“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” — Benjamin Franklin
Amen Benjamin Franklin!
Waking up early is one of my most favourite things in the world to do, and following on from my last post — “Why I’m An Early Riser, And The Lessons I’ve Learnt” … because so many of you asked me how it’s even possible, I wanted to share with you exactly HOW I trained myself to become an Early Riser, so you can conquer the alarm clock too.
So lets dive right on into it today, as I’ve already declared my unconditional love for early mornings, and why…
#1 You’ve Got To Take The First Steps
Which means engaging in the ‘gradual process’.
The toughest part of the morning (for most people) is simply getting out of bed, so it’s a pretty hard habit to break and re-create.
But it’s possible! Especially if you’re kind to yourself and do it gently.
The best method I found was this: to change the time you wake up by waking 10–15 minutes earlier for 2–4 days, until you feel used to it — then repeat.
If you get up at 8:30 a.m usually, don’t all of a sudden ping out of bed at 6:00 a.m. No, no no. Set it to 8:15 first, then 8:00, then 7:45, then 7:30… You’re with me.
I get this might seem ‘slow’ to some people but believe me when I say sudden changes, as big as an hour in your wake up time instantly, are difficult to maintain and not likely to last.
Think of it like this: if you get up 1, or even 2 hours earlier on day 1, then you’ll have a tough time and feel cranky for it — and the next day you’ll have a sleep deficit. Do this on day 2 — you’ll feel the same way. And day 3? Oh that’ll be even harder.
Eventually you’ll either make it through a week or, you’ll crash, not feel your usual self and sleep in late.
Sleeping patterns are tough to change, so the gradual method works nicely. Just like with ‘diets’ you wouldn’t cut certain things down dramatically or you’ll cause turmoil with your metabolism, the same goes for sleep! So be kind to your body and gently push back the alarm clock.
#2 Never, Ever, Snooze… 😴
When that alarm bell goes off in the morning it’s sooo tempting to hit the ’10 more mins’ button, but hitting snooze doesn’t give you most of the restful REM sleep (REM sleep happens 90 minutes after you fall asleep) — in other words, your body and mind aren’t recuperating, so when you snooze you’re wasting time.
And lets face it, most of us don’t hit snooze just the once do we?… Don’t pretend you do 😉
#3 Have A Hot Chocolate Before Bed
You heard me right.
There’s nothin’ wrong with a cup of hot cocoa before bed.
Why? The stuff is pretty damn good for you — the dark, pure cocoa stuff that is.
Packed full of antioxidants, and when it’s ‘hot’ those antioxidants are released. Also the flavonoids (disease fighters) help your body process nitric oxide, which is why hot cocoa can improve blood flow, help lower your blood pressure and improve heart health.
As well as all of those health boosting facts, pure cocoa, mixed with milk and honey helps level out your blood pressure so it doesn’t drop drastically through the night — hello winning metabolism!
#4 No More Caffeine After 3 p.m
Are you one of those people who drink a cup of coffee during the afternoon to give you an energy hit?
Stop right there! Coffee is 1000% meant to boost your energy, but if you drink it mid afternoon this is going to cause havoc with your sleep.
Why? Because coffee stays buzzing in your system for up to 6 hours, so if you have it at 3 p.m onwards you’ll still feel like you can take on the world in ‘go go go’ mode way into 9, 10, 11 p.m at night!
So put the tasty caffeine down, and sip on something else yummy instead.
#5 No Screen Time Before Bedtime
This one is sadly painful, and I don’t always stick to it, but when I do it feels great!
It’s so tempting when we tuck ourselves in to pull out our phones to check what’s happening on Facebook, see who has ‘liked’ our photo on instagram, make sure we reply to that last text…
And I get it! But if you truly want to sleep better, to be a more productive version of you and take over the world, you’ve got to part ways with night time screen time.
A fact for you: screens emit blue light that is found in the light spectrum during daytime hours.
This blue light acts as artificial sunlight which decreases your melatonin (the powerhouse hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle)
I found a great app you can use to help decrease the amount of blue light that affects you and it’s called f.lux ← check it out, because if you have got to do a late night Skype call, then this can save your zZz’s.
So there you have it! The top 5 things to help you get a better nights sleep starting tonight.
Hope this helps!
And as my good friend Arianna Huffington would say (well, I wish she were my good friend)…
‘It’s time to sleep your way to the top’
Amy ‘sleep evangelist’ Pope
Got any tips that help you sleep? TWEET ME THEM, or I’ll be sad — thanks for staying with me on this post, I’m grateful for you all ❤
What I’m Working On Lately: The Paul Gough Physio Rooms Show
My ‘Jam’ At The Moment: Vera Blue — Hold