There are two types of people: the ones that wake up at 5a.m. and the ones that sleep at 5a.m. However, if you are a morning person like me or planning to become one and you have difficulty of waking up early, chances are, your sleeping patterns are not so efficient. So, how can one change their sleeping patterns? Let’s look right into it.
I’d like to classify the sleeping patterns into three categories:
- The willpower factor
- Getting enough quality of sleep
- Forming a habit
1] THE WILLPOWER FACTOR
According to Roy Baumeister and John Tierney, the authors of “Willpower”, everyone has a finite amount of willpower and it gets depleted like battery as you use it. The harder tasks you do, the more willpower it consumes. So, considering the finite amount, I feel it is better to fit the harder tasks during the day and the easier tasks during the night.
So, if you wake up early, you get more time during the day and you can start the day with the most important tasks. Also, people tend to be more productive during the silent and serene hours of nature.
For your willpower to stay at high levels during most of the day, a good diet plan is a must. According to a case study, healthy foods regenerate your willpower and gets you motivated.
Considering all these facts, plan out your day and fit the important tasks in the morning.
2] GETTING ENOUGH QUALITY OF SLEEP
The National Sleep Foundation recommends six to seven hours of sleep a night for an average adult. So, if you’re planning to wake up early, here are some tips which I felt are important for a good quality sleep.
- SLEEP EARLY
To get more time during the day, cut off some time during the night and get to the bed early. This is also a logical thing to do; your willpower during the night would’ve been almost depleted making you less productive.
- SWITCH OFF THE SCREENS
Do not watch TV or use your cellphones before an hour to sleep. You get eyestrains from the blue light of the screens and this reduces the quality of the sleep. If you have lots of work to do, then it’s preferable to use screen filter apps like Twilight or flux which reduces the amount of blue light.
Twilight – Android –Click Here To Download From Playstore
F.lux – PC – https://justgetflux.com/
iPhone users have an inbuilt function called Night Shift since iOS9.3 which you might be knowing.
- EAT GOOD FOOD
Food with high carbohydrate and fat content are a no-go for dinner. They increase your body fat content and induce laziness, thus reducing your productivity. Have your dinner at least an hour before you sleep. Always provide adequate time for digestion before sleeping.
3] FORMING A HABIT
It usually takes 21 days to form a new habit. So, if you haven’t started to wake up early, now’s the time to do it. It’ll take a few days for your body to get adjusted to the new sleeping patterns, but stick to your plan and enjoy the early hours of nature! Here are some of the most effective habit forming strategies which I found are effective:
- ONE STEP AT A TIME
If you have a real hard time waking up early, keep an alarm five or ten minutes early for the next morning and sleep ten minutes early. Repeat the process of waking up ten minutes earlier than the day before, every day until you’re comfortable being an early bird.
- DON’T SNOOZE THE ALARM
It’s easier to hit the snooze button than to get up early. The human brain tries to rationalize by saying that it’ll sleep for five more minutes. Don’t fall into this trap. Keep the alarm far away from your bed and avoid snoozing.
APPS THAT HELP YOU TO WAKE UP EARLY
There are two kinds of apps , the ones which wake you up gently and the ones which wake you up abruptly. Sleep cycle app and Motion alarm are the ones which I use.
Sleep Cycle Alarm – iOS/Android – Tracks your sleeping patterns and wakes you up accordingly with a gentle alarm.
Motion Alarm – iOS – The alarm won’t go off until your phone is in motion for a few seconds. (Don’t throw your phone!)
Alarm clock Xtreme by AVG labs – Android – Makes you solve math problems before you hit the snooze button.
OR….ARE YOU A LATE NIGHT SLEEPER (NIGHT OWL)??
Does it really seem impossible to wake up early in the morning to you? Are you adjusted in having late night sleeps? Don’t worry.
The chances are, genetic links have been passed from a previous generation who was also a late night sleeper. Research also shows decreased amount of white matter in the brain of the night owls compared to the early birds. This makes the early birds optimistic and more active. However, due to the lesser white matter in the brain of a night owl, they tend to be more creative and risk-takers of life. But there is also a higher risk of depression in these people.
…..or, does it matter?
Sometimes, people have formed their optimal day and night management depending on their lifestyle. So, I’d say, if you’re a night owl under circumstances, then you can try becoming an early riser. But, if you’re much of a late night sleeper from your early days, then it is most optimal not to change into an early bird. It’s all about time management and being productive in THEIR OWN WAY.