Introduction: How to Be a Morning Person, and Have More Time for Yourself!

Do you hate getting up in the morning? 
Does the sound of your alarm clock set you in panic, dry sweats, and almost bring you to tears each morning?
Do you hate people that are happy and chipper early in the morning?
Do you need to have at least two cups of coffee before you can even acknowledge the day each morning?
Do you wish there was a way to make getting up easier?
Do you wish you had more time to get things done during the day?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, this ‘ible is for you.

Please note, I’m not a doctor, I never played one on TV, I didn’t even stay in a Holiday Inn last night, so please use this only as a guide and seek professional help for any problems or issues you may have.

With that said, I have been in the US Army for over 20 years and been deployed all over.  During my time, 0300 (3am) wakeups were the norm.  I remember cheering once when we were told that we could “sleep in” to 0400!

Over time, I’ve learned plenty of tricks for dealing with early mornings.  Some from trial and error, some from actual research I’ve done in the past.

So here goes…

Step 1: What You Need to Understand

The most important part of becoming a morning person is to understand why it’s so hard to wake up in the morning.  With this simple understanding (and only a minute amount of discipline) you can find out how to enjoy the mornings more, and consequently get more time to live life!

Here is the secret.  Your sleep is done in cycles.  When you fall asleep, you start a cycle.  As you sleep, you complete and start new sleep cycles.  The duration of these cycles varies throughout the night.  They can be as short as a few minutes, to a few hours.

If you wake up at the end of ANY of these cycles, you will feel fine and will be good to go all day long.  The problem arises when one of these cycles is broken.

The problem with most people is that they use alarm clocks to wake them up.  The alarm clock doesn’t know when your cycle ends.  It just makes noise at a certain time.  (Some gradually get louder, this is to reduce its abruptness, but it still isn’t ideal for waking up to.

Step 2: Stop Using the Alarm Clock

I know, many of you are saying, “How do I do that?”  It’s simple. 
Have you ever been sleeping, then waken up for no reason (no external noise or stimulus) and looked at the clock?  Normally you say to yourself, “I’ve got 1 more hour left to sleep” then you go back to bed.

What you need to do when this happens, and this is where your discipline comes in, you need to get out of bed at THAT moment, and start your day.  I don’t care if it is 3 hours before you need to wake up or just 3 minutes.  Get out of bed and start your day.

As a “safety net” place your alarm clock out of your reach and set it to the absolute latest time you can get up.  This way, if you don’t wake up one any particular night, the alarm will wake you up and you can’t just hit the snooze button.

Step 3: Keep It Up

Some days, you’ll wake up 4 hours before you need to, some days it might be only a few minutes before.  What is important that you ALWAYS get out of bed when this happens.  Each time you do, you body will be woken up at the end of a cycle.  You body will tell you EXACTLY how much sleep it needs.  Most people sleep LONGER than they need to.  I have found that many nights; I need about 5 hours of sleep.  Then maybe once every two weeks I’ll sleep about 7 hours.  But I haven’t been woken up by an alarm clock in over a decade.

Don’t fret if it doesn’t work right away.  Consistency is the key.  Remember, you’ve been doing it WRONG all your life; it might take a while for your body to adjust to doing it right.

Step 4: Keep Regular Hours

Of course, you want to try and keep to a consistent time to go to bed.  I understand that people have lives, so do your best.  BUT, listen to your body.  I try to go to bed by 2300 (11pm) each night.  But on occasion, if I feel tried I’ll go to bed at 2000 (8pm,) if I can. (Note, on these nights, I may get up at 0100 (1am) and start my day.

The trick is to NOT lie in bed and try to go back to sleep after you wake up on your own.

Step 5: Kicking It Up a Notch!

OK, so if you really have tried this method and you still sleep until the alarm clock after 12 hours of sleep, you can kick it up.
Before you go to bed, drink two glasses of water.  You will need to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  Congratulations, your day just started!

 

Step 6: But I Don't Want to Wake Others

This is a valid point, and it’s important to be considerate of other people’s sleep needs.  So here are a few things you can do in the early morning while they are sleeping…

  • Read emails
  • Pay bills
  • Watch TV in another room with a “headset” on
  • Walk the dog
  • Go into your hobby room/garage and work on a project.
  • Yoga
  • Go for a run
  • Learn to do needlepoint
  • Write Instructables!

Do you see what just happened?  You just GAINED hours to the day.  Once you get into this routine, your body will be more refreshed, you will have more time to get things done.
Most importantly, you will have become a Morning Person! 

Step 7: Some Additional Tips for Follow Up.

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind to help you be successful in your quest to become a morning person…

  • First, don’t drink caffeine or other stimulants after 1500 (3pm) You need to wean yourself off of them anyway, you don’t need them anymore!
  • Try not to eat heavy meals after 2000 (8pm)
  • Do NOT use ANY sleeping aid.
  • Try not to exercise 2 hours before you plan to go to sleep
  • Don’t try to fight going to sleep because you are watching TV or reading.  That is what TIVO is for.
  • If you feel sleepy during the middle of the day, and you can, take a few minute nap.  Again, you want to wake up on your own, not with an alarm.

After a while, this will all be second nature.  Enjoy your new found time!

Comments

author
Lotsa Bad Luck (author)2013-03-21

Thanks. There's hope for me to see 6:00 TWICE a day. LOL!

author
kokosalexa (author)2012-12-22

I LOVE you man.

author
malka1 (author)2012-04-27

my instructable can complement yours. Thank you!!
https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-sleep-less-but-not-feel-sleepless/

author
materiaprimoris (author)2012-03-05

Thank you, I'll follow your advice :) Now that I think about it, I used to do this some years ago during the summer (before we had wireless internet....) and I felt great all the time, even if I rode my bike all day, run, whatever..

author
Gman106 (author)2011-09-26

This sounds good, Thanks for the post. This might help me prepare for when I start my training in the army, and you can never have too much time, thanks again mate

author
08motooley (author)2011-08-28

thank's for this i'll start trying it coz my sleep pattern is seriously messed up currently

author
qhorn1021 (author)2011-08-02

So I read this article yesterday and tried it last night, and IT WORKS!!! I set my alarm for six (which was the latest I could get up) and I hid all visible clocks so I wouldn't know what time it was when I woke up on my own. I ended up waking up at FIVE!!!

I had time to pray, eat breakfast without rushing and run a mile before work! THANK YOU!!!!! I've always wanted to be a morning person!

author
dguerrero2 (author)2011-08-01

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!! I'll go try it like right now!!! I've never considered myself to be a morning person, I'll update on my results!!

author
itsafreeaccount (author)2011-02-01

"Before you go to bed, drink two glasses of water. You will need to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Congratulations, your day just started!"

im going to try this tonight....got to get up at 8:00am (GMT), lets hope i dont feel really tired during the day when i actually really have to work.

author
Puzzledd (author)2010-10-23

This sounds really interesting, and logical. Very well thought out and explained, thanks!

author
Siren4 (author)2010-08-24

This explains so much! Thank you!

author
LHH163 (author)2010-07-21

You said no later than 2000 for the latest big meal. How long before sleeping would you say? Not everyone will have the same sleep schedule and it might be more helpful to be relative (Like the exercise comment.).

author
Willnet (author)2010-05-15

 Hey this was a great instructable. I've been suffering through 4 wretched years of pissy "feels like the end of the world" mornings in the Army. I have noticed waking up feeling refreshed at odd times of the morning. I will definitely give this a try. Its refreshing to read an instructable from someone in the army.

author
Shyrric (author)2010-04-14

I will have to try this out; first, however, a question begs asking.

About how long will it take for a person to acclimate to this method? I have school four mornings a week and work the other three as it stands, and I was wondering if this would be best started now, or next semester.

author
inchman (author)Shyrric2010-04-14

It depends on your discipline to stick with it.  If you stay with it, you can be acclimated to this within 12-14 days.  If you don't follow it closely, it will take longer.

Good luck and let us all know how it turns out. 

author
Shyrric (author)inchman2010-04-15

Thanks for the swift response =)
I'll definitely give it a go.

author
shirel (author)2010-02-27

tried this last night. drank two cups of water at 12pm then went to bed. Had to go to the bathroom twice almost immediately and at three am. however by that time i hadn't gotten any sleep was just lying in bed with my eyes closed. slept all the way through to 11 am. I guess my system flushes out water very quickly. At least now i know. I can use this technique for naps. And usually throughout the night i will get up ocassionaly and go to the kitchen so i can get up then. I don't know why i didn't get up last night. Maybe it's because the night before i slept 11 hours. I don't know but i'm not giving up. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

author
RaNDoMLeiGH (author)2010-02-21

Some people are simply hard-wired to not be up in the morning. I am one of them. I am also a professional artist and get "in the zone" when I work. I have a home studio so my work life is necessarily intertwined with my family's comings, goings, fights, and feedings.

My life finally got to a point where I can sleep from 6am to 2pm. I still get my 8 hours of sleep, which is of course the point of sleeping at any time. The kids are teens, they ride the bus to and from school. Mate gets himself to work. Nobody bothers me during the day and I've been getting the best rest of my whole life.

My studio hours are 10pm to 5am and I will tell ya, I've been able to get more done since I started working while my family sleeps. I don't have to stop what I'm doing to make dinner. I have been able to spend more time with my family and not be under stress to get things done before bedtime, which was always a major sticking point in the past. Trying to work and be a parent and have time for my mate all stuffed into the 6am-10pm schedule meant a lot of clock-watching and interruption due to having other people's schedules getting in the way of my creative process.

However, when I have to be up at a prescribed time (regardless of the hours on the clock, some of us are just hard sleepers), I find that drinking a LOT of water before I go to bed seriously helps get me up when I wake up. No matter the clock time, my body loves to be asleep. My cycles are maybe different from someone else's, who knows. Waking up is not an easy thing, although I no longer feel groggy when I wake up with my "new" schedule. But on the days when I've got a meeting or something, if I've got to pee, I'm not going to roll over and go back to sleep!

author
ManyuX95 (author)2010-02-21

Thanks, my mother usually wakes me up with bad words xD. I HAVE to try this!
BTW Liked the funny images, that is how an instructable should be

author
lozartist (author)2010-02-17

I guess I should listen to my body when I wake up to use the bathroom an hour before my alarm goes off. I shall try this method.

author
memaurer (author)2010-02-17

I'm def going to try this..thank you for the post. The two glasses of water make so much sense now!

author
DIY Dave (author)2010-02-17

I've found that if you set an alarm for the same time every morning (and actually get up when it rings), then you will start automatically waking up at that time.

author
JohnJY (author)2010-02-11

 The picture in step five, I could feel that, that's gotta hurt!

author
kevincougar (author)2010-02-03

 This was actually very helpful, thank you.

author
inchman (author)kevincougar2010-02-04

Thanks for the comment.  I'm glad it was helpful.  I have a few more ideas that I'll be posting as soon as I get a chance to finish them up.

author
Chromatica (author)2010-01-28

It would have been nicer if you used your own photos.

author
inchman (author)Chromatica2010-01-28

Trust me, there is nothing "nice" about see me in the morning, or afternoon, or in the evening.   8>)

I wanted the 'ible to be readable.  If I had pictures of me, no one would have been able to get to step 2!   <Big Grins>

author
Chromatica (author)inchman2010-01-28

Yeah, I know( You actually had a reason to not to, some others others don't)
P.S. Are you in action there or some type of reserve program.

author
liuran (author)2010-01-28

 Yes,  Thanks for share.

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