepcase Lifehack Challenge to become an early riser in 5 days!

We’ve all experienced sleeping in late and rushing out the door. How do those days usually turn out for you? If you’re like me, horrid. Nothing seems to go smoothly and life’s demands seem incessant. I’m stressed almost the entire day.

The greatest advantage to rising early is starting the day off right: taking the time for personal care and performing activities which fulfill you. This way you’ve taken care of the most important person in your world: YOU.

Once you’ve taken care of your needs, you’ll have way more energy and willingness to fulfill your responsibilities and take care of others.

Stepcase Lifehack’s Early Riser Challenge

Seth Simonds over at Lifehack has shared 5 tips for being an early riser and has asked participants to share theirs in the comments and/or on their blogs. If you’re thinking about taking this challenge with me, I invite you to read up on everyone’s tips, including Seth’s latest post, Do You Have a Morning Ritual?

The challenge officially began Monday but I’m starting tomorrow and will carry on past the suggested 5 days. I figure with all the tips prior to starting, it should be a cinch!

Oh! And this is a Stepcase Lifehack 6-part series so I hope you’ll follow along with me as Seth posts more helpful content during the week.

Steph’s Tips for Early Bird Wannabes

You CAN train your body to jump up out of bed with bountiful energy to greet the day! Here are some of my early bird hacks:

  1. Mind Power. This is the most exciting tip I have to share because it reveals just how powerful we really are! As you’re lying in bed preparing to fall to sleep, tell yourself what time you’ll get up. The trick to working this tip is deep breathing and relaxation. Basically, you’re using the power of self-hypnosis – and it really works! I created a nighttime mantra for myself, “I will sleep deeply and wake at 7am refreshed, energetic and connected.” I can now wake up without an alarm, which is absolutely amazing if you knew me when I was younger!
  2. Make it Easy. It’s difficult to make huge changes. Our bodies strive for consistency so it’s helpful to work with nature (it’s how I made healthy living easy). Try slowly adjusting your body to your new wake up time. For instance, if you want to wake up at 6am but you normally wake up at 8am, aim for 7:30am for the first morning or two. Then aim for 7am for the next few mornings and so on until you reach your desired wake up time.
  3. Avoid Caffeine After 3pm. If you can do it, also avoid sugar (including alcohol) and other stimulants (including cigarettes) late in the afternoon. They jack up your central nervous system and although you may be so used to the substance that you don’t even notice it, they do affect a good night’s sleep. Which in turn affects your ability to wake up naturally and easily at your desired wake up time.
  4. Resist Eating Past 7pm. Digestion requires an incredible amount of energy; some say even more than running, swimming or cycling! Sleep is the time for your body to repair and regenerate but if your body’s energy is diverted to digestion, you’ll fail to get optimum sleep or the full health benefits sleep offers. Plus, your body will be more willing to wake up in the morning, craving the sustenance of breakfast.
  5. Unplug & Disconnect Before Bed. For at least one hour before hitting the sack, try to avoid stimulating activities like TV, computers, work, movies, games and even socializing. Much like stimulating substances, these types of activities stimulate the central nervous system and it’s often difficult to calm down enough to fall sleep. If you usually toss and turn before falling asleep, this tip might be exactly what you need!
  6. Sleep for 7-9 Hours. Everyone is different so you’ll have to discover your optimal sleep time. If you can wake without an alarm and feel rested, you’re getting the appropriate amount of sleep for you. The point to this tip is that if you’re aiming to wake earlier than your usual time, you’ll find going to bed earlier imperative to achieving your goal.
  7. Additional Sleep Tips. Dr. Natasha Turner devotes an entire chapter to sleep in her book The Hormone Diet (click here for my book review). This chapter alone is worth the price of the book! To read a little on the importance of sleep and for more of my personal sleep tips, read Sweet Dreams for a Healthier You.

Many of the above tips have to do with getting a better night’s rest. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If we give our bodies the right quality and amount of sleep, we won’t have to do a thing because our body will simply and naturally wake up when it’s time.

Do you have any sleep tips we haven’t covered here? Will you be taking the Stepcase Lifehack challenge with us? Let us know in the comments below!

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