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Many people assume that, as members of today's generations, we are smarter than our ancestors, thanks in part to the technological devices and other advances we have made over the past few decades. However, our ancestors knew quite a bit about the routines of successful people, culminating in the old English proverb made famous by Benjamin Franklin: "Going to bed early and getting up early makes a man healthy, rich and wise."
This is wise advice for today's entrepreneurs looking for ways to save more time in their day. However, as practical advice, it is often much easier said than done. After a busy day or week, it's hard to resist the temptation to take a nap. Sometimes it feels impossible to get up and go.
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However, it is possible to change old habits – wake up early, get healthy hours of sleep, and do everything on your to-do list. Here are some hacks from early risers who have discovered successful strategies for changing their sleep plans and habits.
Focus on the benefits of becoming a morning person
What motivates early risers? Often times, it's the perceived benefits of waking up early. With these benefits in mind, you can also wake up early instead of automatically hitting the snooze button.
The biggest benefit is that you have more hours a day to do important tasks. Since most people start their day later, these early morning hours are usually free from interruptions. This gives you a quiet time for concentrated or thorough work, e.g. B. for planning and other tasks that require a distraction-free environment. Think about what you can achieve with this extra time, which will lead to greater personal satisfaction and less stress.
Getting up early also gives you time to opt for a healthy breakfast instead of rushing through a drive-through or mindlessly grinding down break room donuts – or worse, skipping breakfast altogether. This extra time means a healthier start to the day and optimal energy. To further improve your wellbeing, you can also do a workout that you might otherwise have missed with a more compressed work schedule.
If your work day starts with an early morning commute, you can cut it short by getting up early and cutting off the traffic. Now that the streets are full again, this could be the incentive to get out of bed earlier.
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Take gradual steps toward an early morning routine
On paper, it might make sense to take over an earlier routine in one fell swoop. In practice, however, it doesn't work that well. After all, your body has most likely had the same sleep schedule for years. It takes time to adjust to the new schedule. Otherwise, you will likely feel tired and grumpy for a good part of the day.
Instead, set a goal of getting up 15 to 20 minutes earlier than you did before. Keep doing it until you feel like you are naturally waking up at this new time without feeling sleepless. Then stop the alarm 15 to 20 minutes earlier. Continue at this deliberate pace until you reach your early morning goal.
You also need to practice self-discipline to transform yourself from a night owl into a morning person. First of all, make sure that you cannot reach the alarm clock while you are lying in bed. Moving it away from your bed will prevent you from reaching for the snooze button. You actually have to get out of bed and start walking, which will also help wake you up.
Help increase your perception of your bedroom as a place to sleep by leaving it as soon as possible. This will avoid the temptation to go back to bed. Go to the bathroom, kitchen, gym, office, or anywhere that reminds you it's time to start the day.
Some experts recommend taking a short nap during the day to improve your sleep at night and thus get up earlier. Others suggest that it is better not to take naps during the day as it could disturb your night's sleep.
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Another way to get an early bird is to pick a "worm" – that is, a reward – to incentivize you to get up and start the day. Think of something you enjoy and then reward yourself with that activity or item every time you can get up early. You can choose different incentives each day if you want; Just make sure it's something that you know will motivate you to keep waking up early.
Change your evening and bedtime routines
To improve your sleep cycle so your body wants to get up earlier, you will most likely need to make adjustments to your evening and bedtime routines.
First of all, reduce the exposure to blue light from electronic devices and televisions in the evening. The blue light emitted from screens has been found to affect the quality of sleep. Try to turn off all electronics at least an hour before bedtime. If possible, avoid keeping your smartphone in your bedroom. Scrolling through social media or watching the news before bed can cause your mind to race instead of relaxing.
Also, to get a good night's sleep, minimize how much you eat and drink in the evening, especially alcoholic and caffeinated drinks. A heavy meal can lead to heartburn, while alcohol and caffeine disturb the quality of your sleep.
Try listening to calming activities like reading a nonfiction book, a warm (not hot) shower, or relaxing music instead of making electronics a part of your bedtime. Prepare your bedroom for sleep in a dark and cool atmosphere. This type of environment promotes healthier circadian rhythms, also known as the body's clock, and improves sleep. You may also want to try a white noise or meditation app for a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom.
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Give yourself a break
Your energy level will not always be optimally high. Some days you may be exhausted, sick, or just not feeling well. As a result, there will be days when it may be better to sleep a little longer than wake up early. Giving yourself time to recharge on these days will be more effective in staying on track than forcing yourself to wake up early regardless of how you are feeling.
Also, be patient with the process of changing your alarm time. It can take up to 60 days to get used to your new habit.
Get diagnosed with sleep problems
If you continue to have trouble getting up early, check to see if there are other issues that require diagnosis and treatment. Talk to a doctor about your sleep patterns. You may be asked to take part in a sleep study to diagnose sleep disorders or other conditions, such as restless leg syndrome, that can prevent you from getting adequate, quality rest.
A doctor or sleep specialist may then prescribe sleeping pills, a breathing apparatus, melatonin, surgery for sleep apnea, or behavioral therapy. Getting this help can put your body back into a sleep pattern that will help you get up early.
Wake up to success
Waking up early helps increase productivity in ways that benefit both your personal and professional life. Becoming an early riser gives you more time to make the day your own and get everything on your list done. Of course, if as a business owner you feel compelled to devote those extra hours to work, remember to take some time to relax and have more fun.
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