The buzzing of your alarm, you awake and roll to your side while reaching from underneath the warm covers to turn off the alarm. "Ahhhh, it's cold!" flashes across your brain. Next thought races across your mind, "go workout or stay?" The warmth and comfort of your bed for another hour feels so damn good. Flash. . . "one more hour" across your mind.
How do you start your day?
I often get asked how I manage to wake up so early every day. I have developed a few practices that set me up to overcome that urge to stay in bed. In the morning I have an immediate reaction to the alarm. I hop out of bed, turn on the electric kettle, and head into the shower. My iPhone has a set alarm sound of birds chirping that I just love waking up to. The combination of peaceful awaking and executing large movements leaping out of bed does not allow my mind a moment to have a thought. I am reacting to my alarm. I found that waking up abruptly to get going works best for me.
I have also figured out what works best for my evening routine to support my early wake up time. I sleep best when I stick to these 4 actions to slow down my brain and decompress from the day.
1. Calm the mind. Pick a relaxing activity before bedtime. Reading something made of paper will calm your mind. Puzzles, drawing, building models may also calm your mind. Choose an activity that calms you that is not a screen.
2. Make your bedroom a “device-free zone.” There are several articles published that state the importance of creating “device-free zones.” Screens emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin. Melatonin controls your circadian rhythm (sleep and wake cycles). Melatonin levels begin to rise in the mid- to late evening, remain high for most of the night, and then drop in the early morning hours. This is your body’s internal clock that controls the natural cycle of sleep and awake hours. Don’t suppress melatonin by watching the television or computer in bed. Help yourself to sleep better through avoiding the screen.
3. Go to bed hungry. It's ok. You will not starve while you sleep. If your body is still digesting food when you’re trying to get to sleep, you’ll have a tougher time falling asleep and wake up feeling worse off than if you just stayed hungry.
4. Close your eyes, take a slow and controlled breath feeling yourself settle into your sheets. Take one breath, take many, it is totally up to you. But pause yourself to take in the comfort of your own bed.
Once you commit to an evening sleep routine, you will be able to get up earlier as a result. Sorting out a consistent routine is essential to having multiple great days in a row. Make the time to figure out how best to wind down and kick off your days.
Keys to getting up early.
Calm the mind.
Device free bed.
Don’t eat after 6.
Meditate or focus on your breath.
When all else fails, find a hot tub or a steam room. . .