Early to Bed Early to Rise

by Rhonnda Richards
(Swansea, Wales, UK)

Getting up at the crack of dawn blows big time!, you know, and experts know, which is why they’ve been studying sleep patterns to find out why it sucks so much. Turns out, being an early riser isn’t a matter of setting the alarm!.

It’s much more than that, actually. It requires a strategic plan to reset your body clock by making little tweaks throughout the day. Now, more than ever, you should know the importance of getting up earlier. Being the first one at work could actually mean lifetime stability for you.

Start fooling your internal clock now. Setting your alarm back a full hour is jarring to your system, so you need to take baby steps.

Every couple of days, set the alarm for just 10 minutes earlier than usual. And don’t stress out about shifting back the time you hit the sack. You’ll naturally adjust to an earlier bedtime after a few days.

It also helps to use a form of mental trick. Women tend to run through the day mentally when the alarm goes off, but that will cause you to feel overwhelmed and beat. So, focus strictly on the next 30 minutes.

Think about the clothes you plan to wear, the food you’ll eat, and maybe even the hairstyle you plan to do for that day. After a few mornings, doing this will become second nature to you.

Then, prepare a cup of coffee as soon as possible. Get your caffeine fix right when you roll out of bed. It’ll take effect within half an hour and stay in your system throughout the afternoon, when people who wake up early are typically most exhausted.

You can have all the coffee you want, but you also need to make sure you switch to decaf or some other non-caffeinated drink when lunch time draws near. That way, the perky substance will be out of your system by the time you go to bed.

It also helps to go to the gym right after work. Sleep experts used to believe that a morning workout was a great way to wake up the body. But in reality, the ideal time is right after your day at the office.

Several hours after your trip to the gym, your temperature starts to drop and that’s your body’s way of telling your brain that it’s time to snooze. If you exercise first thing in the morning, your gray matter gets that sleep signal by midday and throws off your internal rhythm.

By scheduling workouts late afternoon, usually the time you head home, your body will be ready to sleep at the right time.

Lastly, never take your diet for granted. What you eat in the evenings may affect your sleep pattern. Foods that have a mix of carbs, calcium, and protein help promote sleep.

If you have a snooze-inducing snack come dinnertime, you’ll have a deeper rest and actually feel more alert in the mornings. Maybe it’s time to take those cereals for dinner instead of breakfast then.

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Updated: November 11, 2013 — 7:45 pm

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